As a Law Practice Management Consultant, having devoted my more than 40 year career to the legal profession, I am not your law business “Yes” woman. I never will be. I do not and cannot compromise what I know works and does not work when it comes to “managing the business of practicing law®”. I will give you my professional opinion based on my many years of experience. If you choose not to listen, that is perfectly fine. But at least I know I have done my job.
Did you know that surrounding yourself and your law business with “yes people” can actually hurt your law business instead of help it?
As a law firm grows, lawyers without realizing it hire people who are “yes people”. It starts at the interview and continues on through the working relationship. Candidates for employment spew out during an interview all the things the lawyer wants to hear because that’s how the lawyer has always done things. No one wants to rock the boat, and the interviewee needs the job. I have even heard an applicant stroking an attorney’s ego in the interview telling him “what an honor it would be to work at his prestigious firm”. I felt like saying lady I left my shovel in the car.
Here are the signs that you have a “yes” person involved in your business:
While “yes” people don’t intentionally lie, they only tell the lawyer what they know the lawyer wants to hear. This puts the lawyer at a disadvantage because they don’t know the whole story about something.
“Yes” people will do exactly as they are told. They never strategize before they execute an instruction on what the long term effects of a boss’ decision will be.
“Yes” people don’t really listen - which means they disregard client complaints and other employee complaints. Their only purpose is to suck up to the lawyer and continue telling him what he wants to hear.
“Yes” people live in their own world where everything stays the same. Perfect example? How many employees are unwilling to move forward with computer technology? No firm throws an employee into new case management software without training. These “yes” people steadfastly refuse to participate in progress, all to the detriment of the firm.
“Yes” people are never to blame when something does not go right. They will never risk an original idea or offer a new way to do things, thus sheltering themselves from getting blamed since they made no suggestions. They will, however, be the first to find fault with the suggestions of others.
“Yes” people do not really care about the law firm. They care about themselves. It is difficult for a “yes” person to be a team player since their only concern is for themselves and their own job security.
“Yes” people will begin to resent the lawyer and the firm as well as their co-workers. Because they are stagnant in their position, always doing everything the same and never venturing out to take some initiative, their raises and bonuses will reflect their unwillingness to help the firm move forward.
So, going back to I am not a “yes woman”. Every lawyer I work with and every lawyer I have spoken to knows that I take seriously my responsibility as a law practice management consultant and part of their team to not rubber stamp their ideas or potential decisions.
I will tell you why a marketing idea won’t work. I will tell you why I don’t think you should re-hire someone who was a marginal employee that left and wants to come back because it’s “better than nobody”. I will tell you why you are not able to manage your finances. I will tell you why you need to do monthly billing and collections so that you do not end up with $100,000 in annual receivables that you cannot collect on. I will tell you what your firm needs to be a successful law “business”.
I pride myself on telling it like it is. Maybe part of that is I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and I believe in telling it like it is whether in my personal or business life. That is a highly possible conclusion since you can take the girl out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the girl.
Or - maybe - just maybe - I am an objective outsider who is now part of your team, able to look at your overall business practices with a fresh set of eyes and the problems are glaringly obvious to me. My recommendations for implementation of processes and procedures in the firm are based on 40 years’ experience and education. Now, whether you take my advice or let me help you in the way that I know will work is entirely up to you.
I make it very clear when I start working with a client that I am not going to “yes” them to death so they can keep doing what they have been doing all these years. All these years lawyers have been staying afloat, a week away from having the wolves at the door wanting money. Don’t you want to do more than just keep your law firm afloat year after year? Do you really want to run the finances of your firm on the monthly non-refundable retainers you take in every month from new clients?
No one can say they weren’t warned at the outset of our business relationship. I am not earning my fees if I agree that it is okay to keep managing your law business the way you have been. I won’t do that.
If you need help with managing the business of practicing law(R), please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call me at 813-340-9569. Read my recommendations on Facebook and the testimonials on my website.
Check out my website at: www.fromlawyertolawfirm.com.