“Twenty years from now you will be more
disappointed by the things you did not do than by
the ones you did. So… sail away from the safe
harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) Better known by his pen name,
There are two attorneys from Colorado.
Both went to the same law school at the University of Colorado Boulder.
They had similar backgrounds and a lot of people would mistake them for brothers.
As far as people could judge, their prospects out in the world were equally good.
One of them amassed a fortune and became the most successful lawyer in the state.
The other one went broke a couple of years ago. He has had “hard luck” the family explains. He “never seemed to catch hold after law school”.
The successful attorney didn’t seem to have the same problem. He simply sailed his way to the top. Everything he touched turned into an instant success.
I spoke to this successful attorney (who wanted to remain anonymous) and asked him about his secret to success.
Before he even spoke I almost knew what he was going to say, word for word.
Generating 1.5 million leads for attorneys of various levels has allowed me to gain access to some of the most successful lawyers in America.
And there seems to be a single common thread that binds them.
Even if they don’t know about one another, the most successful lawyers all have something in common.
They stick to a set of ‘rules’ or a ‘blueprint’ of sorts. This blueprint is pretty much the same every single time.
Even brand-new attorneys, fresh out of law school, can turn themselves into a huge success if they follow the principles outlined here.
Unfortunately, there is a chasm.
A huge and expanding chasm between the super successful attorneys, and the ones ‘just getting by’.
Even attorneys pulling in $500,000 – $2million per year have more room for growth than they can possibly imagine.
I am talking about the super-attorneys. The ones who seem to have more free time, more success, and more golf practice than anyone else.
This will be true, even during the coming waves of change, because they understand that there are only two ways to grow your law firm.
And when pursuing growth, they have a relentless focus on those two things.
Get more income from existing clients.
Get more clients.
Those are truly the only two ways to grow your law firm. However, there are some inherent problems with growth.
Let’s take the first one: Get more income from existing clients.
The logic is simple.
If each client paid you more, then your income will grow.
There is no disputing it.
However, I’m sure you see the problem staring us all in the face.
We’ve already established that attorneys are expensive for average Americans, and fees have risen over time much faster than inflation.
Is raising our fees really the answer?
No, not necessarily. Let me quickly demonstrate one way you could increase your income from existing clients.
In 1904 there were 175 cars sold in America.
The cheapest car at the time was the Ford Model A, at $800.
The average American earned $200-400 per year. So, the cheapest car was well outside of their price range.
The car industry back then, faced the same problem the legal industry does now.
Yet, the new manufacturing methods meant that more cars had to be sold.
The dealerships had two options.
Get all the cash up front, or
Extend terms and take on the risk themselves.
A few years later a man called William Durant, the co-founder of General Motors, came up with a great idea.
He would finance the cars to the dealers, who then would finance them to customers.
In 1919, he opened the first branch of the General Motors Acceptance Corp. and by 1928, less than ten years later, they had financed over 4 million cars.
That’s a far cry from the first 175 in 1904.
The car industry grew enormous and created some of the wealthiest men in the world.
Cheap cars and expensive cars became affordable to most people.
The manufacturers, like Ford and GM, are the same as the legal system.
The dealerships are the same as the law firms.
The legal system is putting out the product, and the law office is helping clients to use get hold of the product and use it.
The car industry, like many others, used financing to grow. And the same is happening in the legal industry.
Up until recently, attorneys could not offer financing to their clients. The process was complicated and a lot of the time it violated bar rules.
However, it is now possible to both raise your fees, become more affordable, and get all of the cash for your services up front.
All without breaking bar rules.
The attorneys who are taking advantage of this new way of servicing clients have reaped the rewards.
In another article I’ll get into the specifics, however, let me demonstrate how this increases the income you gain from existing clients.
When you extend terms as an attorney you try to get as much up front as possible. A lot of the time this will be 50%.
The rest of the payments will come in instalments.
You have no guarantees that the full amount will get paid. You cannot take legal action against a client for not paying.
To add insult to injury, your insurance company will also hit back.
According to L Squared Insurance, if you did go after clients for not paying fees, you would face higher malpractice insurance premiums.
I asked several attorneys how many of the clients they extend terms to honor them fully.
So far, the total is a staggeringly low 25%.
Now imagine this scenario.
The client walks through your door and they pay you everything up front.
They get to pay small monthly instalments to a finance company, while you get to work knowing that the money is safely in your bank account.
All of the sudden you’ll find yourself with more cash, higher income, and a better clients relationship without having raised your fees.
The bar approves of this method, and insurance companies won’t raise your premiums.
Like I said, I will explain how this is possible in detail in later articles.
For now, my point is this. Super attorneys up and down America are deploying these very tactics to outmaneuver the average law office.
They are razor focused on the only two ways to grow your law firm.
One of these attorneys, who I have had the great privilege of working closely with, explains it best.
His name is Zaid Abdullah, and he is fast becoming one hell of a successful super attorney.
He runs an incredible firm in Illinois. The last time I spoke to him he told me this:
“My comfort level is through the roof. I mean, you know, you still got to work hard, you got to still push more. And as you grow your expenses grow, and you have to grow your revenue. I mean, it’s always a battle of growing the revenue, but the fact that I know that I have money coming at the end of the month, that I know my bills are going to be paid, I can give my family whatever they want. I mean it gives me a comfort level through the roof.My legal work is better than before because, you know, I don’t have too many financial issues.”
Now that you know what the super attorney focusses on, you can join them.