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The following is adapted from “Fireproof” by Mike Morse
One day, a new client walks into your law firm, and you quickly realize that this will be a big case. This case is not only going to make you a lot of money; it’s going to make you famous.
What do you do when that case comes in? Do you toss it to an associate and say, “Bring me a check at the end of the case”?
No, of course not. This is the case of the decade, maybe of a lifetime.
You’ll have to set goals, determine who is going to work on it, and what they will do. You must establish a timeline with milestones, and you have to have a system to ensure you don’t miss deadlines.
Now, what if I told you that to achieve explosive growth for your law firm, you should treat every case—every day—with this level of preparation? Sound impossible?
As I’ll explain in this article, it’s not, and you can achieve massive growth with three simple practices: setting small goals, setting a big three-year goal, and creating an annual plan.
These practices helped grow my firm from 25 people and $17 million in total settlements and verdicts to an office of 150 employees, including 50 attorneys, and more than $160 million in settlements and verdicts.
Let’s explore each of these steps so you can start planning your firm’s explosive growth right now.
Practice #1: Set small goals
First, before you can bring about growth of epic proportions, you need to achieve growth on a smaller scale. You can do that by setting small goals for your firm.
These are short-term, minor goals, not your pie-in-the-sky goals. Nonetheless, they are precise and carefully calculated. For example, you might aim to take on 1,820 cases this year with a 15% higher average value year-over-year.
These are the goals that take into account your historical data, the capacity of your people, your marketing efforts, your referrals, and the size of cases you are already working on. You should figure out key averages that allow you to set realistic, yet still ambitious, goals.
You want to set targets for everything: number of calls, number of gross settlements, number of cases, and annual revenue. Set goals for the firm as a whole, for teams in the firm, and for individual members of the teams.
The purpose of these small goals is continual progress and forward momentum. These small objectives should serve as the daily motivation that keeps your firm moving in the direction of your larger targets.
Practice #2: Set a big three-year goal
A three-year goal is less precise than an annual or quarterly goal because too much can change in a longer time frame. New laws can be enacted, for instance, and key personnel can change. The world around you can change dramatically in three years. But you still need a three-year goal and a plan for reaching that goal that you share with the entire firm.
Here are some examples of items that might be in a three-year goal:
- All employees are working in small teams focused on discrete areas of the law we practice.
- Our income from referrals will grow enough to offset our advertising expenses.
- Every employee is an A player, doing the work for which they are best suited.
- We are the best place to work among all law firms in Michigan.
The three-year goal is not a concrete concept. It’s an image of where you want your firm to be, and you can use it as a guide when you work on more immediate challenges and when you set priorities.
Practice #3: Create an annual plan
The third practice that can accelerate your firm’s growth is creating an annual plan.
Every January, my leadership team and I sit down and establish our goals for that year. Then, we build a plan, because a goal without a plan is just a wish.
These are more tangible than our three-year goals. We look at our staffing. We set specific revenue goals. We’ll also set goals for how many calls we want to take, or what areas of law we might want to expand into. We have budget discussions. I am able to brainstorm and share where I see the firm going.
Many of these goals are measurable and numbers-based, and each might require different strategies to achieve. For instance, if your goal is to maximize the value of each case, you may decide you need a better system for reviewing prospective cases to measure their earning potential.
As with the three-year goals, it’s vital that you share the annual plan with your entire staff to gain their buy-in. You want to ensure everyone has a stake in your success and that everyone is rowing in the same direction.
Build constant momentum
When you have short- and long-term goals and an annual plan guiding your way, your firm will naturally build momentum that culminates in explosive growth. Every day, every week, every month, and every year, your employees will have a target they’re working toward and a direction to move in.
Remember, the key to massive growth is to treat every day like you’re preparing for the case of your lifetime. The three practices described in this article formed the launchpad for the explosive growth my firm enjoyed, and they can propel your firm to the next level, too.
“Fireproof” is now available for purchase and can be purchased via StartupNation.com.