Two conversations. Two very differently situated lawyers. One is a litigation partner at a large firm. The other has a transactional practice, and is a member of a three-person firm.
It’s as if they were both reading from the same exact script. That echoed similar sentiments of lawyers I’ve spoken with last week, and the week before, and six months ago …
“I don’t have time to do my actual work.”
“Between business development and administrative duties, I can’t sustain my billable hours.”
“I have to wear too many hats.”
Big law, small law. Litigator, transactional attorney. We all face the same dilemmas, don’t we?
We have to do our legal work, e.g. practice law. AND manage a business, e.g. manage people and processes. AND build the business, e.g. network and market.
What this looks like for each of us may vary, depending on how, where and what we practice. But the solution to our dilemma? The same.
Figure out where you can get the help and support to do the work that you don’t want to do, don’t have time to do, or aren’t good at.
You’ve (hopefully) figured out that a CPA is better-situated to handle your accounting and taxes. So you hire him to do these things.
So why are you writing content for your website or other digital assets? Or, even worse, you’re ignoring it. Along with many other opportunities to market yourself.
Or why are you constantly switching either (a) software/cloud applications (thinking that the next new thing will actually get the job done this time) or (b) staff (thinking that if you find just the right person, she can help you create and implement processes that will actually work this time).
For most lawyers, time is not well spent doing any of the above (along with a lot of other things).
I’m not suggesting that the same set of rules apply to all of us. A lawyer who is a really good writer (not legal writer — a writer writer) may actually do a better job of telling his or his firm’s story than a content writer with no legal background. But this is the exception, not the norm.
The solution is actually simple, though perhaps not easy: Figure out what you should be doing — and then find the resources to get the rest of the necessary stuff done by someone (or something) else.
It may be that technology and process can take over — for example, software that automates work, making it easier to convert from hourly to flat fee billing. You spend less time to produce a result that thrills your clients. Everyone is happy. Nice.
Or what about a system for soliciting feedback from happy clients, that gives you valuable information for improving client services and encourages and assists your clients in leaving positive feedback in places where it will have a measurable impact on your practice? This achieves a number of marketing and client development objectives, and can be completely automated.
The bottom line: no matter your practice area, there are many things you do — or should be doing — on a daily basis that can be delegated to another person, process, or technology.
The first steps are to perform a self-analysis, uncover the potential for delegation, and make the commitment to act.
So … GO! Do it. Analyze. And tell me what the first act of delegation is that you’re going to perform.