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The Worst Source of Business Advice? Lawyers

mediocrityYou’re contemplating opening a solo practice. You’re being smart. You’re talking to other lawyers in your community. You’re learning from their experiences. You’re consulting with the lawyer turned Practice Management Advisor at your local bar association. You’re even reading business advice from some of the leading solo practitioners that blog regularly.

You should be good to go, right? Just take all that advice and act on it, right?

Yep, you’re good to go, as long as your objective is to build a mediocre business. You’ll have it all – mediocre marketing, mediocre revenues, mediocre technology. You’ll fit right in with most of your advisors.

Why? Because you haven’t sought out the best of breed for advice. You haven’t gone to the most successful practitioners for input. You’ve likely gone to the most approachable lawyers you can find. And you haven’t screened these advisors for success. You’ve talked to pretty much anybody that will talk to you.

In fact, you’ve likely avoided the amazingly successful attorneys in your area. You may not have even identified these people, but if you have, you’ve decided, for a variety of reasons, that you can’t talk to them.

So you’re going to do the things your mediocre advisors suggest and you’re going to struggle.

So what should you be doing?

You should be looking at lawyers that have started a practice in the past 10 years and have become wildly successful. You want to find people who are generating a ton of profit (I know, I know, money isn’t everything. Can we please have that conversation AFTER you have some money?). These practitioners are doing something to generate substantial revenues and they’re getting the work done. They don’t have outstanding receivables and they’re known by nearly everyone.

They’re out there. They’re in your area. They’re the people to call. They know what they’re doing. These people are superstars.

And, shockingly, they’re remarkably approachable. In fact, they’re wondering why you haven’t called. They will be thrilled to sit down with you and explain their system for success.

How do I know?

Because I’ve called them. I’ve asked them to meet. They’ve always said “yes.”

They are absolutely fascinating. They’re totally unlike the other people you’ve been talking to.

They will explain superstar systems, ideas, practices and approaches. They may even go further. They might, since they’ve been waiting for your call, take you under their wing and introduce you around. They might invite you to join them at a Chamber event or a Bar Association lunch. Always do what they ask. Do what you’re told by them. Follow their advice. Execute.

Stop taking crappy advice from crappy lawyers. If they aren’t doing amazing things the reason is usually that they can’t do amazing things. Don’t buy their excuses. Don’t do what they’re doing. Stop talking to them. Stop hanging around with them. Find the superstars.

One last thing – don’t rely on the advice of lawyers writing blogs about practice management – like me. Go read the superstars. Superstars were mostly smart enough not to go to law school and if they went they were smart enough to do something other than practice law. Get your advice from people that have started businesses and, again, been wildly successful. Start with Neil Patel. Read his post The 7 Harsh Realities of Starting a Business. He’s a superstar. Listen to him, not me.

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  • http://www.GrahamLawCollaborative.com Kimberly Graham

    Great post! The challenge I’m finding is that the family law attorneys who I’m aware are making a lot of money are also the ones who create more problems than they solve and are, to be blunt, well-knowns as difficult to work with (an understatement). Perhaps there are lawyers out there in my geographic area who are financially successful and are good, reasonable, mediation and collaborative-oriented lawyers, but I’m not sure how to find them. I don’t think that asking how much money someone’s making is a good ice-breaker. Do I take them to lunch a few times, them pop the “are you making good money and how do you do it?” question?

    • Lee Rosen

      I agree, it’s not a good ice-breaker, however it can be done. I think you’re on the right page with getting to know someone first.

      I’ve found that getting to know lawyers in other states makes it easier to get serious about exchanging info since your not direct competitors. I’ve got a few lawyers around the country with whom I exchange very specific financial data so we can learn from one another.

      Lee

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