Hiring a team is one of the most important things you can do when you want to move your law practice forward into more significant levels of impact in your community and freedom for you.
While you can run your law practice as a true solo practice, and many lawyers begin that way, you will not be able to recognize the real freedom of being a business owner until you bring on a team to support you.
Where do you start?
How do you begin the work of dividing work up and understanding what needs to be done by others and by you? And how do you get up the courage to invest, especially if you don’t yet have the consistent, predictable revenue you can count on to assure yourself you can pay someone else?
Hiring strategy is an aspect of law practice management that we ensure our members are laser-focused on and we help them with every step of the way.
Where it all starts is with you getting clear on exactly how much you want to work each week and how much you want to earn personally from your law practice.
With that knowledge in place, you can use our cash flow forecasting template to map out exactly how big (or how small) of a law practice you need to create to meet your goals.
When you create your cash flow forecast, and you build in team members to support you as you grow, you can create an exact map that will guide you to invest in the growth of your law practice strategically, to create exactly the life and law practice you desire.
Building the team that will support you to grow a law practice that you love
The first hire you will likely want to make is a Client Services Director (CSD), even if just on a part-time basis.
When your CSD first comes on board, he or she will be your ‘everything’ person unless you already have a full client load.
If you do not already have a full client load, then your CSD will be doing outreach to get speaking engagements booked, lead follow up and intake from marketing efforts, and shepherding your clients through the client engagement and service process.
If you do already have a full client load or once your client load gets full (more than 8 clients per month), you will want to hire another team member so your CSD can remain focused on taking care of your clients and turning them into raving fans, and you can hire someone else to handle outreach and intake. We call this person your Outreach/Intake Coordinator (OIC).
The OIC will handle getting your message out into the community by booking your speaking engagements, running your ads, locating expos for you to exhibit at and speak at, managing direct mail, finding auctions you can contribute to, and otherwise getting you seen and heard in the community.
The OIC will also ensure all events have high attendance and you have everything you need to make the most of the event, and will follow up with all leads from the event, ideally booking appointments for a Family Wealth Planning Session with you.
Then, either the OIC or the CSD could send out pre-meeting packages and do the pre-appointment follow up to prepare your prospects before the Planning Session. Who is responsible for this will be dependent on whether your OIC is an in-office role or not. Ideally, your CSD will be in-office at least three days a week.
Delegate to ensure you can stay out of the office as much as possible
You might find this counterintuitive, but it’s true; the more you are out of the office, the better.
We often see that our lawyers experience the most growth and success right before a big event that would have them out of the office for some time, like a new baby or an ill parent.
When you have the right support in the office, you are doing your team a favor by being there less and having the systems in place to support them to work independently.
After hiring a CSD and an OIC, you may decide to hire a file clerk to support them both, and you will likely want to be outsourcing your plan drafting and your funding preparation. While your CSD could start off drafting and funding plans, it’s not a skill set match.
Your CSD should be personable, warm, relational and want to be out front working with the clients. Typically someone who is the best at drafting documents and funding plans is more of a behind the scenes person with a more reserved personality and high attention to detail. It’s relatively rare to find this combination in one person.
The power of outsourcing
Outsourcing is significant because you only pay for what you use, have no costs of overhead, and typically get excellent service because you are hiring a business owner who is an expert and highly self-managed and accountable versus someone you have to train who may have an employee mindset and potentially be less reliable. Even if outsourcing seems more expensive, until you are doing close to 20 plans a month in your office, it’s still more cost efficient in balance to outsource the drafting and funding.
A fully stocked office
Finally, when your practice is “full,” and you’ve begun to be called in for post-death work that comes along with estate planning and is highly lucrative when handled well, you will likely want to hire a Client Services Coordinator who will handle business clients and post-death administration of plans and probates.
Once you have an Outreach/Intake Coordinator, a Client Services Director, a File Clerk, and a Client Services Coordinator and you are outsourcing plan drafting and plan funding; you’ve got a fully stocked office. At that point, you may want to consider an Office Manager, and you should have already outsourced your financial management to an excellent bookkeeping team.
That’s the template of a million dollar law business
If you prefer to stay in the $250k-500k range, you would have a full house with an Outreach/Intake Coordinator and a Client Services Director and outsource Drafting and Funding.
And, if you are happy at less than $250,000, you can likely manage it all yourself with one other person you call Client Services Director.
When you are a Personal Family Lawyer®, Family Business Lawyer™ or Creative Business Lawyer® member, you will have immediate access to our hiring resources for each of these roles.
Access to our hiring resources includes advertisements that are proven to attract the ideal candidates, along with the job descriptions and specifics on how to train and manage these team members so they can grow with your business and support you to create a law practice you love.
When you have your support team in place in this way, you will enjoy the freedom to have a life you love as well.