Lawyers: Don’t Let Technology Steal Your Clients
April 7, 2014
Look, I’m no Henny Penny. But it is true that I’ve been warning any lawyers that will listen how recent changes in technology are encroaching on legal services they provide to clients. For more than a few years, I’ve been talking about this issue in group workshops and one-one-one conversations with my coaching clients. Technology is a major game changer.
Those of you that have seen my presentation on “5 Predictions About the Future and 10 Strategies to Grow Your Practice,” know that I am pounding lawyers to really think about protecting their futures.
Now is the time to ask yourself: “In 10 years, what will my practice look like?”
A recent CNN story, “Here Come the Robot Lawyers,” only further highlights the competitive pressure advances in technology are bringing down on attorneys.
Technology isn’t just picking up services like drafting basic legal documents. It’s also wiping out entry level positions once considered the classic “apprentice” roles to learn the business. Those positions are vanishing, and I’m hearing about it firsthand.
I met a young lawyer who received his law degree a little more than a year ago. For months, he searched for a position at a firm, but he ended up opening a solo practice because he could not find a decent entry level job.
Learning how to research, write, and prepare legal documents in the real world of practicing law — as opposed to talking about it in a classroom — is a critical learning path for young lawyers in entry level law firm jobs. I’m not sure how future lawyers can learn these skills as well as we did after all the entry level jobs disappear.
This issue opens up many interesting questions for us as practitioners. What does this mean to us as owners of law firms? How can we use technology to cement our role in the market? How do we use it to increase value to our referral sources and clients?
If you have not seen the CNN article, check it out. Those of you that are enrolled in the Atticus quarterly workshops, the Practice Growth Program and Dominate Your Market, know firsthand that practice management consultants like myself are encouraging you to look upstream and deal with these coming trends now.
If you don’t do anything, you might as well expect to be replaced by a robot attorney.
Lawyers: Why Dominate Your Market?
October 10, 2013
Why would you want to play a bigger game than what you are currently playing? Who needs the effort, right?
And, why would you ever play such an outrageous game as something called “Dominate Your Market” workshop?
One of the biggest traps that stops great law firms from growing is the trap of relative success. The partners look around and see that no other law firm is doing what they do. None of their competitors market as well, practice as well, treat their employees as well, or make as much money as they do. They think: “We are, without a doubt, the best in our marketplace. No one comes close.”
They attended a CLE program as a participant or as a speaker and thought, “Wow, I am the smartest attorney in this room. No one can touch me.”
They see themselves as the best in comparison to anyone else. They don’t need help. They just need to show up and smile.
In my experience, once this occurs, all growth stops. The ball game is over. The trap of relative success has been sprung, and this firm has hit a plateau of comfort.
This trap owns them now. They will never see it as the collar it is around their necks. Their growth is now leashed, and that chain is short. As long as the trap of relative success owns them, they will slowly but surely lose their spot in the market place. Of course, they will never see this coming. They are blinded by their own brilliance.
This why you we at Atticus say lawyers should always play for market dominance. If you are always playing to be the best at all times, then no one can catch up to you. You must always set stronger and hungrier goals — the type that motivate you to always play at your best level.
Nothing is worse than a lawyer that ran out of goals. You must always be playing to be bigger, stronger, more profitable, and never ever think you are the prettiest firm in the room.
If you’re interested in taking your relatively successful law firm to new heights, then I encourage you to check out the Dominate Your Market workshop program. It meets quarterly, provides members access to our top coaches (me included) , an inspiring peer group of high-achieving lawyers from around the country, and access to Atticus’ enormous bounty of practice management resources and tools.
If you don’t yet qualify to join the program — it’s not for everyone — then you should know that Atticus offers a number of other workshops that will help your law firm reach its tipping point to success — The Practice Builder, The Practice Growth Program and Rainmakers.
If you have any questions about Dominate Your Market or any of Atticus’ coaching programs, contact me.
Why are you paying someone $300 an hour to clean your house?
It’s insane, I know. But most of you are doing exactly that. You’re paying someone about $300 per hour to sweep your floors, clean your bathroom and pick up groceries.
The really insane part? You had no idea. That’s because this well-paid housekeeper, prep cook and all-around personal minion to whom you’ve been paying thousands of dollars to every month is none other than you.
Except you’re not really collecting another check by keeping these chores to yourself, right? You’ve actually been stealing from your ability to earn more revenue, to spend more time with your family or take part in the hobbies you enjoy.
You’ve been losing money faster than you can fold that pile of laundry mocking you at the foot of your bed.
What’s your hourly rate for serving your law firm clients? Many attorneys charge anywhere from $150 to $600 per hour, depending on level of expertise and years of experience. For argument’s sake, let’s assume an average of $300 per hour for most of you reading this.
For years, my wife and I worked full-time jobs. She managed my law firm office. I did the less-inspiring legal work. We’d put in eight to twelve hours a day – working as hard as we all do to keep clients and employees happy. After commuting home, often done separately due to one picking up the kids from daycare while the other went grocery shopping or bought takeout for dinner, we’d start our second full-time jobs.
By the time we fed our two children, cleaned the kitchen, and figured out if we had any clean clothes for tomorrow, we’d have little to absolutely no quality time for each other or to enjoy anything remotely resembling a hobby. Weekends were often just as hectic with oil changes, yet another trip to the store for a forgotten staple, DIY fix-it projects around the house and yard, and the ever-accumulating laundry. Fitting in exercise? Yeah, right.
Think about all the time and money you’re going to continue to burn if you don’t make a change. If you want more time with your spouse and children, actual free time for your favorite hobbies or activities, and more money in your bank account, then consider my following suggestion.
I’m not talking about a cleaning person who comes in for a few hours a week or a personal shopper or a food delivery service.
Answer this question: Can I hire someone for less than $300 an hour to do these household errands and chores?
The answer is obviously yes. You can hire a ton of people that will do all the things that you don’t have time to do, won’t do, or the things you think your spouse should do (you know those things you’re chronically annoyed about because he/she isn’t doing them either).
Hire someone for 25 to 35 hours per week to help run the house.
YOU COULD DOUBLE YOUR INCOME
Two of my female attorney coaching clients doubled their incomes when they hired someone to take over their “second job.”
You will make money or - at worst – you will save money.
You will have to work through some emotional stumbling blocks:
“I’d feel weird having a housekeeper. Having one is so old-fashioned, isn’t it?”
“I’d be embarrassed for my parents to think I hired a maid when I’m perfectly capable of doing the ironing myself.”
But my thought on this is that you’re hiring someone to help you live a less stressful life. Yes, at first it will feel goofy. But you will love it.
HOW TO PAY FOR THIS PERSON?
If you can bill at least one hour a week more than you currently do, you will pay for a week of this person’s time. For example, if you paid the domestic assistant about $12 per hour for 25 hours, that’s $300 per week.
Instead of rushing out of the office early to get to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, or a drive-thru to pick up dinner for your family, you can delegate all these errands and bill one more hour.
Bingo. The cost of your new favorite employee has just been covered for the week.
A FAST TRACK STRATEGY
Now that you have been introduced to the idea, you could just take it and run with it. Or you can find out more about my strategies for finding the right domestic assistant and keeping your family happy.
I’m hosting a two-part webinar called The Domestic Assistant Advantage™ . The first session is 90 minutes. The second session is 30 minutes. I’m offering this course for less than any amount that you’ve NOT been paying yourself for scrubbing your own bathtub.
Find out how hiring a domestic assistant can help you succeed in your law firm and improve your life outside the office.
Why would you hire one?
How can it save or make you money?
The $300 test
Coping with guilt
Job descriptions to recruit one
How to manage one – you can do this in less than an hour a week
Forms: weekly checklist, monthly checklist, task lists, and agendas
Hear from my family’s domestic assistant about how this job works from her perspective
And so much more!
When: Sept. 26 @ 4pm EDT (90 min) and Oct. 17 @ 4pm EDT (30 min)
Price: $250 (early bird discount of $55 off the enrollment fee if you register by Sept. 14)
Focus on your strengths. Ask yourself: Is cleaning my house my greatest strength? Or is it helping my clients at my best hourly (or better yet, fixed price) rates?
I might have made my family and friends nuts (especially Mark Merenda at SmartMarketingnow.com) over how I eventually chose this site’s domain name.
I told my wife, Kristen, that I wanted her opinion. She gave it by saying, “What’s the big deal? Pick one, move on.”
When I tried to explain my difficulty, I said that picking a website name is probably akin to picking out a wedding dress. You can’t just pick any URL, you have to find the right one. To which Kristen replied with something entirely unbloggable.
And then, my ever-practical wife reminded me how she actually rented her wedding dress. Yep, that’s right. We were incredibly broke when we married. Wedding dresses can be very expensive. To Kristen, there was but one obvious, and certainly practical, solution to not finding a beautiful dress we could afford: rent one. (I so love this woman.)
Back to me. As an attorney and a coach to lawyers, I have been involved in the birthing process of many a name for a new business, project or commercial endeavor. The trade marking, filing and protecting of names is something I know more than a little about. Hence, my nuttiness with picking the best name for this site.
Yes, I listened to Mark Merenda — who is no doubt the smartest guy I know of when it comes to this kind of stuff (hence the name of his company is Smart Marketing).
Yes, I watched that video by some Google web genius who said it did not matter what your URL actually is. What matters is content and branding.
Nonetheless, I came up with oodles of names and tried them all out on Mark, my wife, and anyone else I could get to sit down and listen to me blather about it.
Everyone had an opinion, but in the end Mark said this one would work best. This was the equivalent, I think, of him telling me that this dress did not make me look too fat.
So, after gulping down a large Starbucks coffee and meditating to some Dave Brubeck tunes, I caved to peer pressure and finally picked one, GreatLawPractices.com.
The explanation: If you are going to work at building a law practice, why not make it a great one?