If your practice isn’t where you want it to be and you feel “stuck”, do you know why? There may be plenty of reasons why. However, more often than not, there are a lot of things that you, the estate planning attorney, are doing (or not doing) that are the reasons why you can’t seem to move forward.
Having worked with estate planning attorney, Philip Kavesh, for over 18 years, both in his law practice and with our attorney customers of The Ultimate Estate Planner, I’ve seen a commonality in most attorneys and what’s preventing them from being able to move their practice to the next level. Below, I’ve compiled what I believe to be the top six ways that estate planning attorneys are holding themselves back from achieving the law practice they’ve always wanted.
Giving into limiting beliefs.
We talk about this at our Ultimate Level program, but too often we are guilty of limiting beliefs. We tell ourselves that there is not enough time or not enough money. Or, perhaps we start to convince ourselves that changes coming in tax laws and low-priced competition will be a nail in the coffin to your estate planning practice. All of these negative, limiting beliefs will hold you back from moving forward. It’s not to say that you should live in a state of disillusioned reality, where everything is a bed roses and you never prepare your business to respond to market conditions, but having a positive outlook and eliminating the limiting beliefs that hold you back is a great place to start.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Let’s face it. Change is hard. But, it’s necessary for growth and it’s necessary for any estate planning attorney to take his or her practice to the next level. What’s harder than change is being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. You don’t have to change everything in your practice, but if you can identify areas that need change and work on those areas, the little changes will add up and lead to a huge overall impact on your firm. This, however, brings us to the next one, which is…
Not taking the time to work on your business.
If you own your own law firm, then you’re a business owner in addition to being a lawyer. This means that like any other business owner, you need to work on your business for it to see any forward growth. This is an area where I truly believe law school (and even continuing education programs) fail most attorneys. They equip you with the technical book knowledge to be a lawyer, but how can you possibly run a successful practice if you don’t have any training about how to run a successful business? This is, thankfully, where we can help. But, the first thing you have to do is block out the time each week when you will work on your business. It doesn’t have to be an entire day, but block a chunk of one day each week where you will work to improve your business in some way.
Keeping negative and cancerous employees on board.
This is also a tough one, but more often than not, there are one or two employees in your office that you are not happy with, but you merely “tolerate”. Many business owners make the mistake of being quick to hire and slow to fire. The results of doing this are disastrous, however. Having negative, cancerous employees in your office is extremely taxing. It has a huge ripple effect on other employees and it can create a great deal of chaos and disruption, not to mention the poor work product and customer experience your firm may also be producing.
Paralyzed by Perfectionism.
Perfectionism is both a blessing and a curse. I know this from personal experience, as well as from having worked so closely with attorneys over the years. The blessing in perfectionism is that it typically results in a hard-working, detail-oriented, and 150% all of the time kind of worker. However, the curse is that perfection often leads to paralysis. Now, you’re not getting estate plans out the door, you’re not able to trust those you do hire to take on tasks you shouldn’t be doing, or you’re perhaps not even able to hire (or keep anyone you do hire) because of it. As a result, you’re a lone wolf operation, doing everything by yourself (including administrative tasks that would be better handled by a non-attorney). It won’t happen overnight, but if you can begin to loosen the reigns, learn the power of proper training, delegation and supervision, you will slowly begin to let go and trust others and then beautiful things will begin to happen in your practice and in your life.
Failing to take care of yourself.
Last, but not least, one of the main ways that you may be holding yourself and your firm back is a failure to take care of #1…YOU. What do I mean by this? The harsh reality is, if you’re not taking care of yourself and you’re working so hard that you’re burning the candle at both ends, where do you think that will leave you in a few years? You’re going to burn out. Your health, personal relationships, quality of your work, and overall happiness is at stake. You must find a healthy work-balance, where you’re doing the tasks that you love and that are the highest and best use of your time, and then you will find the state of your practice already in a much better place.
In conclusion, if any of the above resonated with you, I want you to know that you’re not alone. We’ve seen it time and time again with your fellow attorney colleagues. You can’t possibly know how to handle these things if you’ve never been trained on how to properly handle them.
The good news is that this is an area where we can help you.
RELATED TRAINING & EDUCATION
If this type of training and understanding of what it takes to properly staff and run your practice is of interest to you, then you should definitely consider attending our 2-day, live and in-person event called, “The Ultimate Level”. Our next event is scheduled for February 2-4, 2023 in Redondo Beach, California. This is the kind of training to develop a successful estate planning practice that you simply don’t get in law school or in any CE courses. >>LEARN MORE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Schneider is a Practice Success Coach here at The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 2004 and was hired right out of college to work for the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, coordinating and facilitating Philip Kavesh’s “Missing Link” Boot Camps while also providing administrative support to Mr. Kavesh as his Executive Assistant for over seven years. Through her direct hands-on experience in Mr. Kavesh’s law firm, Kristina has been able to assist numerous estate planning professionals through The Ultimate Estate Planner and, equally as important, many of their staff members, in the successful implementation of Ultimate Estate Planner’s products and systems. She is currently pursuing her MBA degree from Pepperdine University Grazadio Business School. You can reach Kristina at (424) 247-9495 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.