Well, without clients you are certainly not a law firm.
Getting your firm's first client can be stressful, nerve wracking and, makes you question why you went into private practice because this is so hard. Actually, getting all your clients will seem stressful, but the first one even more so. Once you've been practicing law for a while, the stress of getting clients doesn't occupy your conscious thoughts all the time, but you never stop being concerned about it. But, getting clients is a two-step process. It is an emotional process with some good old fashioned beating the streets.
Keep in mind it is likely that a big client will not come knocking at your door when you open your law practice. Neither will a convicted felon who is facing a murder trial. Out the door, it is likely that nothing that you do will be earth shattering. But then, everyone has to start somewhere, right?
It’s is actually funny to see attorneys who go out on their own and decide that they want to do only “big” cases. You would be surprised to know how quickly their attitude changes. Remember, if you think you are too smart, too educated or did not graduate law school to handle a slip and fall or a bankruptcy petition, you need to re-think your decision to open your own law firm.
If your business strategy is grounded in reality, you already know that you will likely not make much if any money for the first 3-6 months. Depending on your experiences in law school and subsequent other work experience, you need to learn how to manage a business, deal with unexpected “emergencies”, how to keep your business moving forward and how to deal with the lean times.
During these times, you might be tempted to give your time away. Don’t – remember that your time is valuable and once you believe that your time is valuable your clients will too.
You need to put yourself into a position to develop the skills to succeed as a successful lawyer. Every attorney gets lucky and lands a big case now and then. The lawyers who get those cases on a regular basis are the ones who have made themselves a reputation for being a good lawyer and getting the job done well.
Every client’s case brings with it monetary value. The most important thing that your first client brings you is the opportunity to get experience – not only in the legal work but in every area imaginable to your business. This includes running a business, managing money, making sure your marketing strategy is a viable one, making sure your website attracts new clients – the list goes on.
The experience that each client brings to you is an opportunity to grow and to add something on to your practice. If you are good at what you do, you will never stop learning from your clients. There is always room for improvement. It is how we evolve over time.
If you need help managing the business of practicing law, call me at 813-340-9569. Check out my webpage at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help you make your law firm into a "law business".