Ironically, it makes a lot of sense. You don’t know what you don’t know because you can’t know it. You can’t know about things you have yet to discover. The same is true when you go into business and decide to open your own law practice. You don’t know what you don’t know because you can’t know it. In business, it is not a good idea to make guesses – they can be costly.
Your knowledge is based entirely on your personal life experiences. What did you study in school? What did you learn at your job? Who have you networked with? What challenges have you faced and succeeded with? Did you learn from the challenges that did not work out so well? We tap into our past experience to guide us and base decisions on those experiences. Makes sense, right?
What do you know about billable hourly or flat fees? Do you know how to set up a billing protocol that ensures that clients are billed every month, trust accounts reconciled, sufficient funds to keep moving forward and calling clients to get paid before you get stuck holding the money bag? Does your retainer agreement protect you? Are you collecting costs from your client? Is someone making sure that flat fee clients who are on a payment plan are making their payments?
If you have a contingency practice, do you track client expenses? Keep a trust ledger? Pay all the people who need to get paid when a case settles and disburse all the monies properly, including your own fees and reimbursement of costs?
Do you have someone who can pull together all the administrative functions for the firm and make sure everything is running smoothly? Is someone on top of the website company and SEO people to make sure they are doing what are getting paid for? Are you getting your money’s worth or are you paying a lot of money for very little return? Is anyone following up on this?
Does someone collect fees, make deposits, pay bills, run P&L statements, do a budget (3 to 5 years out), do a cash flow analysis and make sure the firm is earning its cash flow projections? And if not, why not?
Are you using case management software to 110% of its capacity, or are you paying lots of money every month or year for a program to be used as glorified word processing?
We all remember the famous quote by Steve Jobs, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” This is true for all businesses including law firms.
And please – don’t be fooled by someone who is in finance trying to tell you how to manage the business of practicing law. Law firm management is not like running a soda company, or manufacturing plant. Even a financial person who has never run a law firm can’t help with anything else. There are a lot of areas including those involving Bar rules that require knowledge of the legal industry and how things work.
I have been in this profession for more than 30 years. I have an MBA with a specialty in finance and I can run circles around people who don’t have the actual hands-on experience but want to run your law firm. A lot of these “experts” charge a lot of money because that equates with someone who can do a good job, right?
Read my testimonials – you cannot pay for those. There is no amount of money that you can pay lawyers to write a testimonial that is not true.
Give me a call at 813-340-9569 and let’s talk about what “you don’t know that you don’t know”. You would be surprised at the things we can do to make your practice even more successful!!
And remember . . . never give up!!