I was recently working with a client who won a big case and he wasn’t very excited. I said to him, “This is an important victory, you should be celebrating!”
He said to me, “Yeah, we won, but at what cost?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve spent months on this case, worked tirelessly, for hours. And yeah, we won. But my clients don’t pay me, I don’t even like them, and I’ve already lost $50,000 in time and expenses that I’ll never get back. There is no reward coming for me, just endless appeals. It feels good to win, but at what cost?”
As a person who is trying to grow your practice, one of the hardest lessons to learn (and unlearn) is that winning isn’t everything. Winning doesn’t pay your mortgage, your Westlaw expenses, your payroll. It’s nice to win, but it’s better to be financially free, secure in your firm and what you are doing.
It starts with how you choose your cases. Selecting the right cases and clients is one crucial step toward creating a “power practice.”
When I first work with clients, they often have the “I’ll work with anyone” mentality. They think that by working with anyone, they will get to pay their bills and that it will help them get through the current months.
But when you think like that, you aren’t using your foresight. Taking on cases that you’d rather not take on to pay the bills now is going to drain you later – and the cost will often be much more than what you receive in return.
To a certain extent, you are like a smoker. The smoker is receiving temporary relief from life’s anxieties, but in the end it’s going to hurt much more.
Right now, look at your current roster of cases. Are there any cases that are draining you? Are there any cases you can see taking on lives of their own that will only make life harder for you in the future? Use your power of foresight (it is a power, especially since we rarely use it) to see what is the cost of your current crop of cases and get out of the ones that are red flags.
See the future you are currently shaping. And then design it in a way so that when you win, you can celebrate and know it was a job well done and a reward well deserved.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can strategically select clients, watch this video http://youtu.be/ZDAfAny6Nfo and take the survey at alecborenstein.com/powerpractice.