The worst thing that you could be right now is what we call a door lawyer. A door lawyer is a lawyer who takes whatever walks in the door because they think that they need to in order to keep the lights on. And that might include you.
You might think that you can't narrow down and specifically focus on any one legal practice area, because if you do, you'll starve.
Watch the video below to hear my message for you, and lawyers everywhere, on why it is critical to focus your legal practice area, now. If you prefer to keep reading instead, I've provided the transcript below, too.
Being a door lawyer is the fastest path to the poor house and to a life that you can't stand because if you don’t focus your legal practice area, you can never be an expert.
You can never be seen as a trusted resource because you're having to scramble to learn something new every time somebody calls you.
If you take any kind of matter that comes your way right, you can never be the expert-leader, and you can never create the systems that you would need to provide a truly top-notch, differentiated service from every other lawyer in your community.
Instead, when you decide to focus on serving just one legal practice area and mastering that one before adding on another…
… and then within that practice area, serving a very specific focus group of people:
- That's how you're going to be able to make the biggest impact.
- That's how you're going to be able to be seen as the expert-leader in your community.
- And that's how you're going to be able to become 'the go-to lawyer' for the work that you do.
Now, at New Law Business Model, we train lawyers to serve families and/or small business owners in their communities. That's what I did in my law practice; I've since trained over 2,600 lawyers to do the same in their own communities, many of whom today have seven-figure law practices, having made it through the last recession.
I started training lawyers at the end of 2006, and many, right when we went into the recession, were very scared. They weren't sure. Could they actually narrow down their practice to only serving clients that they love to work with the way that I was suggesting?
Well, the ones that took a leap of faith found out that yes, they could.
David Feakes is a perfect example. He is the owner of the Parents Estate Planning Firm in Acton, Massachusetts.
When I first started working with David, he was a litigator in Boston who had left the big law firm life and decided to start his own practice in his suburb community of Acton. And he decided to give it a try and I was saying and see if it would work.
He was scared. He was the breadwinner in his family. He had little kids and he wanted his wife to be able to come in and work with him, but he wasn't sure that he'd be able to support both of them with his own law practice.
Well, David decided to follow my advice ‘to the T’. He focused and narrowed his practice, first just to estate planning, then just to serving families with young children, and ultimately to becoming The Parents' Estate Planning Firm.
As his own children have grown, he's expanded from serving just families with young children to more of the sandwich generation as well, focusing on families who are meeting the needs of young children, teenagers, and, of course, their parents.
Today, David is 'the go-to lawyer' in his community of Acton, Massachusetts, because he was willing to narrow and focus, and he began to educate his community.
And he’s using the resources that NLBM provides to be seen as the expert and to become, in some ways, the status symbol for the parents in his community to work with him on their estate plan.
Want to hear directly from David himself about his experience building a $1MM dollar law practice? Watch my live interview with David Feakes, on what it takes to build a 7-figure law practice you love, only serving clients you love to work with. If you are not in our Facebook group, The Lifestyle Lawyer's Club, you’ll need to ask to join after you click the link, and then when you get there, ask where to find David’s video and we’ll point the way.
Now you might think that means that there's no room for other lawyers in Acton, MA, but we've actually found it's just the opposite...
Some years recently, Erica Endyke saw that David was getting all the clients and she decided that she was going to establish herself, as well, as a trusted resource for families in her community.
And what Erica found, is that there's more than enough for both of them, even though she and David are both focusing on serving families in the same community.
Now, why is that? It's because they're the only two lawyers doing it. They've differentiated themselves from all the other lawyers that are out there because they're willing to focus on a specific practice area, in their cases, estate planning, and in serving a specific group of people that they can reach - families.
So my invitation to you today is for you to consider: How might you need to narrow the focus of your practice even more?
Maybe you already have honed your focus to a specific practice area. Maybe you're already in bankruptcy, immigration, divorce, estate planning, or business transactional work. How can you hone in, even more, on who you serve with those practices that you offer?
Who could you serve? What's the common denominator among the clients that you love to work with? Because see, the truth is, in order to provide phenomenal service to your clients, which I'm sure you want to do, you must realize that you don't have the capacity to serve an unlimited number of people.
The lawyers that we serve doing estate planning have a max capacity - even with a $1,000,000 practice... like David Feakes has today; at max, he can serve 25 to 30 new clients a month in his practice. Most of the lawyers starting out with us can only serve four clients a month in their practice.
So you need to get really clear...
What is the practice area that you would love to serve with? Who are the people that you would love to serve with that very specific practice area?
And how can you begin to educate that group of people as broadly as possible, so that you're educating people in that group, some of whom can afford your services, some of whom can't afford your services, but you are speaking to them as a whole... And then making your services available to those who want and need them within that group, while still empowering the people who may not be able to afford to hire you to make the great decisions (that if you were counseling them 1:1, you'd be paid a lot of money for)? But on a broad basis, you can give that away for free. You can't do this when you're a door lawyer.
If you're taking whatever walks in the door, you're not able to establish the systems, you're not able to establish the messaging; you're not able to establish the processes to truly serve at the highest level with your law degree.
So I invite you to focus, to get clear, to educate broadly -- but within a very specific group and a very specific topic -- and you will watch your law practice thrive, just like David, through the recession; maybe even building a $1,000,000 law practice along the way.