Is your practice a happy one?

By August 17, 2018 August 20th, 2018 law, mindset, wisdom

Are you happy with your law practice?

It’s okay to admit it if you’re not. I wasn’t happy back in 2006 when I worked at the big firm.

I felt guilty back then whenever a thought popped in my head telling me I was unhappy.

After all, I was a full partner.

I made a lot of money and worked in a fancy office overlooking the Mississippi River.

My Fault

I felt like the problem had to be me. That made sense, right?

Something had changed. And I figured somehow it was my fault.

Early on in my career I was exhilarated by the practice of law.

Clerking for a federal trial judge was thrilling.

Learning to prepare a case for trial was electrifying. Going to trial was tantalizing.

But by 2006 it was a different story.

I was trapped in a tall building, surrounded by bureaucracy, mindlessly lumbering toward mediocrity one lame committee meeting at a time.

Or at least that’s how it felt.

Winds of Change Arrive

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 the entire city had to be rebooted.

Literally restarted. Because all the people had left, all the stores were closed, and all commerce had completely stopped.

That’s when I realized how dissatisfied I was.

(One hint: I was seriously thinking of just going back to being a waiter instead of practicing law).

Yeah, when you’re unhappy you can keep it under wraps as long as the world around you stays normal.

But as soon as big change sweeps in you starting thinking…

You know maybe I should try something radically different now.

After all, who’d notice?

Yes, Katrina gave me a lot of cover.

So I could start to wonder what it would be like if I went out on my own.

Leave the safety of a big firm?

Of course, it was terrifying. Even thinking about the logistics of starting a solo practice was scary.

However, I just didn’t think about the logic. I just focused on my massive frustration at being stuck in a job I HATED.

Don’t get me wrong.

I loved the people. And I appreciated very much all of the wonderful resources available to me in my big firm.

But I just didn’t like the way I was having to practice.

Massive overhead. Mindless bureaucracy. Ridiculous billable hour quotas.

And the tedious paper-pushing. The reluctance to embrace technology.

It was too much so I decided to leave the firm. And I remember the day and the moment like it was two minutes ago.

The moment of massive change

I was talking to my partner and friend. He was on the Compensation Committee and he was getting ready for the “allocate profits” meeting.

He wanted to give me a chance to make my best case for getting a good cut.

I couldn’t do it. I could not even bring myself to care.

Of course, I knew I couldn’t tell him that. So I thought for a few seconds and then told him I was planning to leave the firm.

This was basically a lie.

I mean I HAD been thinking about it, but not in a way that led me to summon an actual intention to leave.

But at that moment I summoned the intention and announced it to my friend.

He was concerned but I managed to convince him that I had been planning this for a long time.

Well he probably wasn’t convinced I had been planning for a long time.

But he was convinced that I was serious enough about leaving that it wasn’t worth trying to talk me out of it.

Is there a moral to this story?

What’s my point in telling you all of this?

Well, for one thing it’s to let you know that if there’s something that you don’t like about your practice…

It’s probably better not to wait for a hurricane or major catastrophe to spur you into action.

It worked out great for me, but I don’t think that it’s the best process for most people.

The better way

What’s better is if you get really clear on what kind of law practice you want. But even more important…

You need to get clear on what kind of life you want, and then create a practice that supports that life.

Two weeks ago I did something that was deeply satisfying. However, ten years ago I had no idea that this was even an option.

Hell, three years ago I had no idea.

Two weeks ago I was joined by my good friends Chelsey Lambert, Megan Graham, and Lexlee Overton and we put on a 2-day workshop for 10 small firm lawyers.

Total Transformation Workshop

We got to work closely with 10 lawyers who are happy with their practices. But they want to get more clients, better clients, and get them more easily.

Check out the 2-minute video below and you’ll get a good sense of why this event was so satisfying for everyone involved.

We’re going to do another one soon (Probably a few months)

One of the things that we’ll do is have folks fill out a Vision Quest Brainstorming Workbook.

It’s not necessary to fill that worksheet out to be able to market your practice well.

But it helps lawyers in deeper ways.

In ways that are more important than marketing.

So, download the workbook and let your mind roam.

See what dreams and aspirations are lurking in the cobwebs of your mind.

It can only help to find out.


And, when you’re ready…

Here are three ways I can help you with your practice:

  1. Check out my private Facebook Group, for lawyers ONLY. Lawyers can join for free and about 400+ solo and small firm lawyers just like you ask each other questions, bounce practice management ideas, and get encouragement)
  2. Listen to my LawFirm Autopilot podcast, available on iTunes. It’s specifically geared solo & small firm attorneys who want to leverage technology using a proven strategic blueprint.
  3. Sign up for my weekly emails (and get my free 10-page Technology Resource Guide).