It’s perfectly natural that if we don’t know how to do something we otherwise think might be a good thing to do, we tend to delay doing it. We don’t want to risk screwing up, we don’t want to feel like we’re wasting time, or we don’t marshal the necessary resources to help us get it done properly.
Yet, according to the quote commonly attributed to Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Genius? Magic? Maybe not. But power? Yes, definitely.
Here are four actual examples of attorneys who, in the last 90 days, took significant action to improve or grow their practices. None of them knew exactly how to do it at first, or how the experience was going to unfold as they went along, but that didn’t stop them. (Every detail is you’re about to read is true.)
1. In response to a memo on rate freezes from the GC of a Fortune 1000 company, this business litigation attorney began researching alternative billing arrangements – flat fees, phased pricing, etc He analyzed his four years of work for the company by matter type, fees billed/collected, and time recorded and got the Assistant GC to do the same. They’re now negotiating a true win-win fee agreement that the AGC hopes to promote as a model throughout the entire company’s legal department.
2. During an in-house marketing meeting among partners, a veteran Trusts and Estates attorney asks a typically (and understandably) skeptical question about LinkedIn (the social networking platform for professionals): “What’s it good for? Why bother, since lawyers don’t actually get work” from this kind of networking tactic de jour. But later that afternoon, he creates the simplest of profiles, follows the directions on how to invite his Outlook contacts to “join his network,” and within a few hours gets a call from one of those contacts requesting that he review her estate plan.
3. After years of tolerating less-than-optimized communication among his firm’s team of paralegals and admin personnel, this medical malpractice attorney convenes a meeting with his partner and the entire staff to clarify roles and responsibilities, design better case flow rules, and set up regular meetings to improve calendaring and overall communication. His staff thanks him profusely, and his partner actually gives him a hug in an expression of gratitude.
4. Having collected over 1,200 prospect and referral source email addresses over the years at seminars, networking meetings, conventions, associations, etc., this niched litigation shop outsourced the creation of an email marketing program involving the design of a newsletter template (for which the lawyers write content) and the establishment of an IContact account (the same email program SuccessTips uses). Within three days of sending out the inaugural edition of their newsletter as part of an “opt-in” invitation to subscribe, over 100 recipients have signed up for their newsletter.
Think about one area in which you could improve your practice or your firm if you were confident that you’d be able to accomplish it well. Stop procrastinating on it. You don’t need to know everything about how to do it. Take the first step and figure it out from there. Your boldness will pay off.