Imagine there’s no clients. It’s easy if you try. Yes, I have the Beatles on my mind.
But I really do want you to imagine that you have no clients. (Don’t panic. You’ll get them back in a minute. If you want to. . .).
I want you to think about what you would do if you were starting your practice today. Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Would you choose a different practice area? Would you target different clients? Would you have partners? Employees?
Where would you office? Would you use a different billing system?
What would you do to bring in new clients? What would you NOT do?
You may want to partner up with another lawyer or a friend and do this exercise. Tell each other what you would change about your practice, knowing what you know now.
So, what do you think? What would you do differently if you were starting over?
Here’s the thing. Whatever it is you said, no matter how weird or frightening it might seem, you should do it now. Make those changes, or at least start in that direction.
You don’t have to turn your practice completely upside down or do anything reckless. You don’t have to tell all your clients to get lost. But you know things today you didn’t know before–about the market, about the day-to-day activities of a practicing lawyer, and about yourself–and you should use what you know.
In fact, knowing what you know now, taking it step by step, you could completely remake your practice in just a year or two. You could be in a completely different (and happier) place in less time than you spent in law school. If you start now.
What if you told yourself you wouldn’t go into private practice, you’d do something else? If imaging there’s no clients made you smile, don’t ignore the feeling. It may take a bit longer, but you should probably think about doing something else. Find something you would love to do and start working towards it. Three or four years from now, you could be there.
And, if you discovered that you wouldn’t change much of anything, that’s good, too. You’ve done a “level three diagnostic” and been cleared for your continuing mission.
Hellen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.” I agree. You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.