We think Yogi Berra had it right: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” That’s why we encourage you to have a law firm marketing plan and well-defined goals. This strategic planning is necessary for any successful professional business or practice, regardless of size or sector. Maybe 2017 will be the year that you’ll visit our offices for a strategic planning retreat, when you’ll dedicate a solid block of time and your full attention to figuring out where you want to go next.
Setting goals for the quarter or the year doesn’t happen in a vacuum. How do you measure success? In some firms, it is in the number of people who come to your office and become clients. For others, it is a mixture of the number of matters and billable hours. Others count only billable hours, especially if theirs is a litigation-oriented practice.
What is your goal for your practice and your personal life? One attorney came to us because he wanted to have a law firm that made more money than any other estate planning attorney in his town. That was important to him. Others are concerned with striking a balance between a healthy law practice and being active in their professional community. There’s more variety than you might expect in what law firm leaders what to achieve, but without articulating these goals, it’s awfully hard to get there.
What do you want from your partners/colleagues/paralegals/admins? If you are surrounded by a dedicated team, that’s terrific. They have goals also. Are they with you for the long haul, as your office is a perfect fit with their lifestyle, or will they take years of training with them when they leave for greener pastures or retirement?
What do your clients want/expect from you and your practice? Are they “trained” to expect to hear from you throughout the year, either by snail mail or email blasts that arrive more than once a year? Do they see your name in the local newspaper, giving a presentation or heading up a local not-for-profit? Could this be the year that you distinguish yourself from other estate planning attorneys by raising your public profile? If so, how do you plan on doing that? Can you do it with your current staff, or do you need additional help?
These are just a few of the issues that are clarified on the way to developing a strategic plan. One thing we know for sure: every lawyer and every law practice is different, but they all benefit from having a plan in place!