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An important distinction

By December 4, 2018October 28th, 2020Law Firm Operations, law practice

Do you know the difference between an “investment” and an “expense”?

I don’t mean the dictionary definition. I mean the real world distinction.

What does it feel like to make an investment? Versus, what does it feel like to just spend money on an expense?

Most lawyers are running their practices by spending money. Very few are making investments.


Well, probably it’s because spending money requires less thought.

You have a problem and you think “well let’s throw some money at it and make it go away.”

For example, most solo and small firm lawyers don’t have enough clients coming in. They worry about meeting their monthly expenses.

I’m sure you can relate.

So what happens when a new prospect calls? Obviously, you take the case.

Later, it turns out that client was a royal pain in the ass. And worse: their legal problem isn’t even something you’re good at handling.

Why did you take the case?

You had a bad feeling about this client when they first came in to talk with you.

And yet you still took them on.


Because you are trapped in an “expense mindset” instead of an “investment mindset.”

What’s different when you use an investment mindset?


Because when you adopt an investment mindset you start to solve problems in a more powerful way.

For example, you’ll say to yourself “how can I set things up so I don’t have to take on cases I’m not adept at handling for clients I don’t like working with”?

That’s a powerful question. Because it leads to a powerful solution.

Because you start to focus on solving a larger, longer term problem.

And you’ll learn how to market your practice better. Which solves a HUGE problem.

You create a system and proceed methodically (as opposed to being haphazard).

You’ll trust your system as you first adopt it, and that enables you to reject cases you aren’t good at. The ones you don’t really enjoy working on.

You’d trust your new system because you’re invested in it.

You’d trust it, knowing (or at least believing) that rejecting clients you don’t like working with will pay off in the long run.

Now you’re thinking about your future, aren’t you?

You’re thinking that with a good system for getting better work and better clients you’ll be much, MUCH happier.


Now you’re willing to make the investment that it takes to make that happen.

The investment of time to figure out the right marketing system.

The investment of time and money to set it up so it runs with minimal involvement of your time on a day to day basis.

If you invest properly you can have your dream outcome.

Because investing is all about spending more time, more thought, and yes —more money— upfront.

An investment is an extra effort you make today that will create a better future tomorrow.

An expense is the opposite of that.

Most lawyers don’t improve their practices because they focus only on the here and now.

They focus only on immediate problems.

The problems that are fleeting and recurring.

To really address these recurring problems you need to look into the future.

You need to think bigger, bolder.

How do you do that?

Step #1: figure out what a brighter future looks like without the annoying and recurring problems.

What would your IDEAL future look like?

Step #2: figure out what investment do you need to make now to achieve that ideal future.

I’ll be honest. It’s not easy to figure out where to invest your time and money.

There are lots of seemingly good things you can spend money on.

But will the money you spend be an expense or an investment?

It’s usually hard to tell. Especially at first.

Stay focused and be persistent and you’ll find success.

If you need help get it. But, whatever you do, don’t give up!

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