You can’t accuse Amie of having an easy entry into the field of law.
During her first year at law school, she was diagnosed with cancer. And, later on, she found out she was pregnant and gave birth to her son. She eventually finished law school in 2011, meaning she entered one of the worst law job markets in history.
It was so bad, in fact, that she ended up putting her legal career on hold, taking a tech job with no exposure to law. A new mother, she didn’t have a choice – her family needed her income.
It was during this time that she realized, something wasn’t right. Despite the relative safety and abundance of her $150,000-per-year salary, the corporate career path was not for her.
“Enough Is Enough”
Lingering in the background for her was an almost constant pull toward something greater – something she could be proud to show her son someday. Not to mention the long hours and strict time-off policies which kept her away from home.
Amie set her sights on returning to the law field, with renewed vigour – she was going to start her own practice and do things the right way.
She took the bar in 2012 and began taking a few cases on the side, in order to stockpile some start-up funds. Eventually this caseload grew enough to where she switched over to part-time at her job.
By early 2014, she felt ready. Amie took the leap and launched her own practice full-time. She expected her $10,000 of seed money to be more than adequate.
“I’ll start making tons of money,
because I’m a lawyer and that’s just what we do…”
Anyone who has started his or her own practice knows how painfully wrong this statement is. Amy found out herself before too long.
In her first year, she could safely be described as a “Door Lawyer.” This is what we call those attorneys who will take any case that walks in the door. Could be divorce, real estate, bankruptcy, immigration… It doesn’t matter.
For Door Lawyers, money is so tight, and the future is so uncertain that they have no choice. They must say yes to everything.
The tragic flaw of the Door Lawyer, as Amie also found out, is they never truly find their footing. They’re always hustling, in catch-up mode, learning and researching new areas of the law – catering to whoever walked in that particular week.
Not only do they work harder and longer hours, they never truly build a solid reputation as the go-to lawyer for a particular practice area. And without a solid reputation, they have trouble justifying their fees.
For Amie, this manifested in compromising over her fees – in almost every case.
“I worked so much harder that year
than I had ever worked in corporate America.”
For all her hard work and sacrifice, what did Amie bring in that first year?
After jumping ship from her $150,000-a-year corporate job to starting her own practice, she knew it would be a step-down. But how much did she actually bill that first year?
By her count – $40,000. (That’s revenue, not profits.)
Imagine that… after paying expenses, you can bet that annual revenue number was cut in half, or even less – surely not enough to support her family.
Amie’s Turning Point: Here’s What Came Next
Amie knew this lifestyle couldn’t continue. Not only was she not having the kind of meaningful impact on the world that she wanted – she also not able to support her family, nor was she able to spend time with son.
“Everything that I had learned in law school was just, at this point, completely worthless because I still didn’t know how to run a business. I had no clue how to charge money and market myself and any of that. I didn’t know how to do any of that when I first started.”
“So I really seriously considered, multiple times, going back to the corporate world and it was really hard to resist that because I could have easily done that.”
That was Amie in late 2014.
Today, Amie is a different person. Here are some of her stats:
- Amy reinvented her practice, focusing solely on estate planning, utilizing our systems, materials, and coaching.
- After scraping by, she was able to quadruple her income in 2015 to $160,000
- Every day, she works with clients who she absolutely loves…
- …And who love her back (ask her about the handmade dream-catcher she received as a gift!)
- She works 4 days per week in the office
- She and her family just bought a new home (with a pool!)
- She spends more time with her family than ever before
- She’s on track to bring in $300,000-$400,000 in 2016
- She’s now starting to coach other business owners on how to shift their own relationship to time, money, and how they get paid.
Alexis here. These are the kinds of transformations and reinventions I live for. To see a truly liberated lawyer with big visions and dreams of better lives for their clients, communities and their own families.
Would you like to learn more on how you, too, can re-invent your practice and lifestyle?
Would you like to hear more about Amie’s story? You can listen to her full interview here.