The Wizard of OZ and your law practice


In The Wizard of OZ, each of the main characters wanted something. The Scarecrow wanted brains, the Tin man wanted a heart, and the Cowardly Lion wanted courage.

To succeed as lawyers, we need all three.

Of the three, the most important trait for financial success is courage, according to a large study of wealth in America.

You can read it about the study and its conclusions in The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Thomas Stanley.

Dr. Stanley tells us:

“Courage can be developed. But it cannot be nurtured in an environment that eliminates all risks, all difficulty, all dangers. It takes considerable courage to work in an environment in which one is compensated according to one’s performance. Most affluent people have courage. What evidence supports this statement? Most affluent people in America are either business owners or employees who are paid on an incentive basis.” [emphasis added]

So, are you paid on an incentive basis?

You can be.

Whether you bill by the hour, flat fees, or any other type of fee, look for ways to add incentives–extra fees, bonuses, stock, percentages of the deal–to be paid to you if and when you achieve certain results for the client.

You can also do this in contingency fee cases. A higher percentage or bonus that is triggered when you reach one or more specified thresholds.

You should do this because there are only so many hours in a day and if you want to earn more than the average attorney, this is a good way to do it.

Assuming the client agrees and the state Bar approves.

I know, the idea both excites you and scares you. You have a lot of “what ifs” going through your mind. It may not even be possible in your jurisdiction.

Do yourself a favor and find out.

“Most affluent people have courage,” Dr. Stanley says. How about you?

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