Her six-lawyer firm represents clients in all phases of domestic relations matters using a unique business strategy aimed at providing clients with top-notch legal representation by maximizing her lawyers’ strongest attributes and expertise. Williams, who has been practicing law for 14 years, opened her firm in 2013. Since then, the firm has grown a whopping 856%.
Just how did Williams accomplish such an incredible feat? “I did it by working with law and business coaches, all day, every day,” she says. By studying with business coaches, Williams learned the six aspects of business specific to running a successful law practice. Those strategies are:
- Work Processes
- Financial Control
- Physical Location
Due to her intensive immersion in learning these entrepreneurial concerns, Williams says her new way of thinking is “a lifestyle, not just a job.” When a prospective client attends an initial consultation at Williams’ law firm, they meet with the firm’s Director of Client Engagement, not an attorney.
The director gleans crucial facts about the prospect’s situation to determine which of the firm’s lawyers would be the best match for their legal needs. For example, explains Williams, if a client’s most pressing needs are financial, they are paired with a lawyer whose strong suit is sorting monetary matters. However, because domestic relations cases often pose various challenges, “the client belongs to the firm” and not any one lawyer, she says.
That way, the attorney on staff whose expertise best fulfills the client’s needs at any one time works on that aspect of the case as opposed to one lawyer handling an entire case from start to finish. This strategy emphasizes strong customer service while striving to earn the maximum financial return for the firm, she says.
Williams says she experienced an epiphany while studying about running a successful law practice from her business mentors. “I decided there is a need for lawyers to learn new aspects of running a practice but it’s not a one-size-fits-all method,” she says. As such, Williams is embarking on a new venture designed to educate attorneys about her revolutionary approach to providing legal services.
On February 15, Williams will be offering the first of her monthly webinars designed to teach lawyers how to run their law practices more efficiently, effectively and profitably. She will implement the techniques gleaned through her years of study and act as a mentor to lawyers looking to change the way they do business.
Former Lawyer Envisions Law Firm Culture Shift
Although he practiced law for only two years, the legal profession has been at the core of David H. Freeman’s career for more than a quarter century. Over those years, Freeman has been involved in law firm business development, coaching and training.
“Business development is something lawyers haven’t generally mastered. We need to ask ourselves, ‘What are the skills I need to build a solid book of business?’” poses Freeman. In order to expand the reach of their law practices, lawyers should ask themselves questions such as:
- Where are the people I want to represent?
- What do they read?
- Where do they go?
- What can I do to position myself so when people have legal needs I can fulfill, they think of me first?
To that end, Freeman has developed a new breed of software designed to educate attorneys about what he calls the ‘cross-serving’ (aka cross-selling) of legal services. The ideal prospects for this technology are medium to large-size law firms whose legal team offers a gamut of legal services, albeit by specialty.
Cross-serving is a mindset designed to educate lawyers about how to recognize when a client’s legal needs bleed into the specialty areas of other attorneys within a firm. An attorney can be either a Receiving Lawyer or a Giving Lawyer. A Receiving Lawyer seeks to counsel a firm’s existing client when their legal needs extend beyond the specialty of the client’s current lawyer. A Giving Lawyer is an attorney who recognizes a client’s needs would be better served by colleague with that expertise, so, in essence, they ‘give’ the client to that more experienced attorney.
There is an eight-step process for Receiving Lawyers and a 13-step process for Giving Lawyers, says Freeman, who has penned a best-selling book on the topic. Freeman’s Cross Serving technology is automated coaching “that transforms lawyers into rainmakers,” he says. The underlying premise of the software is that attorneys “have a lot of potential but they often get in their own way. They don’t know what to do and don’t follow through as they should, so by properly harnessing technology, they can consistently and efficiently pursue their best opportunities.”
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and freelance writer who Chairs the Marketing Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.