As you know, I am currently recruiting lawyers. If I was playing baseball, one would say I haven’t hit a home run in 2019. I haven’t even hit a single. In recruiting parlance, I have not placed a lawyer in 2019. Successful recruiters make cold calls. I’m uncomfortable doing that.
I feel good when I place lawyers I know with law firms I know. What are law firms I know looking for in potential partners?
When I ask law firms what they want in a lateral partner hire, the typical response is the lateral partner should have at least $1 Million in business. Given that law firms discourage associates from doing any client development, where can you start?
Several years ago, two lawyers I was coaching asked me how to stay optimistic and persevere when they were not seeing the results of their efforts.
A lawyer in my old firm asked the same question. I went back and found an email reply I had sent in 2004. I decided to update it and share it with you:
The first step to having $1 million law practice is to decide you want to have one. Believe it or not, most lawyers never decide they want to develop a $ 1 million practice, so they don’t.
The second step is to answer the “why” question. How important is it to you to generate a $1 million of business a year? It was of compelling importance to me years ago because having it provided security for Nancy and Jill. Having $1 million also allowed me to control my career and life. Finally, I felt my purpose as a lawyer was to enable my clients to achieve their business goals.
The third step is to believe in yourself. If it is important to you, do you REALLY believe you can achieve it? If not I want you to start really believing it now by telling yourself you are a $1 million lawyer. I want you to visualize being a $1 million lawyer. See:
- yourself meeting with clients who greatly value what you are doing to help them.
- yourself receiving an annual award from the firm (which I received each year).
- yourself having young lawyers work for you and having others ask how you did it.
- the content look your spouse and children have because they feel secure financially.
I want you to write down on paper or make an entry in the task part of Outlook: “I am a $1 million lawyer.” I want you to look at this written statement at least twice each day and close your eyes and visualize what I suggested above. Next, I want you to establlsh a date by which you will achieve this. Is it by the end of 2020? 2021? 2022? Make the date certain.
Next I want you to focus on where your $1 million in fees will come from and start making a list of what you need to do to generate $1 million in fees. Brainstorm with yourself each day. Close your eyes and become creative. Use your imagination to come up with ideas no one has implemented.
This approach may sound hokey to you, but I did it and it worked for me. As long as I had my eyes on the prize and focused on what achieving it would do for me and my family, I never gave up in tough times. I am confident you will achieve $1 million a year. You have the legal talent and relationship building skills. Now, all you need is to have a burning desire to do it, fueled by something that is really important to you. When you have that desire, you will:
- Convince your subconcious mind by autosuggestion and repetition you will achieve your goal.
- Then, you will creatively develop a concrete plan.
- Finally, you will execute your plan, even when you are faced with challenges.
I will leave you with a Robert J. Collier quote that resonates with me and hopefully with you also:
The great successful men of the world have used their imagination…they think ahead and create their mental picture in all it details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building–steadily building.