Advice in the Business of Law
by Betsy Lynch
The best advice I ever got when opening my own law firm was, “If you work for someone else, you will have income security but not job security. If you work for yourself, you will have job security but not income security.”
If you want to open a practice, you have to be realistic and accept that statement as an absolute truth - or you need to be working for someone else. One of the best things I did before I hung out my shingle was to write a three year business plan setting forth how I was going to grow my business over those first three years. I knew I couldn’t rent an office and wait for my phone to ring. I had to figure out how to make it ring. Although none of this has anything to do with being a “good lawyer” so to speak, it has everything to do with survival in the business of law.
You also need to know who you are and who you are not. I am not a Trial Lawyer. Don’t want to be and don’t need to be. I am a Bankruptcy Lawyer. Stick with what works.
Never be caught without your business card. I even keep them in my diaper bag so that when someone asks what I do at the playground or the grocery store, I am able to get my name in front of them. I put my practice area on my business card as well. Every time I meet someone at a party, I may not remember their name, but I might remember that I talked to an estate planner. A month later when I have a referral, I can’t figure out to whom I should send them because I can’t remember their name. If they had put their practice area on their card, I might be able to send them business. My business card has “Bankruptcy Law” underneath my name so that this never happens to me. Always remember that this is the business of law, which means you have to be a businessperson first and a lawyer second. I am a businesswoman – who just happens to be a bankruptcy lawyer.