05.08.2020

Strategic law firm development: How lawyers become great goal keeper

Business Coaching for lawyers and their law firm strategy

What is the difference between a leisure kicker and a professional footballer? The ball is round, the decisive factor is on the pitch and each game lasts ninety minutes. 

But while the passion for the amateur is in the foreground, the joy of playing is at best a means to an end for the professional. For him it's about market value, about economic success. It is measured by goals, not by beauty or ballroom dancing elegance. 

It's quite similar with us lawyers. 

Everyone thinks they are professionals: like the gods of football, we have undergone a grueling education and hard selection in order to make a living from what we do. However, many of us consider experience, (negotiating) skills and (specialist) knowledge to be the decisive values and confuse success for our clients with our own. 

The fact that it is all about scoring goals, about hard economic success, is overlooked. Where, please, is the gate here? What many lawyers and law firms lack is a proven strategy. 

It's not so much because lawyers don't understand strategy. 

Defining a goal, setting our sights on it and working towards it tactically is omnipresent for us lawyers when we are concerned with the claims of our clients. 

But like shoemakers who have the worst shoes, we place too little emphasis on developing and pursuing our own business strategy. Studies show that economic success depends not only on the quality of service, but at least as much on the personal objectives of the company owner, the business plan and business strategy, and the implementation of structures and systems. 

Simply relying on acquisition, training and further education is therefore not enough for us lawyers either. It is well known that there is a need for optimisation in the implementation of structures and processes, i.e. in the organisation and management of law firms. But to start there would mean putting the cart before the horse. In times of increasing competition, eighty percent of law firms lack the personal and entrepreneurial strategy that ensures the economic success of our legal work, taking into account the specifics and requirements of our profession as well as private satisfaction. 

The basic prerequisites for economic success are therefore lacking. The urgency is increasing. 

164,000 lawyers are admitted in Germany. Since 1990, the number of admissions has tripled. Whereas in 1950 there were 5,000 inhabitants for every lawyer, there are now only 5004. The law courses are overcrowded despite admission restrictions. 

A lawyer today earns less from the same activity than years ago. 

In other sectors, one can be helped in such times by coaching. This is rather rare among lawyers. When life and business coaches compare us lawyers with business executives and complain that "many lawyers are far from fulfilling the requirements for economically successful partners ", it becomes clear that there is a need for clarification on all sides. 

On the one hand, the consultants, who have simply not yet understood that it contradicts our self-image as a liberal profession and the demands made on us as an organ of the administration of justice to act professionally like executives and managers in the free economy. To stick to the sports image: here a basketball coach requires the soccer player to try basket throws. That does not work indeed. 

On the other hand, however, it also works for us lawyers. A football team would certainly not come up with the idea of hiring a basketball coach. Only those who know the rules of the game and have their own experience of games and tournaments will be accepted. Just as a lawyer specialising in IT law must have PC and Internet experience. 

So why book coaches from other industries and later be accused that the coaching success only did not occur because you yourself were not coachable? There are alternatives: coaches who speak your language. Coaches who are experienced lawyers themselves. 

Who, like lawyers, are explicitly committed to confidentiality and work with professional liability insurance. Who know the requirements for secure data transmission and § 15 FAO. 

What the soccer coach is to the professional soccer player, the lawyer is to the lawyer's coach: 

Good, solid business coaching for lawyers and legal professionals can only be provided by lawyers and legal professionals who know what is important in our industry and who have a certified professional coaching education.

Maybe that's the way to score and keep goals again.

Read also our article about "how your law firm becomes a team".

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