Context is King

By October 12, 2020October 13th, 2020Approach, mindset, Operations

The modern world constantly hijacks our attention and keeps us from focusing on important things. Like how to best improve our law practice, for example.

So here’s something important to realize about focus…

Focusing on one thing means you can’t easily detect other things, even if it’s something strange that normally would be super obvious.

This why we often lose sight of the most important things and wind up making bad decisions.

Your Law Practice

So how does this relate to improving your law practice?

Well, when you stop and think about it, you can easily understand that your practice is a small business that has many component parts.

Some of the parts are more important than others. And some of the small parts are more important than some of the big ones (i.e. the more obvious ones).

So it’s important to remember at all times that…

When you focus closely on one part of your business you’re (necessarily) not focused on the other parts.

Smiling Faces

People who want to sell you services or products related to your law practice have a much better chance of getting you to buy when they can get you to ignore all the other parts of your business and focus on only what they sell.

This doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, because in most cases their “focus steering” is not a conscious, malicious attempt to divert you from maintaining proper perspective.

But it doesn’t matter what their true intentions are, does it?

If something causes you to focus in on something trivial and lose sight of something more important as you’re making an important decision…

Well, that’s bad for you.

Common Misjudgments

So, what are some concrete examples of important decisions that get mishandled?

Let’s consider technology decisions.

Have you ever bought some kind of software that you expected would make a huge difference in your practice, and then later regret making that decision?

This is what I call “shiny object syndrome.” And I see a lot of lawyers get tripped up by it.

How about marketing your practice?

What are the best ways for you to attract the kind of clients you most want to work with?

Can technology help you in some way? And if so, how?

These are the kind of questions you should be asking when there aren’t any consultants or sales people directing your attention to some product or service that they sell.

Because those folks do not care about the big picture in your law firm.

You alone are the one who cares.

And you’re the only one who can control of your attention and keep it focused on the most important elements of your business.

Brutal Truth Time

Here’s a brutal truth I learned the hard way.

A lot of people say they care about helping lawyers use technology to improve their practices, but they don’t.

And a lot of folks think they help lawyers better understand technology, but they don’t.

And a lot of folks think they can help lawyers better market their practices, but they can’t.

The sad truth is, very few people know enough and care enough about you and your important business goals.

Or, as George Carlin once observed…

“If a man smiles all the time, he’s probably selling something that doesn’t work.”

Bottom line

If you want your business to work well, you’ll have to avoid a lot of smiling faces. You need to learn to better manage your attention.

You need to maintain the right balance between focusing in and zooming out.

So, make sure you fully appreciate the Tetris-like element of running a small business.

And when it comes to marketing your practice, it helps to remember that referral marketing is always the best way to get great clients.


P.S. If you’re tired of chasing “shiny objects,” (and are ready to make some key changes so your practice becomes much easier to manage), download my Solo & Small Firm Lawyers’ Guide to Working Smarter. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re willing to be thoughtful and patient as you work on your practice, it might be right for you.

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