When you find and live clearly in your purpose in life you are rich and successful.
Lawyers are people who like to problem-solve. Many lawyers chose the profession because their own personal experiences lead them to want to help others. I know that was true for me.
I came from a very modest background. I watched my parents struggle to make ends meet often failing. What I noticed was that they didn’t have resources or more experienced people to give them when they got into trouble. That lack of knowledge cost them and me want to protect others in that situation.
If you are helping the people you went to law school to help, you are wealthy in purpose.
Lawyers struggle with time. Lawyers are conditioned during law school to accept overwork & overwhelm as normal. Just look at all the law student memes on Instagram. They break my heart.
Lawyers feel guilty for not working every second. You’re fearful of missing deadlines.You get to be time-obsessed, hoarding every second, during a law school. I was so awful about looking at my watch and calculating how much time a conversation deserved. Time felt like it was always working against me.
Instead, I learned to make time work for me through tools like automation and delegation. I believe when you leverage your time and get wealthy there, you can improve your wealth in all the other areas, too.
The 4 Wealths
Like success, I chose to define wealth in new achievable ways: purpose, health, time and money
Like purpose. Every single person has a calling, a reason for being on earth. You’ve heard the expression, Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, right? That person is aligned their purpose so work becomes joyful and fun. Living in your purpose & knowing it is wealth.
Like health. You know someone in your family or life who has had a serious illness and recovered. That person will tell you that each day is blessed. When you have your health you do have everything. Having good health is wealth.
Like time. People we all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce yet she manages to make it seem like a month. How is that? She delegates. She has a team. She prioritizes where to spend her time & energy.
Lawyers struggle with time because we were lead to believe that a good lawyer does everything in their law practice. The billing. The books. The marketing. The admin. The EVERYTHING
Successful lawyers figure out that is bullsh*t and bring in help, virtual or otherwise. The expression that time is money is real for lawyers.
You will earn more money when you learn to leverage your time. Even better, you’ll get to practice law.
Like money. When did 6 figures get to be the milestone? I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda over all of the hype to make 6 figures. Such pressure.
You can make 6 figures if you want. It takes a commitment. First time I made 6 figures I was running my consulting firm and wrestling with life as a single mom with 2 small kids. I had a dream of giving them a home to live in that pushed me. I did it but it came at a cost.
Overworked, my doctor told me she expected to be summoned to the ER. She predicted a heart attack that would be fatal. I changed my ways and went on to make 6 figures again as a corporate executive.
You can make 6 figures. Just make sure the personal cost isn’t too high and you use automation and delegation to help you. Did you know that the second highest suicide rate is in women lawyers? Just saying.
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. –Maya Angelou
How to make 6 figures in your law business
There are 3 steps to making 6 figures in my book.
- Be very specific about the legal problem you solve. Lawyers love to do the deli-style menu of services, which simply signifies- you’ll do anything.
For example, family law is an area where practitioners love to cover from A-Z. Sure, you cast a wide net, but who are you actually catching? Did you want THAT client or are you ready to throw him back?
Instead, be THE family lawyer for interracial couples where there is an accusation of parental alienation. You will be the obvious choice for the right client who will pay your higher rates willingly because you know how to solve their very unique problem.
This method worked well for me. I opened my Ombuds advisory service for small business owners when nobody was trying to help micro biz owners deal with conflict. I became known for helping small teams communicate and function better. That lead to being hired by a company to help them through an international merger and a feature in Inc magazine.
2. Know your client’s journey inside and out. Clients don’t just show up at your door (if only, right LOL). Clients go through a discovery process through which they become aware of their legal problem, gather information to make a decision, validate their top choices then select their lawyer.
Legal buyers are under enormous stress and often experience brain fog Bad for them but very good for you. Clients literally cannot make good decisions. You want to show up early in the client’s journey to offer help and guidance in a strange, unfamiliar situation. Then, the client perceives you as the trusted advisor and not the dreaded attorney, and the obvious choice.
Be client-centric. Use automation tools that enhance their convenience and create a friction-less experience without demanding your time like Case Status, an app for communicating with clients.
Totally delighted clients share, especially online on Yelp, Bing, Google, Alignable, Townsquared, Next Door and a variety of other user review or community sites. Reviews bring leads and more new clients. A virtuous circle, nice.
3. Know your numbers. Pains me to say it but you have to know which clients and matters are most profitable to you. The matters you like, or matters that are most popular, might not be the ones making you money. Crazy, huh? This is the time to reach out to your accountant (a financial team-accountant, bookkeeper and wealth planner- are essential if you want to scale).
I’ll admit that I’m numberphobic like most lawyers. But, metrics can be sexy y’all. Know your realization and utilization rates. (realization is how much you actually collect while utilization is how many hours actually billed). Improving these rates just takes a few tweaks and your bottomline will reward you. Know the cost of acquiring a new client because that impacts what you can spend on marketing.
Of course, these aren’t the only factors that go into generating 6 figures in your law practice. How did you reach the number? Do you have a different measure for success? Inquiring minds want to know.