I was recently fortunate enough to come across Mark Fletcher’s 15 Startup Commandments. At least some of these guidelines are also helpful to planning, managing, and marketing a law practice. Here are 13 Law Firm Commandments:
- Your practice idea isn’t new. Pick a niche practice; at least 50 other lawyers have thought of it. Get over your creative pride and realize that client service and effective representation matter more.
- Stealth law firms suck. You’re not working on the Manhattan Project, Einstein. Get the essentials necessary to provide great client service in place and promote the hell out of it. Enlist family, friends, colleagues. Focus on word-of-mouth and web-to-mouth strategies immediately.
- If you have time on your hands, you’re either not providing excellent service, or you’re not growing your practice fast enough.
- If you’re successful, people will try to copy you. Hope that you’re in that position, and hope that you’re smart enough to stay ahead of the curve.
- Other legal professionals and marketing consultants will tell you they know more about marketing and managing your practice than you do. If that’s really the case, you shouldn’t be running a law firm.
- Your competition will exaggerate their success. Take any law firm success metric and slash it in half. At least.
- The size of your law firm is not a reflection of your manhood. More employees does not make you more of a man (or woman as the case may be).
- Align your expectations with your investments, budget, and goals. When you provide great service, clients will come to you.
- You have to be wrong in the head to start a law firm. But law firm owners have all the fun.
- Starting a law firm will teach you what it’s like to be a manic depressive. They, at least, can take medication.
- Your law firm isn’t succeeding? You have two options: go home with your tail between your legs or do something about it. What’s it going to be?
- If you don’t pay attention to your competition, they will turn out to be geniuses and will crush you. If you do pay attention to them, they will turn out to be idiots and you will have wasted your time. Which would you prefer?
- Law firms are not a democracy. Want a democracy? Go run for class president, Bueller.
Stay flexible, demonstrate your expertise, and provide great service. Stay motivated. Find effective business development strategies. Measure and evaluate your entire business strategy.