I am pleased to share my feelings about the experience. It has been extremely positive for me, and would want many other attorneys to experience the energy associated with re-engineering their firm.
The Practice Builder program, combined with the efforts of the Atticus® team, including my coach, Vinnie Bonnazolli, has given me a fresh vision of how the practice of law can, and should be. As a former CPA, and a former CFO, I realized that I had lost a sense of my law practice being a business. I thought my law practice was much more than that, being a profession of service. Unfortunately, I have realized that without parameters as to time limits, my law practice took over my life. And it has also taken the joy from my life. Thus, by looking at the Practice Builder through the eyes of a business owner, I can see that my law practice is only part of my life, and that by living an intentional life, and that by re-engineering my firm – intentionally – I can add energy to my practice and revitalize my entire life.
I think the key phrase that grabbed me from the Practice Builder was the phrase “living in the moment” or, put another way, “being present.” When an attorney can ride a horse across Mongolia, or whatever, it will allow him to be more present in the time that he is practicing law. Since the Practice Builder session has ended, I am taking half hour meetings with clients, key clients, and extending them. Last Friday, the Executor of the largest estate I have ever had was in my office executing estate planning documents for herself, and the meeting went on until 9 p.m., after we retreated to a local Mexican restaurant for Marguerites. We truly got to spend quality time together and I got to know more of what makes her click. Two days ago, a client came in to open an estate for her father, and my first question was “Tell me about your Dad.” Thirty minutes later, I really knew who the decedent was, and we, the daughter/fiduciary and I, had a bond, and I knew that we would be able to handle the estate better because we knew who he was. Thanks for the encouragement in “living in the moment.”
In a bigger picture, before Atticus®, I truly believed that my estate planning practice involved the drafting of documents to achieve a client’s goals for their estate plan. I now know I don’t draft documents for my clients. I understand that what they seek is peace of mind that what they want to have happen after their death, will happen. That means approaching the relationship differently, and it means tons of follow through, not just drafting a document, or documents. Regular, continuous communication becomes critical. This requires a restructure of my relationship with them.
Referral sources, both current and new, now get big eyes when I describe my vision for my practice. They see value for their clients and they see compassion in how we approach the client relationship. It is the difference between the sale of pies and providing a sense of care for the people taking a bite of the pie. Gerber got it right on this one.
Mark, thanks. I have a long way to go. My desk is still an incredible mess. My staff still has a long way to go to understand how and what we do. I still need to get rid of several of my clients. I still need to take control of my daily time schedule. But I now have a vision. And the vision is leading me to a place where I believe that I don’t have to sacrifice my life to have all that I wish for in life. And in fact, my personal mission statement, to be an instrument of God’s peace and to celebrate the peace, joy and passion of life in all that I do, is being fulfilled through my firm, rather than having my role in the firm frustrate my ability to accomplish my mission.
In a nutshell, I suspect that’s what you really wanted me to experience. I feel as though Atticus® has helped me find the right path.