The cure for the overworked and overwhelmed attorney

I don’t know a single attorney who wants to work more. Oh they want more work, they just don’t want to work longer hours.

Unfortunately, we have been trained to believe in an absolute correlation between our income and the amount of work we do, but that correlation simply does not exist.

As a young lawyer starting my career, I had very little work and an income to match. When I finally learned marketing and starting bringing in more clients, naturally, my income and work hours increased. Eventually, I had lots of clients and incredibly long hours, obviously proving there is a correlation, right? Well, that depends.

I realized that I wasn’t happy working so much but I wasn’t willing to cut back my schedule if it meant cutting back my income. I struggled with this for a long time and, thankfully, I figured out how to do it. I was able to significantly reduce my work week without reducing my income. In fact, when I got things fully underway, my income took a dramatic leap.

There were a few things I did to make that happen. One of those was to get comfortable with delegating.

Attorneys are famously bad at delegating. There are a number of reasons, ranging from fear that the person to whom the work is delegated will screw up, to ego, the notion that, “nobody can do it as well as I can.” I had a little bit of both going on in my head; it took some effort to come to terms with these beliefs, but I did.

On the “screw up” issue, I realized that I would still be supervising my employees, I was the failsafe. I also realized that happiness (or a successful law practice) doesn’t require the complete absence of risk. Risk can be managed. That’s why God created “E & O” policies, after all.

As for the idea that I was the best one for the job, I simply had to accept the premise that if I was ever going to have relief from eighty hour weeks, “good enough” would have to be good enough.

Once I crossed the threshold of acceptance,  I began to see that there were many functions in our office I could let go of and, in fact, there were many functions where I really wasn’t the best person for the job. Once I started the process of handing over responsibilities to others and saw that the sky did not fall and, in fact, good things were happening, I embarked on a quest to delegate as much as possible. Eventually, my philosophy was to only do that which only I could do, and this was a major turning point in my career.

If you are overworked because of reluctance to delegate (or delegate as much as possible), I urge you to do as I did. Change your philosophy and learn some techniques. Your kids will be glad you did.

Getting started with online video–so simple, even an attorney can do it

youtubeOnline videos are easier to create than you might think. The video below shows you what I’m using to create my first online videos and how I’ve been able to use them to drive a lot of free traffic to this web site.

If you know of any resources I missed, please leave a comment. And please share on Twitter (Facebook, et. al.)

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li111bDWyow” type=”youtube”]Getting started with online video[/mc]

Attorney Turns Director–Debut Film Exposes American Bar Association Plot

David S. Ward is the Hollywood writer and director of “Field of Dreams,” “The Sting,” and many other amazingly successful films. I never met the man but when I lived in Beverly Hills I would sometimes get calls from his fans, telling me how much they enjoyed “my” latest movie. I confess to having a lifelong dream of writing novels and screenplays but for years, David M. Ward has lived in the shadow of David S. Ward.

Not anymore.

Today, my dream has become reality as I am now the writer, producer and director of my first motion picture.

Last week, I found out from Larry Bodine that the ABA wants to regulate marketing on the Internet. Big Brother wants to control just about everything we do online. According to Larry, the proposal would have a chilling affect on every aspect of attorney marketing:

  • Online social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter)
  • Blogging
  • Facebook and Linkedin profiles
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Gathering information through networking websites
  • Discussion forums
  • Lawyer websites
  • Use of case histories on law firm websites

Tom Kane echoed Bodine’s concerns and I do too.

We have enough rules. Too many rules. Unnecessary rules. We are regulated, micro-managed, watched, and warned, by the very organization that is supposed to represent our interests. True, the ABA has no direct jurisdiction over us but they wield tremendous influence over the bar associations that do.

Enough is enough

I decided to do something about it. This film, “The Convention,” is an urgent message to all attorneys to rise up and tell the ABA, “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

And now, I present to you, uncensored and uncut, “The Convention”:

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93lmTepypqU” type=”youtube”]The Convention: A young lawyer attends his first ABA Convention[/mc]

Okay, just having some fun but this is a very serious subject. I urge you to write to the ABA and tell them to keep their hands off. The cut off for discussion is December 15, so please voice your concerns and tell your colleagues to do the same.

The single most valuable skill for attorney marketing

copy writing for attorneysLearning how to write effective copy not only helped me to build a successful law practice, it helped me to sell millions of dollars of my signature marketing course and other products. Copy writing, which as been called “salesmanship in print” is an important skill for every attorney, even those with no intention of writing their own sales materials.

Effective marketing documents can make the different between unbridled success and abject failure. A change of headline or offer can increase the pulling power of a letter or ad or web site twenty-fold–and even more.

The best way to learn copy writing is to study effective marketing documents. When you see something good, something that’s working, perhaps something that made you buy a product or service, copy the sales letter or ad or web page so you can study it. Create a “swipe” file of letters, brochures, ads, web pages, newsletters, and other compelling copy, to study, for ideas and to use as models for creating your own documents.

(Shameless plug alert. . .) The Lawyers’ Marketing Toolkit is a swipe file of marketing documents for lawyers. It is a collection of referral letters, reports, ads, newsletters, brochures, and other marketing documents submitted to me for critique by lawyers in my marketing program–along with my (detailed) critiques.

Start your copy writing education by studying the sales letter for The Toolkit. Print the page, copy it, read and re-read it. It works and it could be the first document for your new swipe file.

After many years of collecting marketing documents in file boxes, today, I use Evernote to collect them electronically. It’s free and a great place to start your swipe file.

[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObHOvFoRLxk&feature=mfu_in_order&playnext=1&videos=QOSWMn-miTw” type=”youtube”]The single most valuable skill for attorney marketing[/mc]

Are you pursuing your dreams like Paul Potts did?

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