Thursday, May 8, 2014


Last week I had a conversation with a managing partner of an AM Law 100 firm that has grown significantly through lateral hires and we discussed the “portable book of business” issue.

He said that he isn’t looking for a portable book of business; rather he is looking for a mindset.

Makes sense. Do you buy a ¼ drill bit or are you buying a ¼ inch hole?

His point was that looking at someone’s practice whether they are growing or trending up or are they in the same range for 3-4 years? Where do people stop and why?

Most attorneys that I speak with have originations in the same average that they did 5 years ago, give or take a bad year or two. But what makes a 500k practice not reach 1 million, or a 1 million dollar practice not become 2 million? Mindset.

The chasm starts with a fundamental truth about attorneys that makes them great attorneys. Risk aversion. Entrepreneurs take risks to grow business; attorneys are there to manage risk. When to use one side of your brain to grow your practice and the other side that has to show confidence and competence.

As we start Q2, are you looking forward with a full pipeline and wind at your back, or looking backwards at a rough start to 2014? Mindset.

Most of what I hear are self-imposed limits when I speak with attorneys. A comfort zone has been reached; more business means more staff, more headaches, etc.

Although some will never say it, they do not believe that they deserve to do or have more. How will success affect their relationships with friends, family, and colleagues? People love to project fears and envy on people that succeed. Dealing with success for many is harder than dealing with failure.

If failure is in the past and success is in future. Where do you stop? Is status quo safer and more fulfilling than growth? If so, why? What barriers are truly holding you back?

Random baseball zen: (Don’t backhand a ball that you should be able to get in front of.)

Speaking with the managing partner made me understand that dynamic and why some firms succeed and some fail. It’s safe to hire someone that can keep themselves busy, makes a reasonable compensation, and works well with others. Hiring on mindset means having to invest in resources, planning, looking 3-5 years into the future more than 3 years of past originations.

For more information on client development best practices contact please call Andrew Wilcox at (850) 629-9073, or