Law practice management can be defined as that set of skills necessary to run a successful and profitable law firm. It is a set of skills not taught in law school.
Law practice management encompasses everything from leadership to time management (read: self-management); from leveraging technology to developing your staff; from marketing to really understanding your finances. The good news is – these skills can be learned. All it takes is a commitment to do the work necessary. But before you can begin to learn the skills, you have to understand the three roles of all successful law firm leaders.
In his book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber explains the three roles all successful business owners must play: Technician, Manager and Entrepreneur.
- Technician. The technician is the “doer.” Most lawyers love the role of technician. The technician does the work of the law. The technician is happiest when he can just focus on the work. The problem is “focusing on the work,” is the problem. A law firm cannot survive by simply focusing on the work.
- Manager. The manager focuses on the day-to-day operations of the firm. Most lawyers hate this role. But without the manager, there would be no business.
- Entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is the visionary, the leader. This is the most important of the three roles. Ironically, it is the role that most lawyers know little or nothing about. The entrepreneur sees the law firm as a system for producing stellar client service – resulting in profit.
Real Life Practice Coaching NOW
According to Gerber, “the Entrepreneurial Perspective starts with a picture of a well-defined future, then comes back to the present with the intention of changing it to match the vision.” That is essentially the focus of coaching. In order to create the life and law practice that you want, you must create a clear picture of your future, then begin today to change your reality to match your picture. Here are three things you can do right now to nurture your inner entrepreneur.
- Take an afternoon to create a vision for your life and your firm. Get crystal clear about exactly what you want from your firm and your life. Write it down.
- Block time each week to work on the business of your law practice. If you’re a sole practitioner or partner, this work will include planning, marketing, and developing your staff. And if you’re an associate…the work will be the same.
- Develop your leadership skills. Successful business owners and entrepreneurs are committed to continuous improvement, both personally and professionally. Commit to doing what it takes to become a better leader for your people.
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