Getting unstuck


It happens. You’re spinning your wheels or losing ground. What’s worked for you before no longer seems to. You’re bleeding money or exhausted out of your mind, scared or frustrated or angry, or all of the above.

You’re stuck and don’t know what to do about it.

The answer is to do something. Change something. Try something and keep trying until you get your mojo back.

Because you can. Nothing has to stay the same. Trust me. I’ve been there. And lived to tell about it.

I have some suggestions for you. To get you thinking. Maybe you’ve tried some of these already, or thought about trying them. Maybe you need to hear them again before you’re willing to try them, or try them again.

Quickly read through this list of strategies and note anything that catches your eye. Come back to it, meditate or journal on it, or talk to someone about it.

And then try it.

  • Fix a health issue. You can’t move forward if you’re not feeling well or don’t have enough energy. Maybe you need a new eyeglass prescription. Maybe you need to get off some meds. Maybe you have an addiction you need to free yourself from. Maybe you need to eat better or sleep better.
  • Fix a relationship issue with your spouse, child, law partner, employee, or friend.
  • Change your marketing. Try a new strategy, eliminate something, expand something. Learn more, get help, change your process. Your troubles might all go away when you’re able to get some new clients or better clients.
  • Hire someone: an office manager, a virtual assistant, a business coach, a consultant. Maybe you need a new accountant or financial advisor. Bringing some new ideas and/or personalities into your life might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Fire someone. Someone who is making things worse, not better.
  • Change your practice area or target market. Something more lucrative or a better fit for you.
  • Delegate more. The source of your “stuckness” might simply be that you’re trying to do too much yourself. My philosophy: Only do those things that only you can do; delegate everything else.
  • Find an accountability partner to keep you on track.
  • Cut overhead. What can you eliminate? What can you reduce? Could you renegotiate your lease or move to another building? Find cheaper alternatives for anything? Every dollar you save allows you to do something else.
  • And/or. . . spend more on things that are working.
  • Farm out unprofitable cases; refer out troublesome clients.
  • Simplify (everything).
  • Make your workspace more pleasant to work in. Change the lighting or the furniture; get rid of the clutter. Buy some plants.
  • Track your time. You might find a lot of waste.
  • Reduce your work hours. Take more breaks. Take a vacation. Get more sleep.

Okay, one more. Try a side-hustle.

No, really. A business project unrelated to your current career or practice. Not as a way to supplement or replace your income, although that might happen, mostly as a way to shake the cobwebs off of you by doing something completely different.

You’ll learn new ideas, meet new people, discover different ways to market your services or build your career.

You might also have some fun, which might be the very thing that’s missing in your life.

Yes, this means diverting time and money away from your core business. But doing something else part time might be just what you need to jumpstart your core business.

If this isn’t in the cards for you right now, at least study other business models. I learned how to market my legal services, in part, by looking at what other professionals and business owners do.

The answer to getting unstuck is to do something different. Find something and run with it.

Quantum Leap Marketing System for Attorneys


Taking inventory


I watched a video about tasks, tools, and processes for creatives and thought the information was helpful for lawyers. Helpful because it provides a framework for thinking about your work and how you can do it more efficiently and with better results.

We’re told that tasks fall into 4 types of categories, Administrative, Consumption, Documentation, and Creative, and as I thought about what I do in my work in this context, I starting thinking about what I could eliminate, delegate, automate, speed up, or otherwise improve. You might do the same.


Administrative tasks include calendaring, conflict management, bookkeeping, client communication, website updates, file management, HR, individual task management, and so much more.

We spend a significant percentage of our day doing or managing these tasks; they are the most obvious category to delegate or automate.


Cases, articles, books, blogs, courses, podcasts, newsletters, videos, seminars—it’s a long list.

You can streamline this category by cutting out some sources of material you regularly turn to, subscribing to services or newsletters that curate this information for you, more audio and less text, and by assigning the “first pass” for some of this content to someone who works for you.


This includes taking notes on client matters, and notes on the other material you consume, recording ideas, storing documents, and the software and systems you use to retrieve this information.


This is your output—how you get paid. It includes your legal work—drafting, negotiating, writing, speaking—and everything you do for marketing.

You might not want to delegate all of this, but you can get help with research, investigation, first drafts, editing, and follow-ups.

As you consider these categories, think about your situation and what you want to improve. Go through a typical week or month and document what you do.

  1. Tasks. Brainstorm every function performed by you and the people who work for you (or outsources).
  2. Tools. Note the software and hardware you use on the computer, browser extensions, phone apps, paper and folders, etc. It also includes forms, templates, checklists, reminders, and more.
  3. Processes. How you do what you do. This will take the most time to document, but is likely to deliver the most benefits.

If you don’t want to do all this right now, at least use this as a checklist to think about how you use your time and what you could do to use it better.


Should you outsource your law firm marketing?


Hire people and let them do your marketing?

Yes, and no.

You save time by not doing everything yourself. And you get to borrow the skills and knowledge of experts who can do many things faster and better than you. You pay a price for this but if the people you hire are good at what they do, they’ll make you money.

Sounds compelling. So why do I say “yes and no”?

Because there are some things you will always do better than anyone else.

Two things, in particular.

First, a marketing consultant or firm can create articles, presentations, newsletters, and other content for you, and it will be well-researched, grammatically sound, and clearly articulated, but they can’t speak with your voice or your authority, because they don’t have your experiences, your philosophies, or your personality.

Hire others to advise you or assist you if you want to, but don’t delegate all of your content creation to them.

Second, no marketing expert can build personal relationships with your clients and professional contacts for you.

As a professional, this is your most important and valuable job.

Yes, even more important than doing the legal work. You can hire attorneys to do most of that under your supervision, but if you ask those attorneys or anyone else to build relationships for you, the only relationships they build will be between the client and themself.

No matter what kind of practice you have, or want to build, repeat business and referrals are key to your long-term success.

Don’t put that in the hands of anyone else.


Ask this question before you decide


You’re thinking about doing something for your practice. Something that will take time and resources away from something else. You see the benefits of starting a blog or newsletter, for example, but you’re not sure if you want to commit to it.

But it could be anything. Hiring a new clerk, using a new app, moving your office, offering a new service, or reducing your work hours.

Whatever it is, before you decide, ask yourself, What’s the hidden benefit?

You know the primary benefit. If you start a blog or newsletter, you’ll be able to bring in more clients. The hidden benefit is that it will make you a better writer, and a faster writer, which can help you in all aspects of your marketing and legal work.

Maybe you’re thinking about recording a podcast or videos. The benefit is that you will be able to connect with your audience more deeply because they’re not just hearing your words, they’re hearing your voice.

The hidden benefit is that you will improve your oral presentation skills, making you better from the stage, in interviews, and in the courtroom.

Another example.

You’re thinking about rejecting a small case. The benefit is that you won’t have to invest valuable time doing something with a small payoff.

The hidden benefit might be that you will learn about a new industry or market, or meet other professionals in that market, leading to a lot of bigger cases and clients.

Okay, one more.

You’re thinking about sharing my website and newsletter with other lawyers. The benefit is that you’ll strengthen your relationship with them, making them more likely to share marketing ideas with you and possibly willing to send you more referrals.

The hidden benefit is that by helping them learn how to get more clients, they will have more clients they can refer.

Before you decide to do something, or not do it, always ask, “What’s the hidden benefit?”

Because the hidden benefit might turn a no into a yes or a someday into today.

How to use a newsletter to build your practice


Owning your practice vs. running your practice


There’s a lot going on in an active law practice; if we’re not careful, we spend most of our time reacting to what happens instead of making things happen.

We handle the cases, work with the clients, fight the fights, put out the fires, send out the bills, and then we do it again. And again.

We don’t do enough (or any) planning. Or managing our plan. We don’t decide what we want to happen, and what we’ll do to make it happen.

We just keep busy doing what’s in front of us.

But if you’re in charge, there are things you need to do to make sure the practice runs the way you want it. One of these is to manage your numbers.

Tracking how many, how often, and how big. But not just the ultimate results (new clients, revenue, etc.) but the numbers that drive those results.

These are your KPIs—your “Key Performance Indicators”. They include things like advertising dollars spent, keywords, networking events attended, articles and blog posts, consultations, social media campaigns, and whatever else you do to drive traffic to your website and prospective clients to your door.

You need to know your numbers. So you can do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

Don’t obsess over the numbers. But do watch the trends. But don’t rely solely on the numbers. Your instincts and judgement are also important.

Running a practice means keeping an eye on what’s going on. Or hiring people to do that and keeping an eye on them.

One more thing.

If you don’t run your own practice, if you work for someone, you still need to track your numbers. So that when it’s time for a performance review and you’re asked what you been doing, you’ll have some numbers to show them.


Another reason to write your own reviews


Yesterday, I talked about taking the nice things clients say about you, your services, and the way they were treated, putting their words into writing, and asking those clients to post a review at your favorite review site.

You get better reviews that way, and more of them.

But this is based on clients spontaneously thanking you or otherwise saying nice things to you or about you. What if they don’t? Or don’t do it enough?

You can send your clients surveys and ask for their feedback, and you should. You’ll find out what they like but may not say, and what they don’t like (so you can fix it).

But there’s something else you can do.

Sit down, sharpen your pencil, and write the review you would love your clients to write.

Yes, out of thin air.

And make it good.

Even if the things you write in that review aren’t true. Actually, especially if they aren’t true. Because this review isn’t really a review, it’s a wish list. A summary of the things you would like clients to say about you in the future.

Now for the good part. After you write this review, ask yourself, what would I have to do to get my clients to say things like this about me?

And do them.


3 things you should do every day


Every day, there are 3 things you should do.

The first is client work, obviously. Get the work done, the bills billed, the clients happy, and the bills paid.

The second thing is running the joint. Yes, marketing and management of your practice.

That’s true even if you work for a firm. You still want to bring in new business, build your brand or reputation, and do things that help you grow your practice and career.

It includes things like creating content, building relationships with influential people in your niche, strengthening relationships with your clients to foster repeat business and referrals, supervising and training your team, and improving your systems and workflows.

Third on the list, but no less important, is to work on yourself. We’re talking about personal and professional development. The stuff that makes everything else work.

It means improving your legal knowledge and your writing, speaking, and interpersonal skills. It means getting better at communicating, negotiating, and leading and managing people. And keeping up with technology.

So, 3 things every day.

Think of these 3 areas as legs on a stool. You need all 3 or the stool won’t stand.

How should you allocate your time? One third each? Not practical. Some days, you have nothing but client work and no time to do anything else. Some days you have other priorities.

But if you’re a rule-of-thumb type of person, that rule should be to do something in each area every day.

Even if that means making one call on your lunch hour or reading a couple of pages before you go to sleep.

Keep your hand in all 3 areas and do your best to not let a day go by without all 3.

Create recurring tasks in your task manager or calendar or habit tracker. Make this a habit.

Don’t let your stool get out of balance.

How to get more referrals from your clients


It’s time for that math talk again


Early in my career, when I started to get busy, I wasn’t yet making a lot of money, but I decided to hire some people. It was one of the smartest things I ever did.

I freed up time to do more billable work, more marketing, and to (finally) enjoy some time off.

Yes, I had to invest time to find them, train them, and supervise them, but basic math told me I was way ahead.

In today’s dollars, the math might look like this:

$40 an hour administrator vs. $400 an hour billable.

$10 an hour virtual assistant vs. $400 an hour billable.

Besides the math, think about all the things you do in your practice you don’t enjoy. Wouldn’t you like to have someone else do them for you?

“I can do it better,“ you say. “And faster.“

Probably so. But as long as the people you hire are “good enough,” you still come out ahead. And, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find that many people are better at some things than you are.

“They might screw up and cost me. I’ve been burned before.“

That’s why you supervise them. And maintain insurance.

“I don’t want to let go.”

I didn’t want to let go either. But I didn’t want to stay where I was, doing things I didn’t like and missing out on opportunities to grow.

“Good people are expensive.”

True. But not as expensive as you. Yeah, we’re back to math again.

“If I hire another attorney, they might leave and compete with me.”

Yes, they might. But they might not.

“I have people working for me now. I don’t want any more.”

Does that mean you don’t want more business? Bigger cases? More income?

Or more free time?

You don’t?

Is that your final answer?

Fair enough. You might have everything you need and want, just the way you like it.

One more question and I’ll let you go.

If someone really good came along and offered to work for you for free, would you be able to find something for them to do?

What’s that? They would have to pay you to work for you?

Your math skills are Jedi level. I’ll stop talking now.


Remember to wear pants


You’re speaking to a prospective employee over Zoom. You ask questions, they ask questions, it’s going well, and then they ask you to do something unusual. They ask you to move your camera and show them around your office.

What? Why?

Maybe they want to see your books or tchotchkes, what’s on your desk or hanging on your wall. Maybe they want to see if you’re organized and tidy, or you’re a slob.

Would you show them? Would you object?

A woman had to make that decision recently during a job interview. The recruiter asked her to “show her around the room”. When she asked why, the recruiter said, “You can tell a lot about a person from the way their room looks.”

The interviewee said she was uncomfortable and the recruiter backed off.

And then there were the comments.

Many were indignant or angry on behalf of the interviewee, using words like, “Invasion of privacy,“ “Intrusive,“ “Unprofessional,“ and “Unfair”.

But some thought it was a reasonable request.

What say you?

I say, you might ask this question, or something similar, the next time you interview a prospective employee.

No, not to see if their office is a mess, they worship Satan, or they have a pet alligator, although it might be good to know those things. The real reason is to see how they respond.

Are they uncomfortable? Frazzled? Angry? Defensive? Or cool as a cucumber? Do they blush and get tongue-tied or do they laugh it off and say, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”?

If they decline, do they do it respectfully or do they tell you to bugger off?

You want to know if they can handle a little pressure, don’t you? Because that goes with the job.

Of course, they may also ask you to show them around your office, so remember to hide your alligator and put on some damn pants.


Make sure your clients have these


You want your clients to make your job easier, don’t you? To help you do a better job for them?

Yes you do.

You also want your clients to help you prosper. Send you more work (theirs and referrals), promote your events, send traffic to your website, and do other things that help your practice grow.

So, help them. Send them the information you want them to know.

  1. About their legal matter—what will happen, what they need to tell you, what they need to do, what they need to avoid.
  2. About you. What you do, what it’s like to work with you, why they made a good decision to hire you (and stick with you).
  3. How to help the people they know get the benefits and solutions you offer.

Substantive information (reports, checklists, forms about the law and procedure), and information about you and how to work with you.

Examples of the latter:

  • A summary of your practice areas and services—your capabilities and solutions
  • Information the client should record and/or send you
  • FAQ’s—Questions prospective clients and new clients ask, and your answers
  • Your bio, your firm’s bio
  • Awards and accomplishments
  • Testimonials, reviews, success stories
  • A description of your ideal client (and what to do when they recognize them)
  • Hand outs: information reports, business cards, checklists, referral cards
  • Links to your socials, websites, channels
  • Your content: books, blogs, articles
  • Your events (seminars, videos, podcasts)
  • Talking points: what to say to people about you and your solutions
  • Your policies and procedures re protecting your clients and safeguarding their data
  • Other: what to do in an emergency, where to park, how to reach someone after hours, how to do a Zoom, what not to send via email, etc.
  • A pitch to sign up for your newsletter and/or subscribe to your blog
  • What to do if they have questions, a new legal issue, or their existing problem worsens
  • When to contact you about an update or to discuss additional services

Make a list of information you want your clients to know and a schedule for delivering it. Some should be sent to (or handed to) new clients, some should be sent at the end of the engagement, some in the weeks and months that follow, and some should be sent every year.

And get writing.

Then, do something similar for your professional contacts.

It may seem like a lot of work, but (a) you don’t have to do it all at once, (b) you probably have a lot of content you can use, and (c) most of what you write will only have to be written once.

Which means you’ll be able to automate the process of helping clients help you.

The Attorney Marketing Formula