Episode 254 — AMMA — Starting and Growing Your Law Firm

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but every successful law firm owner has to start somewhere. From setting up shop, to onboarding support staff, to signing up the best cases and clients — each key phase of growth demands unwavering determination and relentless perseverance.

In this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Michael and Jessica Mogill share:

  • How to find the courage to take the entrepreneurial leap
  • How to overcome the challenges and uncertainties of making a crucial hire
  • How to effectively market your law firm and establish a strong client base from the ground up
Episode 254 — AMMA — Starting and Growing Your Law Firm
Show Notes:

Risky business. “You have to really rethink what you’d be willing to do to leave a salaried job and start your own law firm. If you’ve been thinking about it, that’s one thing. If it’s something where you’re truly committed and want to bet on your own decision-making and have a vision for your future, that’s admirable. A lot of people say they want to be their own boss, which is one of the dumbest things you could ever say. Whatever it is that you’re doing now, I promise you, it’s going to be harder doing it on your own. Somebody else right now is carrying the weight of a lot of the stress that you would be experiencing. Once they go off on their own, they’re figuring out right now how to bring the cases in. They’re figuring out right now how to meet the peril. They’re figuring out right now how to be able to cover all the different overheads and provide for everybody. When you leave a job, if you’re saying that you could do it better — which may be true — now all those things become your problem. Everything becomes your problem. Sure, you can be your one boss and work wherever the hell you want, but if you’re going to be supporting yourself, you’re probably not going to be working any less than whatever it is you’re doing at any full-time role. In fact, you’re probably going to be working a lot more (maybe double) for a certain period of time until you start to really figure things out.”

Necessary sacrifices. “All these different creature comforts that we have in life are what also bind us to that life. It’s hard to escape that, because then you have something to lose, and when you have a lot of things to lose, it’s hard to abandon that, truthfully. I’m not knocking it. It’s just that the reality of it is you have to really not just want to start your own firm, but be truly committed to it. Things sometimes get worse before they get better. Sometimes you have to scale down your home. Sometimes you have to scale down your standard of living. That’s really hard for people to do because then you get a lot of societal pressure and they’re trying to keep up with somebody else and they’re trying to look a certain way. Again, that’s just going to prolong all this and you may not ever do it. Sometimes you just have to rip the Band-Aid off and go for it.”

Capacity and capability. “If the goal is to be able to grow — whether it’s to grow revenue, grow profit, etc. — you’re going to need help, so you decide to hire somebody. Oftentimes, good help is seen as a cost, but a cost is something that you spend money on and don’t get a return. Rather, people are an investment. I’ve never in my life ever hired somebody with the expectation that I’m going to make less money. The purpose of hiring somebody is to expand the capacity of the firm. It allows you to expand the capabilities of the firm. You’re able to get to where you’re going because you’re able to expand those two things: capacity and capability.”

Cost vs. investment. “I see a lot of firm owners who just get reluctant about making any sort of investment or hiring anybody. They’ll say, ‘If I’m going to hire this person, I’m going to pay X amount of money more.’ But my thought is that if you don’t hire this person, you’re going to pay for it every day until you do. There’s already a cost associated with not only the opportunity cost of how much the firm could be growing, but there’s also the cost of your well-being — the time and energy required for you to be doing everything. Does that free you up to be a leader in the firm? Does that free you up to make decisions that allow you to work on the business, not in the business, and actually grow the firm? You have to be able to wrap your head around that.”

Stand out. “If you want to be able to market and establish a client base from the ground up, you have to be able to answer one fundamental question: Why would somebody hire you and not your competition? If you can’t answer this question, that’s probably why your ideal clients aren’t working with you. You may look at it from the standpoint of what it is that makes you different from your competitors. Maybe you grew up in the same community that you practice law in. Maybe you’re very active in the community. Maybe you have an amazing trial background. Maybe you specialize in a specific type of case. There’s something that makes you unique. You have to be able to be clear on why somebody would hire you specifically over another competing law firm because people have a lot of options — especially for contingency-based cases. Beyond that, you have to get that message out there. You have to be clear on what the value proposition is. Then you create content around that. You have to get known somehow. No matter how great you are, if people don’t know you exist, they cannot hire you.”


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