It is often (or always) the career objective of those in any professional endeavor to make the most money with the least financial exposure possible. However, the inherent flaw among too many of those engaged in any independent business venture is the lack of foresight in comprehending that short term financial outlay is the only means by which to secure long term financial gains.
Law schools nationwide train lawyers too think like “lawyers.” While this may indeed be a positive when engaged in legal related facets of life, this law school culture of professionalism too often fails in preparing lawyers to meet real world financial objectives.
Too many law graduates and academic professors overlook the reality that a trained professional’s ability to practice their trade is more and more reliant upon their own abilities to secure clients willing to compensate them for their perceived value.
“Perceived Value.” It is a phrase that too many of those lawyers seeking my advice must learn. While in years past mere academic success could lead to lifetime law firm security, in today’s social media age, the public’s ability to acquire information formerly accessible only to professionals has mandated that “legal professionals” think like entrepreneurs in order to survive.
Your perceived value as a legal professional may in fact measure up to your actual value. However, if not marketed to the public properly your financial value as an american attorney will never equal your actual abilities.
Whether in defense law, personal injury law, etc.. how often have we as lawyers looked with chagrin at “hack” lawyers on television commercials and billboards sullying the reputation of our profession. I am not immune to these feelings that I believe have, in fact, lowered the public perception of lawyers as individuals more concerned with chasing the almighty dollar than using professional skills to aid in the betterment of people’s lives.
Whether we choose to ignore this reality or not, the marketing of the legal profession is not going away. Those lawyers who obstinately choose to remain on the sidelines out of principal, or failure to understand business and prudent financial business strategy will inevitably suffer significant financial losses, or an inability to practice their trained profession entirely.
On to many occasions I have witnessed good and decent lawyers both well trained and highly competent be driven from the legal profession. Of course the reasons for such individuals leaving the practice of law are varied, yet the inescapable reality for many is that student loans, household financial obligations and time spent away from family are all contributing factors toward disenchantment with the practice of law.
Many leaving the legal profession simply do not have a choice. How absurd is the present state of the american legal system that those who have taken pains to mortgage their futures through student loans ultimately find no financial value for their legal training. Does it have to be this way? No. Unfortunately, for far too many unsuccessful lawyers there has been no way out of their respective financial quagmires.
Whether the solutions I have to offer prove relevant to your individual talents and/or training is a question that no one but yourself can answer.
For many lawyers trained and dedicated to fields of law for which direct mail strategies can be of little assistance I offer my understanding of your circumstances but can provide little actionable help. For such individuals a determination will need to be made as to whether law is a continued pursuit worthy of your efforts, or whether you must refocus your targeted legal practice. While such a statement may sound dire, a real world recognition of the continued viability of a legal practice must be undertaken sooner rather than later.
Those lawyers complaining as to the financial state of their legal practice are doing little more than commiserating with other unsuccessful individuals most of whom are probably on the same road to financial ruin. Don’t allow yourself to become another attorney throwing more and more money into scatter shot wastes of financial resources (high rise office space, hotshot associate attorneys who do not bring in new revenue, legal networking associations, yellow page or internet advertising, etc.) in a misguided attempt to save a law practice.
When we engage our collective efforts together it cannot be said that you did not have an actionable understanding as to how to make the practice of law work for you. Whether you choose to act on this information and/or refocus an existing practice on fields of law more susceptible to direct mail success will be up to you.