I was recently talking to my wife who is an attorney and asked her this question. Why are attorneys one of the hardest people to market to?
She said, “Because we are always right!”
Then she went on to explain that as an attorney you always have to be right. No matter what. If you’re representing your client then you have to be right. That’s what the client is paying you for.
So if an attorney is always right then there is no reason to try to tell you that there is a better way to do something, because, your documents are always delivered on time and error free.
So today I’m going to tell you some more about my experience.
My first job out of college was at a company called Ameritech Library services. I was responsible for putting quotes of software and servers together for libraries. When I first started at the company it had only been a month since laying off a group of people because they were not doing their job right. I was part of a new breed of people that they hired to fix the problem.
Then at the end of my first summer there I got to witness another layoff of over 100 people, which included the boss that hired me. This was in a company of about 500 at the time. That was a bad day. I got to see from the windows wives come and pick up their husbands from work. I was new to the whole corporate environment and the idea of layoffs was really hard.
Over the years I also got to witness a company that at its peak made about $110 million go down to about $65 million with a couple of buyouts along the way. The company continued to spiral downwards. Morale was down and you never knew if you were going to be a part of the next round of layoffs.
Went I first started there were 10 people in my group. When I left 7 years later there were 3 people in the group that I started in. I had moved to a different role by then. Now the group I was a part of doesn’t exist and last I heard the company was still far below 100 million despite of a couple of mergers with other companies.
So what changed? What caused a company that was worth $110 million at its peak to be far below that now? Was it the people, the management strategy, or outside forces that caused this to happen?
I’ve thought a lot about this company’s downturn. I would attribute it to lack of respect for employees and not making the adjustments that were needed to change with the technology.
First, the lack of respect for employees. Being just out of college I was on the bottom of the pool when I started. Our group was considered the problem child of the organization. The group would get moved around about once every two years because they needed to fix the group. The funny thing was that the team for the most part wanted to deliver on time and be error free.
We were never able to get to the root of the problem. We would have meetings and make suggestions. For example, we needed sales reps to provide quality information about what was needed and we were told that the sales reps needed some creativity and that following a set form would hinder that ability.
Other things were suggested along the way, but the team saw little success along the way. Ultimately, the team was just a symptoms of the larger problems. In reality most teams in the company were in the same position.
Having learned what I have since that time I learned that if management would have given the ability for the team to determine the problems and then implement and test some of the ideas, we would have flourished.
Second, the company didn’t see the changes that were coming in the market soon enough to make the adjustments that they needed to. They were able to grow through a time where libraries where going from a card catalog to implementing a software system. When that boom ended and more competition came into the market they were not able to adjust.
They didn’t see the changes that were coming to the market and make the necessary adjustments.
I tell you this story so you understand the background that I come from.
I have worked with law firms for the past 12 years and I’ve seen changes happening all around the legal market place. The website went from a should have to a must have. People now want access to their information 24 hours a day. New startups are changing the legal field. Legal Zoom sold for an estimated $350 million.
All of these changes are going to affect the way that law firms work, bill and behave in the future. The question in my mind is will they make the changes now or will they follow the path that my former company did and not listen to those that work for them and make changes because of the market dynamics are changing all around them.
My commitment to law firms
I don’t want to see the same thing happen to law firms that happened to my company. You provide a valuable service to your clients, and I want you to be successful so that you can continue to help your clients solve the problems that they need solved.
How can I help
My experience with working with law firms and my experience with working with Ameritech Library Services makes me uniquely qualified to help you transition to a new way of practicing law. Specifically, my goal is for you to deliver on time and error free.
Delivering on time and error free is the foundation that you have to have in place moving forward as the market changes around you. Especially in the DIY world we live in.
So if you are ready to deliver on time and error free. I know how to help you. By working together in partnership, we can make the transition to the next phase of your practice.