I have been an attorney since 1989 and since 1998 have been in my own solo practice handling exclusively personal injury cases. My solo practice started slowly in 1998 and continued on a path of steady but slow growth over the next 9 years. This occurred even though I had no clear plan for marketing, organization and general office administration. I advertised in the yellow pages but had no other real marketing effort in place. I focused on returning client’s phone calls and attempting to obtain a good result for them. These efforts paid off as I am confident that many of my new cases were and still are coming from old client’s referrals. In about 2007 I realized that business was stagnant and unless I made some changes, my firm would not keep up with competition from new lawyers attempting to grab a percentage of the market and old lawyers spending more money then me on advertising and marketing on television, newspapers, the Internet, billboards, radio, etc.
It was in 2007 that I attended an Atticus® Seminar and shortly thereafter began my coaching with Nora. I am sure I was not the model Atticus® student because there is still so much Atticus® recommends that I have yet to implement. However, when I look back at what I have implemented since then, I realize that my practice is completely changed now. The areas that Atticus®, and my coaching with Nora, help me with, include my law office time management, hiring and communicating with staff, and marketing.
In particular, the time management skills I learned have actually been embedded into our office procedures now so I have blocks of time during the day to get uninterrupted work done. My staff automatically sets telephone conferences with clients at designated times during the day so I don’t get constantly interrupted from a current task. My staff interrupts me now only for the two most important things – a new client or an adjuster calling to settle a pending case in negotiation. I now have systems in place for opening files, following up on tasks, following up with staff, etc. I no longer come to the office ready to “put out fires” all day. I am actually in control now of what I do.
In regard to the staff, we now have a system for handling their questions and problem files at particular times of the day to avoid the constant interruptions. They now know clearly what tasks I am expecting to be done and they are much more efficient now.
I have focused my marketing efforts now in the way Nora and Atticus® taught me. I may not be perfect but just making a list of your best referral sources and communicating with them in some way regularly makes a huge difference. I joined some organizations and became more active with the Broward Bar Solo Law Firm Marketing Group and have gotten some really good referrals from other lawyers there.
There are so many ways I have tweaked my practice and the best thing is, I have not been working any longer then before. I have become more efficient. Also, now, I look at marketing a whole different way and I realize Atticus® shows you how to develop what you have already, to get new business, even if you can’t compete financially with the larger firms and their advertising budgets.
Finally, I have remained very profitable even with a drop in new business due to the economy this year and I still have time for basketball three days a week, spin classes at the gym two mornings a week, four days with a personal trainer in the gym, guitar lessons once a week and various activities to attend with my three kids. My wife and I even get to Marco Island a little more often then we used to.
It seems as if my life is much more organized now – both at work and at home. Nora’s guidance helped me stay on track, and her suggestions and tips as problems come up are invaluable. She is also really good at helping you take a step back to realize all the changes that you have made for the better. I recommend Atticus® and Nora’s coaching to anyone in my situation.