Criminal attorneys in New York are having a hard time right now. According to the Washington Post, the unofficial slowdown by the NYPD meant that only 23 tickets were issued for minor offences during Christmas week, and zero handed out on New Years Eve. That compares with over 650 summonses issued per week in 2013.
Crime hasn’t disappeared in New York, it’s just that the police have decided to turn a blind eye to it, flipping the bird at Mayor Bill de Blasio. If you’re a lawyer who depends on these low-level cases for your bread and butter, you’re probably praying that the NYPD gets back to work ASAP.
But hoping and praying isn’t a strategy for success.
One of my two big “aha” moments in business was reading Michael Gerber’s E-Myth. I realized the importance of systemizing my law practice. Hoping and praying, I learned, doesn’t build a successful law practice.
Without policies, procedures and systems to define every aspect of the law practice, I was leaving it to my employees to decide for themselves how to do their jobs. And there was no consistency. For example, two employees working in our intake department were handling inbound phone calls completely differently. Case managers each had their own way of doing things. The lawyers all had their own style of writing letters.
Putting policies, procedures and systems in place, along with the required training, fixed all that. I was no longer hoping and praying. I had taken control of the situation.
What about the situation in New York? The situation isn’t long term and the summonses will return. Until they do return, the lawyers who are sleeping soundly at night will be the ones who aren’t worried because they have more than one practice area.
Think Like An Entrepreneur
Gerber reminds us to think like entrepreneurs. We can’t perform every function ourselves in a growing and successful law practice, so we need to think like business owners and entrepreneurs instead of technicians. Entrepreneurs hire other technicians to build the bigger picture.
We need to think like entrepreneurs to survive factors beyond our control. For example, Social Security & Disability (SSD) lawyers are facing much greater challenges than a few years ago and the biggest advocate firm, Binder & Binder, recently went into Chapter 11, as I discussed in a recent blog post. The response by some PILMMA members who were solely SSD practitioners has been to diversify their practice areas.
I was aware of the trends in SSD before I opened my new law practice in Myrtle Beach, SC, but as an entrepreneur, I had done the math to work out that I could still be profitable and that it was worth the effort.
Don’t Be A Victim
Binder & Binder’s management may feel that the firm is a victim of factors beyond its control. That’s their screw-up. I’m aware of the challenges my SSD firm faces, and yet I’m firmly in control of my own law practice. I like to build businesses. So if my SSD practice were going to become unprofitable or the cases were to disappear altogether because of government changes, I would find another practice area.
I’m not going to cry over my cornflakes; I’m going to take control of my circumstances, because hoping and praying isn’t a strategy for success.
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Are you in control of your own law firm and managing your employees effectively? Or are you tired of unproductive employees who lack motivation and constantly cause drama in your office?
Solve All Your Employee Management Problems
What if I told you I have found a lawyer who has cracked the code and is willing to share the secrets to solving all of your employee management problems? Sounds too good to be true, I know, but listen…this lawyer took his law firm from 0 to 27,000 cases in a little over 10 years. He presently manages over 200 employees and only handles disability cases.
As you may already know, disability cases are low margin and staff intensive. To be profitable, keeping employee productivity high and costs low is imperative.
That’s why what my friend, Ken LaVan has done with his law practice is truly amazing.
For the first time, Ken and his team are going to share their employee management secrets in an exclusive one day event in March – The A-Z Law Practice Management Blueprint.
Here’s just some of what will be covered:
- Step-by-Step Checklist for New Hires
- Creating Job Descriptions
- Creating an Employee Handbook
- Establishing Benchmarks
- How to Create and Utilize an Onboarding Training Manual
- Productivity Tracking
- Motivation Techniques
- Keeping Employee Morale High
- Creating an Organizational Chart
- How to Create a Mission Statement
- How to Interview Applicants Without Getting Fooled
- How to Deal with Toxic and Problem Employees
- How to Create a Salary Structure for Staff that Motivates Them to Excel
- How to Properly Fire an Employee
And Much Much More!
For more information about our A-Z Blueprint event and to register, click here.