Building a $1-million Law Practice

Do you have what it takes to build a $1 million law practice?

As law firms become more business focused in response to economic, technological and other market forces impacting the practice of law, the ability to generate business is increasingly important.

Whether it’s $1 million, $10 million, or $250,000, most of us have a number that signifies success. Many lawyers don’t achieve this number because they lack the tools to do so or mistake financial return for purpose.

Numbers are important. They make goals tangible and provide metrics for measuring progress. But numbers alone are not good enough. There must be a business vision and a defined plan behind the number to achieve success.

Why do you do what you do?

A number is a great metric, but it is not your business purpose. Understanding why you do what you do provides the vision, values and motivation for reaching your goals.

Many people – including myself at one time – have underestimated the value of defining their purpose. They have mistaken their number for their why, making their quest for money passionless at best and unsustainable at worse.

The most successful lawyers have a defined reason for choosing the law as a profession and are able to use that motivation to achieve financial rewards.

What will you do to you achieve your business purpose?

To achieve your business purpose you need a means to do so. At a very tactical level, your “what” is the legal work you do in exchange for money. But there are strategic considerations as well.

From an internal standpoint, you need to determine what you need to do to reach your revenue goals:

  • How many matters do you need?
  • How many clients do you need?
  • What resources and processes do you need to provide these services?

From an external standpoint, you need be able to identify and leverage business opportunities. This requires an understanding of a number of factors:

  • How much demand exists for what you do?
  • Who needs these services?
  • How much are these services worth?
  • Who else provides these services and how are you different?

The analysis will depend on the environment in which you work. There are different issues depending on whether you are a senior partner, a mid-level associate, or a solo practitioner. Yet armed with the right insight, you can realistically assess whether your number is attainable and, if not, adjust accordingly.

How will you do it?

This is the roadmap for achieving your purpose. The roadmap includes systems and processes that will allow you accomplish your “what” in an efficient and profitable way. Internally, you need an organizational plan that will allow you to provide your services efficiently and profitably. Externally, you need a marketing and business development plan that will drive business to you.

And then you have to take action. This is the hard part, but when you understand why and know exactly what you need to do, reaching your number not only becomes possible, it is achievable.

Posted on January 5, 2013 in Business Development, General, Law Firm Management, Marketing, Practice Group Development

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