In the current climate, a number of attorneys are opting for delayed retirement, if they retire at all. On the other hand, there are a few others who abandon the practice of law for many reasons, be it personal issues, health, incapacity, or death.
As the baby boomer generation is slowly exiting and retirement is nigh, succession planning is an issue that has become all the more important for many firms and their attorneys. The truth is, even the most qualified attorneys find it challenging to build and grow a successful legal practice.
A survey conducted by the American Bar Association reported that approximately 1.3 million admitted attorneys exist in the United States. The figure is nothing to joke about, so imagine the competition that each attorney is facing.
If you’re an attorney or someone who just completed law school looking forward to growing your legal practice in 2018, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Before hurling yourself into the unfriendly pit of legal practice, think where your practice could go and what will happen when it grows. The possibilities are endless, but you have to make sure the basics are covered. Figure out if you need partners or you want to go solo, the practice area you’d like to offer, and the clients you’d entertain.
How Will You Reach Your Destination?
Building and growing require a lot of patience because you’ll have to take tiny steps. Do you need additional training? What location do you need to be in? What opportunities are there to grab? Do you need to add more practice areas?
Who Will Help You Reach Your Destination?
The adage “No man is an island” has become so overused that people don’t take it seriously anymore. When it comes to legal practice, however, this saying will take you places. You’ll need the help of people — connections that will help you reach your goals.
It could be anyone, really. Your teachers, staff in your old school, legal marketing firms, bankers, accountants, or contractors — anyone can help contribute to your goals, even other attorneys. While it’s easy to think of them as rivals, there are opportunities when you establish connections among other firms. Other attorneys can be your source of clients, specifically those outside their areas of expertise.
What Does Success Mean to You?
There are many definitions of success, and each answer is valid as long as it makes a person happy and contended. To people in the legal practice, success could mean happy clients who’ll refer you to friends and family. It could also mean getting your own office and slowly build a firm or become a legal practitioner for celebrities.
Define what success is to you. Only then will you be able to measure it.
Where Are Your Right Now?
While it’s true that new practitioners mostly have the toughest and roughest time, those who have been in practice long enough may be in this situation, too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re merely starting out or you’ve been in the scene for a decade or two. If you go blindly without a business plan, you won’t go anywhere.
Having a business plan helps you reach your goals, no matter what it may be. Every time you have to make a decision, ask yourself: “Will this take me towards my goal or am I moving farther away from it?”
That question, despite its simplicity, will actually make decision-making easier. You hold the power to do anything you want to do. And if you need more info on growing your legal practice, don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll be surprised by the amount of people and resources ready to help you.