Educate Your Staff About the Need for New Business

October 30th, 2016

Law firm support staff often believe their attorneys walk on water.  And it’s not difficult to understand why.  The receptionist at a law firm has a front row seat to her boss’ expensive car, first class vacations to exotic places, second home on the lake, and cost of tuition at his kid’s private school.  She sees him take two hour lunches with important people similarly dressed in expensive clothes, and he sounds incredibly smart when he’s on the phone.

The last thing your staff thinks is that you need more business.  In fact, they probably believe they are doing you a favor by reducing your workload!

A true story will illustrate this point.

In my previous job, I once made a cold call on a law firm in Roswell, Georgia that focused on high end DUI defense.  When I explained to the receptionist that I wanted to speak with the attorney about “growing the practice” she simply said, “Oh lord, Pete has more business than he knows what to do with and actually just hired a new lawyer to handle some of it.”  I thanked her and left my card.

I hadn’t made it to the intersection outside Pete’s office when my phone rang.  On the other end is Pete, asking if I had a few minutes to chat.  It turned out that the receptionist was correct.  Pete was forced to hire another attorney because there was too much business for him handle.  However… there wasn’t quite enough business to keep the new attorney busy full-time, and part of the agreement between Pete and his new hire was that he would increase the clientele over the next year.

Of course, this situation happens all the time in law firms.  But it illustrates how an intake person and business owner can view the same situation very differently.  If that intake person believes the firm doesn’t need business, they aren’t going to do a very good job with prospective clients who contact the office looking for representation.

My next post will discuss how to educate law firm staff about the importance of new business.

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