Be honest. How many times a day do you convince yourself that a certain task simply has to be done by you? 10? 20? 1,000?
Somewhere along the way to becoming the amazing lawyer you are, you probably decided you had to be the smartest. You had to be the most capable. You had to be the most diligent.
And to some degree, we want to hold onto that belief, because when we are lawyering, we know that it is an adversarial system. There’s our side and the other side. And if we’re not the best out of the two of us, we lose, our client loses. That’s not what we want. So we know that there is an intellectual basis for establishing and maintaining the belief that we are the best at what we do.
But what about when you decide it’s time to evolve from a practice owner to business owner? You may start to recognize that in order to create a sustainable business that isn’t built on your back, you really do require expertise beyond yourself. And that can be a really hard pill to swallow.
When You Want to Grow, Your Ego Must Go (To a Degree)
I personally know how hard this shift can be. Before I launched my law firm and before I launched Law Firm Mentor, I was – and still am – a very decorated lawyer. I was one of the few lawyers certified by our Supreme Court in New Jersey as a matrimonial law attorney. I was the first attorney in our state to become board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Family Law, and I am a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Simply put, I built a niche and a name for myself, and my ego and identity were very much associated with those things.
And to some degree, we want to hold onto that belief, because when we are lawyering, we know that it is an adversarial system. There’s our side and the other side. And if we’re not the best out of the two, we lose. Our client loses. That’s not what we want. So we know that there is an intellectual basis for establishing and maintaining the belief that we are the best at what we do.
The trick is to recognize that you can employ good people AND still happen to believe that you’re better than they are at certain things. A lot of times, what holds us back from making this leap is fear and our need for safety. What if the person I hire screws up? But what I’ve seen happen again and again for those that choose to see possibility rather than danger in the prospect of having more people in their orbit doing what they’re doing just as good, if not better, at, is this: a meteoric rise to success.
How to Transcend from Practice to Business Owner
So ultimately, the question that every lawyer has to answer for him or herself is which belief will best serve their goals. Go it alone, or grow?
And if your answer is to grow into a thriving business owner, here are 4 steps you can take to begin that journey today:
Step 1: Change your mind.
Find a way to accept that it is better for your clients, your business, your goals, and your service quality and reach that you are not the (only) person delivering a legal service.
Step 2: Start assembling the right team.
Get smart, capable, intuitively vision-oriented people, people who can take your mastery and put their own zone of genius around it and ultimately create something better.
Step 3: Create freedom.
Get systems in place so you are no longer perpetually available to everyone all the time. When you have the freedom to actually be a business owner, you’re a better leader, a better manager, you create stronger policies, you reduce risk of malpractice and grievance, and you create work environments where people love to come to work.
Step 4: Let go of the belief that if the client wants you, they get to have you.
When you’re an excellent lawyer, many people come to your law firm because they want to work with you specifically. It’s up to you to structure your business, communication, marketing, and intake procedures to piggy-back off of this desire without giving it power over your business. They are absolutely right to desire you, but you can then provide a reframe that what they really want is not you, they want what you can accomplish.
The Change Within
If you’re struggling with this idea that you have to be the only one in your law firm or that you have to be the best one in your law firm, you are harboring an inherently constricting belief that is going to keep you small. And if you don’t want to stay small, if you want more for yourself, more for your life, more money, more free time, more enjoyment in the business of law, we can absolutely help you with that.
The choice is yours. It starts with you. When you’re ready to make good on the choice to grow, Law Firm Mentor is here to support you.
Ready to learn more about how to build that A-Team to grow your practice? Join us for our live Thrive Tribe Retreat this November!