After graduating first in my class from Georgetown Law, I clerked for Senior Judge Peter Fay on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then began my career at the #1 AmLaw rated firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Yes, the same law firm started by Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger.
I did all the right things, but I found myself at 28-years old, depressed that the path of success I had been taught to strive for was so empty at the top.
While at Munger Tolles — a truly great firm in many respects — I experienced firsthand what practicing law has become for most attorneys: filling out forms and shuffling paperwork, having no real meaningful relationship or connection with clients because of hourly billing, having to constantly be on the lookout for more new clients, and not feeling any sense of real contribution or really doing anything truly meaningful.
If you’re at all like most attorneys, I’m sure you can relate to that.
Today, with the typical law business model used by the majority of attorneys — maybe even by you — life is probably far from what you imagined while going through law school.
For many attorneys, today, practicing law the “old way” has become a significant source of anxiety, disappointment, and, even, emotional distress.
Between the, often, excessive overhead of being in private practice, the constant need for the next new client, the lack of free time or the ability to take regular vacations, and the fear of getting sick and possibly having your practice come crashing down around you… it’s no wonder the average attorney is unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and unhappy. Maybe even depressed and heading down a road of addiction.
It’s not pretty.
Truth is, if you’re experiencing any of those same feelings of overwhelm, emptiness, lack of meaningful purpose, or disconnectedness, you’re not alone.
Fact is: That’s how many attorneys feel today, especially those who feel stuck and trapped with the old law business model.
This is why it shouldn’t surprise to you hear that estimates from around the country indicate that the incidence of substance abuse among attorneys is as much as double the national average.
Even worse, according to CNN, attorneys are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-attorneys.
In fact, according to a Johns Hopkins University study of more than 100 occupations, researchers found that attorneys lead the nation with the highest incidence of depression.
This prevalence of depression throughout our profession has gotten so bad, in prior years, suicide has, sadly, been the third leading cause of death among attorneys, after cancer and heart disease — with the rate of death by suicide for attorneys being nearly six times the suicide rate for the general population.
How sad is that?
Maybe things haven’t been that bad for you. Well, thank goodness.
But, maybe you just don’t feel a sense of true fulfillment with the legal work you’re currently doing.
Maybe you feel a little empty or that you’re doing meaningless work. Or that you’re not making any substantial difference in the lives of your clients, like you hoped you would when going through law school.
Or maybe your time and attention is being gobbled-up by a schedule out of your complete control — leaving you unable to regularly disconnect from your practice for recreation, getaways, or week long vacations. Maybe you’re constantly concerned about getting new clients to pay the bills and cover your overhead.
Or maybe you’re simply not satisfied with the financial rewards you’re currently reaping from your law practice.
Well, if any of that rings true for you, let me share a comment I recently came across while perusing Amazon that deeply inspired me. And I think it may do the same for you. Here it is:
“Legal practice can be brutal – sucking the life out of lawyers, breaking their spirit and wrecking their lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As individuals, lawyers can be different. They can wake up to understand their toxic environment and unproductive behaviour, and they can make a change for the better.”
That’s what this blog series is about. And that is why I decided to publish it for you.
Because, when you adopt the “new law business model” I’m going to share with you throughout the rest of this blog series, your experience as an attorney will be vastly different from what we just described.
In fact, you will once again love the idea of being a lawyer… and love practicing law again.
And you can use this new law business model, I’m about to share with you, whether you just want to make your existing practice better — with a new lucrative and impactful revenue stream serving your existing clients, to transition from an existing practice area, to leave a big law firm and go out on your own, or to launch a brand new successful and fulfilling law business right from the start, right out of school.
So, what is this new law business model, you’re probably wondering by now?
Well, it’s a unique and new approach to serving families and small business owners with estate planning.
We call it Legal Life Planning. It’s a fancy, more specific name for the kind of estate planning we’d like to see you doing with all of your clients.
Now, before you shut down and run off thinking that you already know what estate planning is all about, or that estate planning is boring, or that it’s just for old people, or that estate planning is no longer necessary since the passing of the 2010 estate tax relief legislation. … let me assure you of this…
The Legal Life Planning model you’re about to learn is different from anything you’ve seen or heard before. This is no ordinary estate planning.
First, it’s needed and wanted by over 90% of the population, not just older individuals and not just for the 2-3% of the population in need of advanced estate tax planning.
And second, it takes the old approach to estate planning from dry, dull & boring to gratifying, fulfilling and highly lucrative.
- With the Legal Life Planning Model, you’ll be doing meaningful work.
- You’ll make a difference in the lives of your clients.
- You’ll adore your clients, and they’ll adore you… and view you as a valuable legal counselor and trusted advisor.
- You’ll collect fees well above the average… putting you in the top 3% of attorneys.
- You’ll have autonomy and freedom and control of how you invest your time.
- You’ll have a sense of fulfillment, joy, and energy.
- And you’ll love being a lawyer and practicing law, again.
You see, where Legal Life Planning differs from traditional estate planning is that Legal Life Planning is appropriate for, and needed by, anyone over the age of 18 who owns anything, and cares about the people that would have to take care of things if they become incapacitated, if they become ill, or when they pass-on.
Legal Life Planning is about so much more than the documents people can create for themselves online, which most estate planning lawyers are peddling as some sort of upgraded service, when really it’s not.
Legal Life Planning is a way for you to serve the 90+% of people you already know, with legal counselling they need, in a way that provides real, tangible value.
And despite what many misinformed attorneys have been led to believe about estate planning, the demand for this area of legal counseling is rapidly on the rise… and is about to skyrocket thanks to what is being called, “The Silver Tsunami”.
You see: The segment of Americans referred to as baby boomers, people born in the United States between 1946 and 1964, are starting to enter retirement.
Maybe you’ve even gotten your own letter welcoming you to the AARP recently. “Old age” is getting younger and younger.
According to the Pew Research Center, the oldest baby boomers officially began reaching age 65 on January 1, 2011, and approximately 10,000 more boomers are expected to reach that mark EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 17 years.
And that’s why Richard Behrendt, former Estate Tax Attorney with the IRS, and someone whose legal insights are regularly quoted in publications such as: The New York Times, USA Today, and Business Week, when on public record saying, “The demand for the services and expertise of estate planners in the United States will be greater than ever in the coming years and decades. In fact, we may be about to enter the Golden Age of Estate Planning.”
The Golden Age of Estate Planning
Fact is: The 65-and-over population will need a multitude of services that are routinely provided by estate planning professionals.
These services include: asset protection planning, insurance planning, including life insurance, health insurance, and long-term care insurance, incapacity planning, Charitable Legacy Planning, retirement income planning, including social security, qualified retirement accounts, and annuities, Business succession planning, and much more.
And, in the coming years there are even more estate planning opportunities that will keep estate planners busy, including: planning for state death taxes, Medicaid planning, pre-planning funeral arrangements, planning for same-sex couples and preparing the kids and adults who will be receiving this massive transfer of wealth, caring for elderly parents and caring for their own kids be prepared for all of it.
Most importantly, the vast majority of these 65-and-over folks have kids who are now in their 30s and 40s, and they are beginning their own families.
What’s super exciting about all of it is that they all care a whole lot more about legacy, making life as easy as possible for the people they love, creating and living great experiences, and consciously facing life and death.
So, while it may be true that fewer U.S. taxpayers are likely to need the more advanced and exotic wealth transfer planning strategies, you should have no doubt that the services and expertise of estate planning professionals is, and will continue to be, in greater demand than ever before, now, and for many years to come.
And, it’s far more enjoyable to practice in this area than ever before. In fact, we believe that it’s the most satisfying practice area you can possibly be involved in, whether it’s your primary practice area or an add-on service you provide to your existing clients in family law, bankruptcy, immigration, real estate, personal injury or criminal defense.
And that’s why it’s not uncommon for attorneys who begin using the Legal Life Planning model to experience not just an immediate jump in revenues and take-home income, but also an immediate increase in their feeling of fulfillment and happiness.
Like, for example, Robert Galliano of The Law Offices of Robert J. Galliano from Temecula, CA who wrote me and said, “I’ve increased my fees 1000% (that is not a typo—one thousand percent) and I recently engaged 7 out of 7 new prospects at $4,000 each. The best part is I’m energized and love my business again.”
And, attorney Amie Mendoza, who wrote me, sharing, “Over the past 6 months, I have increased my revenue $65,000, bought my dream home and I love my law practice again. And this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see what happens next!”
And, attorney Linda Sherfey of Chesapeake, Virginia who also wrote me and said, “I’ve been able to triple my fees without feeling guilty because I feel that what I’m offering my clients is better than any other estate planning attorney in this area, by far.”
And, Michael DellaMonaca of The Law Office of Michael D. DellaMonaca from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, who reached out to me saying, “Today I had a very fun day. I got to ‘just talk’ with people, I got to be a human being and relax. I wasn’t on edge, I wasn’t trying to sell anything. I mean, how many lawyers are actually having this much fun! Your system brings the humanity back to being a lawyer. Thanks Alexis.”
Are you ready to practice law in a new way?