What makes one law firm better (or worse) than the other? If you’re like every other human being out there, you (subjectively) believe you’re one of the best around at what you do. Ever heard someone say, “that attorney is just a good marketer but not a good lawyer.” Okay. Might be true, but it’s more likely sour grapes, because you can be both.
So what actually makes one business (or law firm) better than another? Our founders have built several million-plus dollar businesses, and have come away with this answer: We would argue that your business comes down to your people and your systems. People run the systems, and the systems run your business. Your systems can make you good, and your people can make you great.
If you were looking for something more complicated, more dynamic, sorry to disappoint you. But if you step back and think about it, culture eats rules for breakfast. Your culture is how your team treats your clients and treats each other. What they say, how they act, the messages they send, and the image they portray. While the concept of building a great team is simple, actually building a great team and a great culture is tough. It takes thought, it takes patience, and it takes courage. You define your Core Values, you hire based on those Core Values, then you train, evaluate, coach, lead and delegate. Rinse and repeat.
And what about getting the work done? How efficient are the systems you designed for your awesome people? Does it take a week to send out invoices, or a day? Does Microsoft word sync seamlessly, or does it crash on you? Does your time billing software integrate with QuickBooks and have a client portal, or are you tallying up time at the end of the week? Do you have a meeting rhythm so your teams communicate more efficiently than your competitor’s teams, or do you have intermittent, long meetings where much is discussed but little is accomplished?
So, back to the law firms. Law Firm A has one great attorney, one okay paralegal, and one okay secretary. Law Firm B has one great attorney, one great paralegal, and one great secretary. Who do you think is happier? What’s a more fun place to work? Whose clients are happier? Ever worked with really angry clients? It’s miserable.
What if the owner of Law Firm A is still answering her own phone, failing to be honest with herself, and admitting that interrupting her work or a conversation with one client in hopes of gaining another is like trying to fill the leaky bucket by pouring the water in faster? Law Firm B, meanwhile, has a pleasant receptionist that will answer calls, handle emergencies, and schedule callbacks or new appointments in an organized and timely fashion. What if that awesome receptionist at Law Firm B also schedules follow-ups, prepares the meeting room, and has the potential new client’s favorite food ready when they show up, all because the system was designed to ask those questions and maximize customer experience?
You’re with me, I know. But how do you get really great people? And how do you afford them? We’d all take a lot more help if it was affordable. Adding a $45,000 salary to the payroll every time you want to hire a staff member is daunting. We know, and that’s precisely why we created Get Staffed Up. There are incredible people out there who will make a great living and love working for you, which will cost you a fraction of what hiring someone in the United States will cost you. (One of those incredible people, for example, got this blog posted on our website and sent out in an email to you. All we did was take 30 minutes to write it). Look, we didn’t really understand this resource until recently, either. We wish we had started hiring offshore sooner. But we don’t know what we don’t know. Now, life is grand, and we focus on running our business while our Staffers get the important work done we have delegated to them with resources and systems. You know it’s true; you’re just not sure it can be you. We’re here to tell you it can.
To answer the ultimate question – Law Firm B, in this scenario, is better than Law Firm A. The problem is Law Firm A owner is either (a) lying to themselves and making excuses (this is harsh, but it’s also true, and we’ve all been there), or (b) exasperated and doesn’t know where to start. If you’re in camp B, reach out to us today and let’s talk about how much better your life can be when you’re surrounded by incredible help that tackles all the minutia getting in the way of you kicking more butt and being better lawyer.