Grow or Die – Where Will Your Law Practice Be in 5 Years?

Whether you’re in a solo law practice or part of a bigger firm, developing new client cases are critical to your future success. A profitable law business extends well beyond knowing your law area inside and out. You need to have a head for business, as well. And if you lack that business knowledge, your law practice can tread water or, worse yet, quickly and quietly disappear before you realize it’s happened.

The Game Has Changed! How Come I’m Not on the First Page of Google? Oh, I need a website.

The law industry is more competitive than ever. You’re not competing with other lawyers in your local area from the yellow-page days. You’re competing with vast geographic locations in and out of state, seriously deep pockets and teams of support — strategists (internet geeks) who stay on top of the almost daily changes in technology and trends like SEO, PPC, SEM, SSL, organic search and local packs, citation building and backlinks, cache, blogs, schema, retargeting and geo-fencing. What the heck is all of that and how come I’m not on the first page of Google? Technology is great until you have to know it, inside and out. It’s a whole new language and playbook. If you’re not doing it, your competition is.

Co-owners, Attorney Juliane Soprano, and Marketing Consultant Lori Pinard quickly discovered a need on the professional side of the industry and decided to do something to fulfill that need. The pair launched their Plymouth, Massachusetts-based consulting service, Enterprise Legal Consultants, with the goal of helping other lawyers run and grow a successful law business.

On Your Own

Pinard and Soprano, who have worked together for almost a decade, have often discussed how difficult it is to start out on your own in the practice of law. Based on a 5-year model created for the growth and expansion of the Law Offices of Juliane Soprano, together they built her solo practice to a three-office, multi-staffed, seven-figure firm.

“I worked for another firm for five years and when it basically imploded, I knew I had to start my own practice,” Soprano said. “It was scary – when I had time to be scared. You don’t have any time when you’re working like that – 70 hours, seven days a week, as many lawyers do. You don’t get to look up and say, ‘this is where I want to be,’ which is why most lawyers end up hating it and want out. But they can’t find the way out. It’s like being trapped in a labyrinth, where they can barely get above it and see the way out. They have to be looking up and thinking, ‘where am I going next?’ That’s something that we bring to them – the knowledge of how it’s done and which way to go. I had to figure that out for myself. I didn’t want anyone to have to go through that.”

Advertising?

“When I started out it was just past the point of being illegal to advertise in the legal industry. It took me 15 years and a boatload of money, and it still wasn’t until I met Lori that I realized I could cost-effectively create my own brand, attract specific clients and grow a thriving, sustaining practice. You can too! And you can do it stylishly and skillfully, steadily or swiftly. But, you need to commit, invest and take action every single day,” claims Soprano.
Pinard adds, “You don’t need a massive budget or an MBA, but you do need to focus on the business end consistently and progressively over time. We hear over and over, I don’t have time, most of my business comes from referrals or I can’t afford to advertise. Well, the competition has ‘made time’, created a budget and knows 80 percent of word-of-mouth referrals still check you out online.”

“Furthermore, the question is not whether to advertise, but how much and where you advertise, and a whole lot more! Although the lion share of our services is marketing related (fun!), we handle more than advertising and websites, we do what is individually necessary for each client’s distinct situation with a targeted approach and measured outcomes. Our consulting and coaching services set our clients apart and cover every aspect of business operations (i.e. human resources, accounting, and finance). There’s no perfect answer, just start and move forward.” But how?

How to Grow a Successful Law Firm

According to Soprano and Pinard, lawyers keep telling themselves they can do everything by themselves. That’s a problem, they said. The attorneys who are making the most money are not necessarily the supreme lawyers. The successful ones have gotten the business side of it down. They know how to rely on industry authorities, no different than clients rely on attorneys for legal expertise. Pro-se is passé.

Pinard and Soprano’s typical clients are lawyers who’ve been in practice for about a decade, allocate a budget and are willing to engage and make decisions about the business. If you do nothing, you’ll get nothing, the pair said. This is where Enterprise Legal Consultants can turn things around.

“What we do, we can do for any lawyer,” Soprano said. “Every business needs clients. Every business needs customers. It’s very simple; it’s just in a legal context. Most business is the same. If you don’t get beyond production mode (meaning, you’re the person who is producing the asset), your business is never going to grow, because there is only so much that you, yourself, is ever going to be able to produce. The laws of physics dictate that there are only so many hours in the day, and until you move from the role of the producer to the overseer, you will eventually drive yourself out of business.”

Pinard explained, “some attorneys hire us as an outsourced arm of their company to handle each and every aspect of their law business. Others hire us to handle specific projects or coach them on what they need to know, and then hold them accountable for achieving it.” For example, they now offer a video-conference course for small groups of attorneys that meet online for a maximum of 30-45 minutes once a week, in 12-week progressive segments. Attorneys can only join at the start of a new 12-week session but can choose to participate in one, two or all three segments throughout the year as budget and time permits. They cover six topics per segment. One week they’ll cover a business topic and assign accountability goals. The following week they’ll review what was accomplished (or not), what they can change or improve, and what results to measure. There are strict rules (i.e. you can only miss 2 sessions, and there are no refunds unless you meet the 100-percent limited guarantee), space is limited, and participants can tune in by audio or video from their phone or computer. The group is led by Pinard and/or Soprano with occasional guest experts and the class learns from each other. It’s an interactive but affordable platform for a minimal investment.

Win-Win

“We are a rare duo. With Juliane as the attorney, and me as the marketing advisor, we offer a unique perspective,” said Pinard. “Juliane brings credibility, comradery, and reassurance to the playing field. She speaks their language. I can talk about SEO till I’m blue in the face but, when she explains it, they understand it. They’re her tribe. We provide a blueprint and a fair chance. We deliver gainful results. Our mission is simple, to help others achieve success. Contrary to most legal win-lose outcomes, our business is your business, a win-win.

To get more information, or if you have any questions about what Enterprise Legal Consultants can do for your law business, visit enterpriselegalconsultants.com or call 844-411-ATTY, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you about where you are and how to get to the next step. SIGN UP HERE for a free 20-minute Pick My Brains Consultation.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.



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