13 Mistakes that Most Independent Lawyers Make

Concept image of a lawyer upside-down with their feet sticking out of the bushes upon making law practice mistakesI discovered the following 13 mistakes after nearly bankrupting my own law practice (and life) by following the traditional law practice-building advice.

#1 You have no set revenue and productivity goals for your life or law practice, or you do (if so, that’s rare), but then you have no accountability structures in place to ensure you meet them. The solution here is what we call “Money Mapping” your law practice so you know exactly how many clients you need to serve, at what average fee, and in how much time you have to reach your money and time goals in your law practice. Then, weekly “metrics meetings” with a coach, your team, or even just yourself to measure whether you are on track.

#2 You worry a lot about finances in your law practice, however, you do not have a system for cash flow forecasting that lets you breathe easy and sleep well at night. The solution here is cash flow forecasting. I know, I know, no one ever taught you this one. Me neither and it cost me YEARS to figure it out. But, you don’t have to because I’ve put all of my learnings in a cash flow forecasting system you can download for free right here.

#3 You want more clients, but you don’t have a system in place for filling your prospect pipeline and then shifting people from interested to engaged (and paying you) without feeling as if you are convincing people to hire you or feeling like you are selling. You’re probably marketing and selling the old way we’ve been taught, using networking that’s not working and selling that’s more about convincing, then guiding. The solution here is to leverage the new way of marketing, which is to Become Omnipresent in your community of ideal clients. This is one of the 5 shifts our most successful lawyer members make to build high 6 and 7-figure law practices, which you can learn more about in our Masterclass Training.

#4 You understand that you need to invest in marketing, but you’re inconsistent with your email newsletters, blog posts, advertising and direct mail campaigns (and don’t really understand how it all fits together or how to get it all done). Becoming omnipresent in your ideal client community does require consistency. But here’s the great news, once you create the system for it — or have it created for you — it truly does run itself with just a bit of monitoring by you. Yes, you invest in setting it up, but once you do, it goes. And, once you know how to engage clients and command premium fees (while still being the most affordable solution for your clients), investing in setting up systems to keep your pipeline full of clients is totally worth it.

#5 You do any speaking engagements. Instead, you rely on networking events and lunches, hoping you’ll make valuable connections. Or, even worse than all that, whatever speaking or networking you do turn into marketing for your competition because you have no follow-up systems in place. When you watch our Masterclass Training on the 5 shifts, you’ll learn about the “new way of marketing” your law practice, so you can stop wasting time and money on marketing that doesn’t work.

#6 You either have no team support, or you’ve built a team, but they feel more like another costly overhead expense that you wish you could rethink. Here’s the reality for most of us: we were not trained to be business people and we mostly are winging it when it comes to the business of law practice. So you probably haven’t thought through how to find, hire and train a great team. And your leadership skills may need a little (or probably a lot) of work. Lawyers are notoriously the worst bosses. I know I was! So, the way to fix this is to acknowledge it, first and foremost. Then, be willing to get help. And, get clear on exactly what outcomes (not tasks, but specific outcomes) you want each person on your team to be responsible for that will lead to your achieving your business objectives.

#7 You’re trying to grow your practice out of the revenue you are bringing in, and can never get ahead enough to hire support or have consistent cash flow you can count on. And while you might be growing your revenue, it still feels like you’re drowning because your expenses are growing too quickly in conjunction.

#8 You worry about having enough in the bank, but you haven’t learned to truly understand the metrics of your law practice, know what numbers to track and what they are telling you about where to focus your time, energy, attention, and money.

The solution to #’s 7 and 8 are the same, and it really is about making the shift from law practice owner to law business owner, and recognizing that even the most successful lawyers using the traditional law practice model are dying under the weight of a broken law practice model and you need to start seeing your law practice like a business, if you want to have true success. The new law business model is all about you knowing exactly which law practice model you are working to create.

When you are investing in your law practice wisely, with total clarity about where you are now, and where you want to go, and where to focus each day, week, month and quarter to get there, you can finally relax.

Having a law practice you love is about not stressing out about money, but instead being so grateful that you are one of the lucky few with a law degree and a truly valuable service that your ideal clients are thrilled to pay you for.

When you’ve got that, you know where to invest so that it will pay off and you can build a law practice that turns into a business that turns into a life you love.

#9 You think more clients is the answer, but you haven’t yet realized that more clients on a broken practice model just digs you into a deeper hole.

#10 You are crazy busy, and since you haven’t fully gained control of your calendar, you are capped out on what you can earn, but still not earning enough to have the life you want.

#11 You’re nervous about your law practice’s survival, so you take whatever client walks in the door, even though you know you might not be the best lawyer for them — you figure you’ll figure out what they need, as they need it, but always feel as if you are failing.

The solution for these three mistakes is all about using your time more wisely by getting super clear about who you do your best work for and then creating a system that allows you to command what we call “affordable premium” fees. Affordable premium fees allow you to get paid well while also being the most affordable solution for your clients. When that happens, hiring you becomes a no-brainer for your ideal clients. And, you can stop taking whatever walks in the door, and only serve clients you love, and make plenty of money doing it. When you watch our masterclass training on the 5 shifts our member lawyers make to create high-6 and 7 figure law practices, be sure to watch for Adam’s story in Shift #4, as you’ll get to see exactly how this works.

#12 You engage new clients but you haven’t learned to “WOW” them. So they don’t remember your name (and can’t possibly refer you to anyone that way); they’ll never be repeat clients, and they’ll never send you a single referral.

#13 Your follow-up communication process is broken, so if someone doesn’t hire you right away, they never hear from you again – and instead hire your competition when they are ready to move forward — or, worse, they do engage you, but you lose them to another lawyer when they fall into a black hole after they hire you.

These last two mistakes can be fixed with systems. As you can tell, we love systems here at New Law Business Model. And that’s because with technology today, you can truly differentiate yourself from the rest of the lawyers, and even the online document drafting platforms that will be the end of most lawyers. We love to leverage what we call “automated personalization” systems to create WOW experiences for our clients after we get hired and turn them into raving fans who stay with us for life, pay consistently and are happy to do so, and who refer all their friends, family, clients and colleagues. Our member lawyers also use these “automated personalization” systems to maintain communication with the people they meet out in the community (or via advertising) who aren’t ready to hire them immediately but will in the future, or who will refer to them in the future.

How You Can Fix These Mistakes For Good

In my own experience, I can tell you — I’ve been guilty of almost every single one of these.

Also, in my own experience, and after working with thousands over lawyers over the past decade, including many hundreds of hours in one-on-one coaching, I can tell you that each of these mistakes is fixable when you understand and leverage the New Law Business Model in your own law practice.

It only took investing more than $200,000 in business coaches, masterminds, and marketing mentors — not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars (millions?) I lost by committing the mistakes to begin with, and almost bankrupting my law practice!

You don’t need to make these mistakes any longer.
Nor do you need to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars like I did to learn to fix them!

Instead, you can learn from my experience and that of our member lawyers.

In fact, I recently went back and mined the past ten years to discover what made the difference between success and failure for the lawyers I’ve coached over the years. You see, I began to notice that there some patterns and distinct markers that made the difference, and I wanted to know exactly what they were. So, I figured it out.

And now, I’d love to share with you what I discovered. Watch my latest masterclass training when I teach the five shifts our member lawyers make to build high-six and seven-figure law practices serving families and small business owners. Get instant access to this free training here.

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