When treated as a strategic tool, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) can definitely create a revenue boost for your law firm. However, there may be other problems restricting your cash flow that CLE will not solve—and deferring to it in those cases basically amounts to procrastination from dealing with the real problems plaguing your business. Let’s look at a few instances in which CLE will probably not help your bottom line.
Attempting to Expand Your Practice Areas
Many lawyers fall into the snare of believing the more areas of law they practice, the more money they can make. These attorneys take CLE for the purpose of adding to their service offerings: “We not only do trial law, we also do bankruptcy, divorce, litigation, estate planning, patents,….” Be assured, this approach won’t get you more money—if anything, it will just make you work harder without feeling like you’re getting ahead. Attorneys who claim to do everything become legal jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. Clients prefer to go to law firms that focus on the area of law they need.
Believing the “Magic Pill” Myth
Some attorneys treat CLE as a sort of “magic pill” that will make everything better with their law firm if they swallow it. They don’t approach their course offerings strategically, but instead they assume whatever they learn will ultimately help them grow their firm. This sort of magical thinking doesn’t work because it has no focus. Legal knowledge doesn’t equal more revenue. Clients won’t flock into your office and pay your high rates simply because you know more about the law. They come because you’ve marketed your services effectively, and they stay with you because you’ve earned their trust.
Legal Knowledge Isn’t Your Real Problem
Sometimes, unfortunately, attorneys use CLE as a way of dodging what’s really wrong in their law firm. If your office is a logistical mess, if you don’t follow up your leads, if you don’t have automated systems in place to keep basic office functions running smoothly, if your marketing strategy is nonexistent…no amount of CLE is going to fix these problems. These aren’t problems of legal expertise—they are problems with your business practices. In this situation, taking CLE will simply eat up valuable time and energy, and you’ll prolong your own agony because you have confused action for progress. You probably do need more education—just not in the legal realm.
Remember, your law firm isn’t simply a practice; it’s a business. As a rule of thumb, CLE can help grow your revenue when you use it purposefully to specialize, get board certified, etc. But if you’re looking to it to solve existing problems, chances are your problems are more about business than law. For practical help in turning your law firm into a revenue generating business, give us a call at (888) 207-2869.