You Got a JD, not an MBA — Do You Really Need a Business Plan for Your Law Firm?
To answer the question in my own headline: Yes, even lawyers need business plans. Lawyers especially need business plans sometimes. Talking to a business school graduate, or at least thinking like one every once in a while, can yield all types of value for lawyers.
Upon graduating from law school, attorneys know how to practice law. They don't often know how to create a business plan, manage staff or run a firm. MBAs, on the other hand, have spent years thinking about many of those things.
I've seen very good lawyers strike out on their own, only to see their law firms fail after just a couple of years. While they provide excellent legal representation, these attorneys lack the fundamental knowledge they need to create and run a business.
That's why attorneys shouldn't hesitate to tap into the expertise of their counterparts in business school — or at least spend some time thinking like business school graduates. Here are a few different ways to do that:
- Meet regularly with someone who has mastered the basics of business economics. Maybe your undergrad roommate went to B-school. Maybe one of your professional connections is willing to share his or her knowledge. It may be as simple as meeting for lunch or drinks after work a couple of times a year. And as you pick your counterpart's brain, he or she can do the same with you. That way, everyone wins.
- Spend some time thinking like a business person. This will probably require you to buckle down for a few days and do nothing but focus on your business plan. I always tell lawyers that they should carve out a weekend and rent a hotel room. With no distractions, you can get an amazing amount done.
- Seek out professionals. If you don't have any handy B-school friends or don't really want to take a weekend away, pay for the expertise.
Lawyers rightfully cringe when they hear about non-attorneys representing themselves. The law is complicated and requires years of study. It's the same with business planning. To learn more about how to manage the business side of your law firm, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.
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