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How Being a Door Lawyer is Killing Your Chance at Success (Part 2)

RF open-door-1152770-mIn last week’s article I shared with you how taking every case that comes your way is hurting your law practice and your life.

I also shared with you how to build out your law practice business model, if you don’t want to give up the variety of working on many different types of things, but you still want to be able to use systems to take control of your calendar and only work with clients you love.

Today we’re going to mainly address the door lawyer who would really prefer less variety (but as promised, we’ve got your variety lovers covered, too).

Here’s where we talk about how to stop being a “door lawyer” and build out your law practice business model with a single, customizable practice area. This is the easiest way to create a practice where you work 4 days a week, make plenty of money and feel great about the work you are doing.  

After sharing an example practice area that lends itself perfectly to systems, I’ll cover which systems you should build and in what order.

For those of you who love the variety, you’ll develop these systems too in the same order, for each practice area you use to serve your clients, so read on and apply what I am sharing about systems to the law practice business model I shared in last week’s article.

Step One

RF bulls eye appleFirst and foremost, it starts with offering legal services in a practice area you love that also allows you to make a great living.

When my friend Martha Hartney graduated from law school, she was considering going into public service because she wanted to feel as if she was using her law degree to help people. But, she was also recently divorced, and needed to know she could support her children with her law degree.

When I suggested to her that estate planning may be exactly what she was looking for, she was resistant to the idea. Wills & Trusts class in law school had been so dry and boring. She wanted to help families who needed it, not just rich people who wanted to save money on their taxes.

I helped Martha see that she had estate planning all wrong and that, in fact, the way we do it at New Law Business Model, is exactly the opposite of dry and boring. It’s emotionally rich, and definitely not just for rich people.

The vast majority of the people we work with are regular folks who want their family to stay out of court and out of conflict. They are the people you already know, who want their families to feel well led and well loved, throughout life and beyond.

When Martha made the decision to learn to serve her community in this way, she stepped into a practice that gave her the best of all worlds — fulfillment, income, and control over her schedule (important for a single mom).

So, choosing a practice area that allows for that is the first key.

Step Two

problemOnce you have chosen a practice area that you really enjoy, your next step is learning to engage clients using a system.

Most lawyers don’t have systems. And when you are a “door lawyer” — taking anything that walks in the door — building systems is nearly impossible.

But when you have one practice area that you are focused on becoming an expert in (or one clear niche area you are committed to serving with multiple practice areas), you can build a system so that everyone who calls your office is taken through a process that has them excited to meet you.

You can give your initial meeting a name, a purpose and a value so that people want to come in and meet with you, prepared to hire you.

You can send out a pre-meeting package that speaks directly to what your prospects need, and gets them engaged in your process before they’ve ever met you in person or talked with you on the phone (unless you are doing the initial phone intake).

And, you can create a fee schedule and script your initial meeting, so it’s not just a “get to know you” meeting, but instead a meeting that is designed to provide value and lead your prospects into saying yes to hiring you, on the spot.

This is the beauty of a system, and why you can’t have one if you are a door lawyer.

Step Three

Once you’ve got your system for engaging clients nailed, you can then focus on educating your community (otherwise known as marketing). And when you have one specific practice area that you focus on (or one group of people you focus on serving deeply with multiple practice areas), you can become an expert — either on the practice area or on the people.

When you become an expert, you become an in-demand educator in your community, which happens via public talks, writing articles, publishing books and being known as THE go to lawyer in your community on your topic (either your practice area or the people you’ve chosen to serve).

As a door lawyer, you cannot be an expert.

Step Four

phoneOnce you’ve got systems in place for engaging clients, and for getting your phone ringing with prospects, now you’re ready to decide what you want your role in the business to be and begin to replace yourself in all roles you do not love doing.

You may choose to be the CEO of your law practice and do very little client work, having other lawyers work under you, using your systems. Or, you may decide you love the client work the most, and you’ll hire an office manager to run the systems you’ve got in place so you can just educate your community and work with your clients.

Once you are no longer a door lawyer, you are on your way to a practice you love, serving in one specific practice area or going deep with a specific subset of your community, and building systems to serve that free you up to do the part of law practice you enjoy the most.

 Are you ready to create the life and law practice you always dreamed of?


About the Contributor
Alexis Neely is a bestselling author and has been a frequent guest on numerous network talk shows and news broadcasts. After graduating first in her law school class from Georgetown Law, Alexis clerked for Senior Judge Peter T. Fay on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and then began her career at the #1 AmLaw rated firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. She went on to build her own law practice into a million dollar a year revenue generator within just three years by creating a revolutionary New Law Business Model you’ll hear about on the call. She is a leading expert on teaching lawyers how to attract more clients, engage those clients at higher fees,* and to serve those clients using this completely different law business model. Lawyers using Alexis’ systems report far more happiness, bigger bank accounts, and that they love being lawyers again.

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