If you’re anything like me, you value predictability. Order to my life and work. Structure. Consistent workflow.
You like to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing. You like to know if what you do and how you do it matter.
Much of that comes from the structured environment of law school. Or at least law school fed that aspect of you.
Three years of structure. We take the largely-fixed list of classes in the first year so we can have some choices in the second year. We have to show up, do the reading and pass the exams.
This wonderfully structured environment drives the desired outcome – a piece of paper that allows us to join our regulated monopoly... and be entrepreneurs when we hang our shingle.
Then we open our law firm, and reality sets in.
At best, we have a few examples of what successful attorneys are doing right. Well, that’s what we think. But we really don’t know.
So we imitate them. More accurately, imitating what we think they're doing to be successful. And that structure we’ve grown so accustomed to goes out the window.
You try the same kind of marketing as the successful attorneys and it doesn’t work. Maybe it works, but you don’t know why.
Let’s face it: We can’t be experts in everything. Even lawyers are only experts in certain aspects of the law.
No different here. Having legal expertise and running a business are two different things. You can’t just make up the business part and expect to succeed at it.
This is why so many attorneys get lost. They stray from the organized, structured framework that can get them from here to there. The same framework that took them through law school, to earning that degree, to passing the bar exam.
But there is a step-by-step, organized way to grow your law firm.
The 5 Phases to Freedom in Practice
Let me introduce you to the framework we use at Practice Alchemy to help our members grow their firms.
Every practice must go through the following phases to achieve freedom of practice – the freedom that gives you choices so you can do the things you want to do.
We all begin in the start-up phase. We learn how to be lawyers and start to learn the ropes of being a business owner.
Then we graduate to the foundation phase. This is when we finally start to take control of our business.
During the foundation phase, we start to understand what it takes to get more profitable. We make strategic growth choices about hiring employees and delegation of tasks (or choose not to, but doing so with eyes open). We start to get the sense of who is our ideal client.
Here’s the problem: Most lawyers get stuck in the middle of the foundation phase. They don’t know what to delegate or how to delegate. They don’t know how to identify the ideal client. And even if they get that far, they don't have the formula for making their practice unique and escaping the commodity trap.
These are all step-by-step processes... that most lawyers haven’t thought through. But these processes are essential if you want to position your law firm correctly. Position it to support you, the entrepreneur who took the risk of starting a business.
The (few) attorneys who make it past the foundation phase then move on to the growth phase. This is when they really start to understand how to increase client flow. To make it predictable.
At Practice Alchemy we use a defined, repeatable process for helping our members acquire clients. In a way that works time and again, regardless of practice area or geography. Using marketing effectively instead of copying the so-called successful attorneys, fingers crossed, like too many lawyers do when they go it alone without that structure.
Next comes the stability phase. This is when you start acting like a real CEO.
Instead of always being on the factory floor doing everything yourself, your focus shifts to leverage. Your profitability impact is no longer tied to your own hours or your own labor.
At the same time, you have the ability to maintain a high quality of service delivery, even if others are doing the work for you - that allows you to become a thought leader in your space.
Click here to get access to my free Law Practice Growth Guide that shows you how to grow your law firm predictably and create freedom for yourself.
The final phase is the mastery phase. You’ve achieved the highest level of performance in your practice, and impact on your clients, without being personally involved in every little detail.
I was like most attorneys who discover these phases in bits and pieces, and not necessarily in the right order. It took me years to get where I wanted to be.
There are obviously a lot of details in each phase. More than I could condense into a short article. But the first step is recognizing that there's a path, a repeatable process, to achieving Freedom in Practice.
For those of you who are like me and crave structure, it’s important to realize that you have to find it. It won't find you.
But rest assured, it’s there.
And, for those looking for the template, the shortcut - let us help you.