Lawyers who start their own law firms generally take one of two approaches to doing so. With the first approach, the attorney seeks to build a law firm that is sellable, focusing on the overall success of the firm. With the second, the attorney basically starts the firm for the purpose of being his own boss, and the law office is basically a glorified job where he is the owner and chief practitioner.
There’s legitimacy to both of these approaches, but one has the potential to be far more successful than the other. Can you guess which one? It’s the first approach: building a sellable firm, versus a glorified job.
By “sellable,” I mean it in both possible senses of the word. You’re seeking to create a law firm with a good reputation whose services you can “sell” easily to your clients. At the same time, you’re building a solid, successful business in its own right, one that you wouldn’t be afraid to sell one day to someone else.
So what are the differences between building a sellable law firm and creating a glorified job for yourself? Let’s look at a few key distinctions.
A sellable firm focuses on service. A glorified job focuses on personality.
With a sellable firm, you’re marketing the quality of your services to meet the needs of your clients. With the glorified job approach, you’re basically selling yourself as the product—convincing your clients that you’re the right guy/girl for the job. The problem with personality-dependent law firms is that the entire operation depends on your presence to succeed. If you ever choose to retire, or if (heaven forbid) your reputation gets tarnished, your income goes away. You’re fired from the job you created for yourself.
A sellable firm is also scalable; a glorified job is not.
When your focus is on growing a successful law firm based on excellent service, you have the ability to expand your team to accommodate more clients, and even more locations, just like any other scalable business. With a glorified job approach, your growth is restricted to how many clients you can personally handle at one time.
A sellable firm can operate without you. A glorified job cannot.
When your law firm is all about the services you offer, and as you build a team to provide those services, you can eventually find the freedom to come and go as you please, knowing the firm will operate well without you. This is the lifestyle for which so many attorneys strive. With the glorified job approach, this lifestyle isn’t possible because the firm depends on your presence. You may be chained to something you’ll eventually come to resent.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be your own boss, but why limit yourself to that ambition when with the right approach, your law firm could become so much more than the sum of its parts? If you’d like help in transforming your law firm into something truly sellable, give us a call at 888-207-2869.