One thing I love about my work is the chance to meet lawyers who are striving to get better. More often than not those lawyers are young associates or young partners. It is great fun to meet and work with a baby boomer like me, who is still working to get better.
A month or so ago, I met Bill Neal, a family lawyer from Lewisville, Texas. Bill founded his family law firm Neal Ashmore five years ago with great enthusiasm and ideas. Among other things, the firm brings in a personal trainer twice a week to lead the lawyers and staff workouts.
Before I met Bill he had found the book I co-authored with Brice Voran: It Takes a Team, read it and started implementing many of the ideas. I asked him to share what he learned with you.
Remember when you were young, and you read that page-grabbing book that made you want to be one of the characters – a Hardy Boy, a Harry Potter, a James Bond or a Jack Ryan? Now, do you find when you pick up book to read, you find the main character is YOU!
This was exactly the revelation that stunned me as I read “It Takes a Team – You Can’t Make Rain by Yourself ” by Cordell Parvin and Brice Voran. There, jumping off the pages of the book was me – in the form of David Coleman, the main character. As I followed his journey from being the only one that could “get the job done” and “bring in the clients” while instilling fear and dislike from those working for him to embracing the team concept, I realized that this model could work in my small law firm of Family lawyers.
The following Monday I put the principles from the book into action in my firm. I started by handing out the work that had been sitting on my desk because “only I could do it.” I started setting up mini meetings with my associates throughout the week to review the strategy of the cases and their progress. We instituted a new client introduction procedure. We identified when the client retained us who would be on that client’s team, and then had that team member come in and spend time with our client at the start of our representation.
It’s only been a few months since we instituted this dynamic switch in how we do our matrimonial legal business, but the effect it has produced has been dramatic. Clients love the concept and feel of a team handling their case, their work is getting done faster with no loss in quality, my associates are happier doing the work. I now, suddenly, have less stress and more optimism about our future and the business forecast for “rain.”
Most of us joined law firms to be able to work with other outstanding lawyers and a motivated professional staff. It’s just more fun practicing law that way. As you see from Bill’s post, it also produces great results for a firm’s clients.