What does your desktop look like? 


My dad was a successful lawyer. You might not have known that if you were in his office and saw the piles of papers and files on top of his desk, on the credenza behind him, and sometimes on the floor. 

I don’t know how, but he got his work done. The mess wasn’t a problem for him. In fact, I’m pretty sure he liked things the way they were. 

Some people thrive in chaos. Not me. I need to have one thing in front of me at a time or I find it difficult to concentrate. 

In my office, I usually had other files on my desk, but I kept them in a neat stack and worked from the top down. That doesn’t mean my office was tidy. I had my share of clutter and knickknacks. I still do. But there isn’t any Work-in-Progress in my line of sight. Or on the desktop of my laptop which is nearly empty most of the time.

I work off my “today” list which allows me to stay organized and prioritize my tasks. This gives me a sense of control and peace of mind. If I did it any other way, (e.g., my father’s way), it would ruin that sense of control, distract me, and become a source of stress.

Call me crazy, but that’s how I work best. 

If you thrive in chaos, bless you. If you’re like me and would like to have more order and peace of mind in your work, try putting everything out of the way except the one thing you’re working on. (And clean off that damn desktop!. Okay, I must be crazy. I’m getting bothered thinking about YOUR desktop). 

Anyway, give it a try. If you miss the mess, you can always go back to the way things were. Just don’t tell me about it. 




When we want someone to do something we usually tell them what they will get if they do. We tell the prospective client the benefits for hiring us, the visitor to our website what our newsletter will help them learn and be able to do, and this is often enough to get them to take the next step. 

But there is something that is often more persuasive than telling people the benefits they get for doing what we’re asking them to do.

More powerful than telling people what they gain if they do something–telling them what they lose if they don’t. 

We tell the prospective client what might happen if they don’t have a lawyer protecting them from the insurance company, or they don’t choose us as that attorney. We tell the client what might happen if they don’t settle, or what might happen if they do.

We invoke their innate “fear of loss” (or Fear of Missing Out) and it often seals the deal. 

Because humans fear losing something already in their possession.

Fear of loss is often much more motivating than the desire for gain and you should use it in your marketing and in working with your clients. 

When you do, don’t limit your message to the big things they might lose (or gain). Sometimes, it’s the little things that close the deal.

For example, some prospective clients might choose your firm instead of another not because you’re demonstrably the best choice but because the picture of what it’s like working with you appeals to them. 

They like your personality, the way you write your articles, the causes you’ve talked about, or even the great Christmas parties you throw. 

And they don’t want to miss out on that. 

Make sure you show prospective clients the whole package that is you. Because if you don’t, they might not see the one thing that tips the balance in your favor. 

And hire someone else. 


Daily planning


As I’ve often mentioned, I plan my day the night before it begins, primarily because I like being able to start the day by getting to work. 

But I don’t get to work until I review the plan I made the night before. Just a minute or two, to double check everything. 

I might remember something I didn’t put on the list. Something important might have shown up in my email I need to address. My wife might remind me about something we need to do. Or I might realize I’m not ready to do something because I need to talk to someone, research something, or do something first. 

Plans change, after all. 

But there’s something else. Sometimes, I wake up, look at the list and realize that I’ve over-committed for the day. I overestimated how much I could accomplish and something has to go. Or there’s something on the list I don’t feel like doing that day. Unless there is a compelling reason why I must do it, I push it to another day. It’s my schedule, after all. 

It’s good to be king. 

Finally, once I’ve amended the list, I put things in the order in which I plan to do them. 

And then I get to work. 

Those two minutes in the morning make for a much more productive day.


Front loading


Top athletes don’t train at the same level of intensity throughout the day. They front load their workouts, doing the heaviest parts earlier in the day, when they have the most energy.

They also front load their week, doing the most strenuous workouts Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for example, and leaving the rest of the week for less intense parts of their training.  

This allows them to build muscle, speed, and endurance while getting sufficient rest so they can go at it again. 

We can work the same thing in our work.

The idea is simple. You start your day or week (or project) doing the most important tasks. This allows you to get started when you have more energy, so that if the rest of the day or the week you don’t work with the same intensity, or you work on tasks that are less important, you still make progress.

This doesn’t mean you need to start with the most disagreeable or difficult tasks, a la, Eat That Frog. Just start with your MITs, your “most important tasks”.

You don’t need to do them as soon as you roll out of bed. But when you’re ready to start your workday or a new week, you’re starting a new project or diving into a work-in-progress, do the most important tasks or steps first. 

When you structure your time this way, you make progress even if you don’t do that much with the rest of the day or the week. 

If you’re working on a new presentation, do the outline and first draft early in the day or week. Do the second draft, editing, and creating visuals later.

Many people do things just the opposite. They start their day doing easy tasks, to tick them off their list and make room to work on the important things. The problem with working this way is that we often run out of time and/or energy before getting to the important things.  

Front load your time by prioritizing the most important things on your list and doing them first.

Make that your SOP and, who knows, you might find that a four-day work week is your new reality. 


Talk it into existence


There’s something to be said for being the “strong silent type” and letting your work speak for itself. There’s also something to be said for talking about what you do and how you help people. 

Because people who need your help want to know what you can do to help them.

That doesn’t mean you should talk about yourself all the time. We all know people who do that and wish they would stop. It does mean finding ways to communicate the benefits you offer without talking about them directly. At least not all the time.

An effective way to do that is to collect and use testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients, and endorsements from lawyers and other influential people who know you and your work. 

Let others do (most of) the talking for you.

You can also share success stories about the cases and clients you’ve helped. Not to brag, but to illustrate what you do in the context of real cases and clients. 

Success stories are implied testimonials.

You can also use this strategy to get more referrals. 


It’s simple. When you talk about a case you’re handling, or have done in the past, simply mention that the case was referred to you (by a client with a similar case, or by another lawyer, etc.) 

This tells people that others think enough of you and your work that they tell others about you. It suggests that you have experience helping people with the same or similar issue.

You get more referrals not by asking because you are “referrable.” 

What else can you do to talk it (referrals) into existence? When you sign up a new client, give them some extra business cards (reports, brochures, etc.), and say, “I’m giving you a few extras in case you talk to someone who needs my help”. 

That’s it.

You plant the seed that they might speak to someone who needs your help and equip them to tell them about you.

How to get more referrals from your clients


Legal marketing made eas(ier)


Would it be okay if I showed you how to make marketing your practice easier? How to get the same (or better) results with less effort? So you don’t overwork yourself or hate what you’re doing and stop doing it?

I’ll take that as a yes.

Okay, grab a pen. Here are 3 things to do to make your life easier and your practice more profitable.  

(1) Don’t do everything.

There are a lot of marketing strategies you could use but you’ll drive yourself crazy (and get poor results) if you try to do them all.

Choose no more than two or three primary strategies and focus on those. Learn all you can about them, get good at them, and make the most of them. They may be all you (ever) need.

Me? I chose referrals. Later, I added advertising. Later still, I started a blog and a newsletter. 

Fewer strategies are easier and usually lead to better results. The same goes for the tools you use to implement those strategies. 

(2) Don’t do everything yourself

Delegation is your friend. Let your staff do as much as possible and/or outsource. 

Me? I only did things that only I could do. I saved time and got better results because I didn’t do things I wasn’t good at or didn’t enjoy. 

(3) Look for additional opportunities that are low-effort/high-impact

There are other things you can do in addition to your primary strategies that have the potential to bring in new clients, new business contacts, and opportunities you might not otherwise discover.

For example, speaking and networking might not be something you regularly do, but if you are invited by a client or business contact to speak at or attend an event in your target market, or as a guest on a podcast in that market, go for it. Go flap your gums and shake a few hands.

Something else that is relatively low-effort but high-impact is writing a book. (Low effort because you can get help). Publishing a book is a great way to build your reputation, generate leads, and make your other marketing strategies more effective. 

The key word is ‘leverage’. Things you can do that are easy, don’t take a lot of time, and have the potential to deliver excellent results. 

The other keyword is ‘focus’. Do a few things and do them well. (But, never say never to other ideas.)

The Attorney Marketing Formula


More leads or better leads? 


It’s complicated. You might get more leads, but pay so much for them (and this includes the cost of your time) they don’t seem worth it. But before you say, “I’ll take better leads for $200,” there’s something else to consider. 

Actually, two things.

The first is the “back end”. 

A lead may turn into a small case or client, providing barely enough revenue to cover the cost of acquiring them, but bring you enough work after that (on the back end) to make them exceedingly profitable. 

You need to consider the lifetime value of a new client. That includes all the work they hire you to do, all the direct referrals they send you, and all the leads they send you.

The second thing to consider is what you do (and don’t do) with your leads. 

Two lawyers. Lawyer number one gets a lead, sends out information, talks to the prospect, shows them some dogs and some ponies, and the prospect signs up. Or they don’t.  

Lawyer number two goes through a similar process, but when the prospect doesn’t sign up, follows up with them, and continues to follow-up with them until they do sign up. 

As a result, lawyer number two converts more leads into clients. 

Lawyer number two does something else lawyer number one doesn’t do. He follows up with leads that do sign up. He stays in touch with them, generating repeat business, referrals, traffic to his website, attendees at his presentations, and subscribers to his newsletter.

All of which generate more revenue and more profit.

The number and quality of your leads are important. But just as important, and often more so, is what you do with those leads.

How to use email to get more leads and convert them to clients


“There are always things to do. Most of them are pointless.”


I didn’t catch the name of the book but someone I follow said she read this (actually, heard it on an audiobook), and it stopped her in her tracks. Pointless? Most things?

If that’s true, the world has some ‘splainin to do. 

Actually, I agree with the statement. I wouldn’t use the word ‘pointless’, but most of what we do is trivial, at least compared to the most important things we do. 

Or could do.

Signing up a new client, settling a big case, launching a newsletter or website—these are important. They put food on the table, pay our rent, and help us move forward towards achieving our goals. 

We can’t say that about most of the things we do.   

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do them. Some things just have to be done and we’re the ones who have to do them. So they’re not pointless. Just not our ‘most important tasks’. 

And we should, we must, prioritize our most important tasks, if we are to get where we want to go. 

Okay. You probably know your most important tasks. They’re already a priority for you. It’s everything else that’s not so clear. 

Writing that demand letter is a priority. Is editing it again (and again) a priority or is ‘good enough’ good enough? 

Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time in that gray area. And a lot of time doing things that aren’t worth doing. 

If we can identify these less valuable (pointless?) tasks, and eliminate them, do them less often, or do them more quickly, we could multiply our effectiveness. 

(Yes, this is the 80/20 Principle).

Here’s a thought about how to do that:

Assume that everything on your list is ‘pointless’. Unnecessary. Or not worth the time or energy it takes to do. And make every task ‘prove’ to you otherwise. 

Challenge everything and ruthlessly cut anything that doesn’t pass the test.

And, when you’re ready to add a new task (or step) to your list, make “no” or “not now” your default. 


Denny Crane


My wife and I are watching Boston Legal. Yeah, first time. I don’t have anything I want to tell you about any of the characters or storyline, or how that firm does rainmaking, but at some point, I know I will. . 

So I’ve started a page in my notes app to record ideas about that. 

Other than a title, that page is currently blank. But it serves an important purpose because every time I see that note, it will remind me (and my subconscious mind) to find something to write about. 

That note is a placeholder for a future blog post. 

Yes, I could simply put the idea in a list of blog post ideas, just as I do for future projects or someday/maybe tasks. But there’s something about opening a new folder that makes an idea a bit more likely to happen. 

It also gives you a place to collect notes and information for that project or idea, which helps you get started on it.  

Tiago Forte says, “When you have a place for something, you find more of it.”

Set up a placeholder for the book you want to write, the investment you want to research, or the project you want to start. Set up a note for the blog post you’re thinking about. 

You’ll probably feel compelled to add notes, ideas, web clippings, photos, quotes, bullet points, research, and other things related to that project or post. 

Which means you’ll be a stop closer to getting started.


I should have done this years ago


For a long time, I’ve talked about the value of choosing tomorrow’s tasks today. Instead of writing your task list each morning, write it the night before. 

And for years, that’s what I’ve done. 

Previously, I had to wake up my brain each morning and plan my day, and it was often quite a while before I started working. Now, I know what’s on tap for the day and I can get to work immediately. 

One of my daily tasks is writing a blog and newsletter. Choosing the subject the day before has made a big difference for me, especially since I often find it takes longer to choose the topic than to write the post. Choosing the topic the day before has the added benefit of allowing my subconscious mind to work on the topic overnight.

This has worked well for me. But here’s the thing. . .

Sometimes, I get towards the end of the day and see I still need to choose tomorrow’s blog topic. I do it, but if I’m tired or finishing up something else or I’m hungry and ready to call it a day, I may not have the presence of mind to do it. 

So recently, I changed my workflow. A small change, but it has made a big difference. 

Now, as soon as I finish and publish “today’s” post, I choose the following day’s topic. I don’t do this in the afternoon or evening, as before, I do it immediately. 

It’s not a separate task, it’s part of the “write blog post” task. So effectively, I have one less task to do that day. One less thing to think about, or do, especially when I’d rather do something else.

If you write a blog or newsletter or post content on social, try it. Choose your next subject as part of finishing the one you work on today. . 

Actually, you can do this with any type of task, not just writing. 

Before you finish working on a case or project, choose the next one to work on. Make it part of your process, so you can roll from one into the next one. You may find, as I have, that it makes for a more productive day.