Leap Into a Law Practice You Love – Part 3

This is the third and final post in my Leap Into a Law Practice You Love series.

In the first two parts of the series, I shared with you how I had left the security of my 6-figure paycheck with two kids at home under the age of 4, plus my husband staying at home to take care of them, and me as the breadwinner. (If you haven’t read the prior two parts, you can read them here and here.)

I also shared with you that I was struggling mightily. I thought it would be much easier than it was to get a steady stream of consistent revenue going that would support my family.

I was failing.

Thinking I would have to go back and get a job.

Worried. Stressed out. Uncertain.

But then, the breakthrough. And not at all from where I thought it would come from.

Before I tell you about the breakthrough, a little more on the breakdown.

I was doing speaking engagements in my local community to bring in clients and getting rave reviews; everyone thanked me and said how helpful it was, but then, crickets. No appointments for legal services.

The few people who did call my office to inquire about working with me, or even made it in for an initial consultation, invariably said they had to think about it, they weren’t sure, my fees were too high or they would get back to me.

Sometimes, I spent up to four hours meeting with prospects (mainly because I was terrified to quote my fees), only to hear “thanks, but we’re still not sure.”

It was a nightmare. Fortunately, I was able to trade my time for rented office space and had a few clients that had come with me from my work at Munger, Tolles & Olson to pay the rest of my family bills.

But, that couldn’t last forever, so I had to do something fast.

Right around that time I met my next coach. The thing was, I didn’t have any money to hire this coach. At least that’s how it felt.

And to work with him, I needed to fly across the country from California to Florida to his event, happening in just two weeks.

I had a breastfeeding baby. No money. How could it be possible? How could I afford it?

Shifting into the answer to that question was the change that made all the difference in the world.

In the past, I would have gone into a mindset of “I can’t afford it” immediately and blocked all of the possibilities and opportunities.

This time, instead, I looked at my resources differently. I knew I had to be there. I knew I had to work with this coach.

So, I called up my husband and asked whether he would be willing to come with me to Orlando with both of the kids (because I was breastfeeding my son and I couldn’t go if he didn’t go), then I cashed in my frequent flyer miles to pay for our flights, and put the coaching fees and hotel on my credit card, knowing that once I got my practice on track, I’d be able to pay it back.

What I learned there changed everything.

I saw that the traditional law business model was broken. I saw that the “successful” lawyers I was learning from were not successful by my terms at all. They were working all hours of the day and night, busy, making money, but they didn’t have lives and they weren’t making a difference in their clients’ lives. Not the way I wanted to.

I saw that I would have to completely change my business model if I wanted to love my law practice.

I saw that I would have to master my system for engaging clients, first and foremost.

I learned that I would have to narrow down the audience of people I was serving, so I wasn’t trying to provide estate planning to anyone and everyone who needed it (which is every adult over the age of 18), but instead to a much smaller subset of people, I could inspire to act with my limited (or no) marketing budget.

I chose families with young children to start. I later expanded to business owners.

I got more credit so I could invest in my practice and hire people to support me and coaches who could really help me create what I truly wanted.

I stopped trying to learn how to build a successful law practice from other lawyers who didn’t really understand what success looked like and I started learning from lifestyle entrepreneurs who had professional practices that were similar to law professions.

I took what I learned and adapted it to my law practice:

  • I created a system for engaging every person who called my office.
  • I learned to market my services in an entirely new way.
  • And I created a new law business model that worked.

Within three years, my practice was earning a million bucks a year of revenue. By my fourth year, I was only going into the office 3-4 days a week at most.

I had made the leap from struggling, nearly broke, worried and uncertain into a practice that was supporting my family, and my team, and my clients AND gave me the time I needed and wanted to consider my next leap.

My next leap would stretch me far more than anything up until that point as I stepped into the reality of teaching what I had learned to other lawyers; you can read all about it in my latest bestselling book, The New Law Business Model–Revealed. If you'd like a free PDF copy, you can download that here.

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