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How To Become Rich as a Lawyer

published July 29, 2021

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Many lawyers and students fresh out of law school go into the legal industry with the vision of being able to earn a ton of money and become extremely rich. Some of them succeed, but most attorneys are not able to fulfill this dream. This article will give you a few tips and steps on how you can earn a lot of money practicing law regardless of where you went to school or what practice area you are in. Unfortunately, very few attorneys and law students know these things, but you can really turn around your career and become as rich as you want if you understand them.
 

The first thing I want to emphasize is that you should not go into the practice of law just because you want to earn a lot of money. It is not impossible to succeed, but if you have some talent, skills, and drive to practice law, it is much easier (and enjoyable). Also, money is not a cure-all for problems, and it will not bring happiness to your life on its own. However, if you want to learn how to find success and become rich as a lawyer, read on.

 

Approach Practicing Law Like a Business


Law firms and the whole legal industry are businesses. So, it would be best if you thought like a businessman. Businesspeople understand opportunities and have the talent to see and utilize these opportune moments everywhere they go.

Many years ago, I was in the process of buying a law.net domain to advertise our services, and right in the middle of this procedure, the price of the domain decreased significantly because of some changes in the online domain world. However, the seller insisted on the original price. I was not happy about that, understandably, so the seller wanted to keep the sale by linking me to a very successful guy purchasing and selling leads to legal services.

Brandon Pollak basically owned a law firm without being a lawyer or ever going to law school. He purchased leads for cases from many different sources in the legal profession, evaluated them, then kept the best ones for his firm and sold the rest to other law firms. And while he was not an attorney, he employed a great team of lawyers to work on the cases he kept. He was very successful with this system, and I was amazed.

He wanted me to work with him and buy leads from me, but I declined. I was doing well in the business I was in, which still is that of legal recruitment. If you know what you want to do in life, the best thing is to keep doing it and keep improving. I know that I should not stray away from what I am doing now and what I am good at. But I learned a lot about how a successful law firm business should be run and how anyone - even someone who is not an attorney - can do it.

To understand what Brandon is doing, you need to step outside your lawyer-self for a minute and start thinking like a businessman. In law firms, people are managing other people. Some bring in the clients and the business and those who work tirelessly on it. And lawyers in the leading positions always think about bringing in more business, how to scale it, and how to bring in more people to do the work and grow in success. That is how it works in every business.

Every law firm business has to develop and promote its brand, develop leads and convert the leads into business, i.e., clients and cases, hire and manage the right attorneys to do the work, and then refine this process to grow. You can find details about performing these steps and how to get rich in the legal industry below.
 

Develop and Promote Your Brand as a Lawyer


To become successful as an attorney and earn a lot of money, you have to develop and promote your unique brand. The best attorneys have learned to become experts in this.

One of the ways you can help build your brand is specialization. The more specialized you are, the more unique your brand is, and it is consequently easier to promote it and find your clients.

If you are a young associate, your brand should be keeping a low profile and doing what you can to impress the right senior partners. You should go above and beyond to do any work they need, and if you can, be proactive and predict what they might need to push the business further. When you become indispensable to them, they will carry you with them and help you make a lot of money.

However, to become REALLY successful and to earn at least the six figures you want, you have to venture out on your own at some point. The sooner you do it, the better. Of course, you should already have the right skills, some experience, and know the right attorneys, which is why you first need to work under the right attorneys. But the most successful, rich lawyers are always the ones who bring in business themselves. And especially those who can bring in business from big major clients that are willing to pay a lot and provide a consistent stream of work. They control their legal careers and do not have to rely on someone else to earn money.
 

Building a Brand the Right Way in the Legal Profession


Many attorneys try to develop their brand and business by getting close to clients of other lawyers and then slowly overtaking them by offering to do the job for less money, giving them more attention, offering them additional services, and "one-upping" the other attorney. They often do this thinking that they will eventually steal this client once they leave the firm to go somewhere else.

But the truth is, long-term clients rarely move with attorneys who are leaving to a different firm or are starting on their own. They are often scared to leave the big brand name firm and go somewhere where they do not have the same certainty. And they are right to do it. Lawyers like to think that if they are the main point of contact taking care of the client, they will follow them anywhere they go. But clients' loyalty usually lies with the firm, not with the singular attorney they are talking to the most. It can happen, but it is not common. And there are much better ways to build your brand than stealing clients.

The best thing to do is decide what your brand will be and then go hard after it. You need to develop a "unique selling proposition," which makes you unique in the eyes of potential clients. Some attorneys are lucky and are related to someone prominent in the legal industry, or they are already vocal about some related issues that help them create their unique brand. Others have to work a bit more to develop the unique characteristics that will help them differentiate themselves from others.

While it sometimes might be enough to build your brand around the law school from which you graduated or your previous law firms, it is always better to add something else to it. Many lawyers come from the same school or have the same (or even better) law firms on their resumes. But if you find something you are passionate about and use it to create this brand, it can do wonders. When you are interested in something, it is much easier to become an expert in it, and it is also much more believable in the eyes of your prospective clients. When you stand for something, you will have a solid brand to promote and attract clients.

One of my friends from law school started a child's rights law firm specializing in suing school districts that failed to accommodate children in need. Another litigation lawyer I found out about sued companies for not putting special warnings on carcinogenic products. There are opportunities everywhere. Maybe there is a social issue you are passionate about that you can focus on in your practice. You might have a unique specialization that is not easily found. You might have worked on a special case in your law firm job where you gained skills other attorneys do not usually have. Whatever your unique take on the practice of law is, find it and use it to your advantage.

Once you have figured out your brand, promoting it to get yourself in front of the right people is another vital step. Have a beautiful, inviting website that is updated regularly and appears on the top positions in searches. Join organizations where you can meet clients to let them know about your services. Give talks and write articles in places where your clients might see them. You have to get into the circles where your prospective clients are and show them what you can do for them.

It would help if you built your brand around what you can do for your clients, not who you are. Your law school, previous employers, your race, sexuality, or religion are not your brand. They can be a part of it, but they do not build a brand. Find something special and unique you can do for people based on your background and experiences, and you just created your brand.
 

Generate Leads for Law Firms


A brand is not enough. Many lawyers like to think that if they are smart and talented, it is enough, and the clients will find them regardless of whether they are promoting themselves. That is naive to think. People have to find out about you to come to you with their problems.

You should always dedicate a certain amount of time to active promotion. It is the only way actually to generate leads. When you have your brand, you know what people your services cater to. Find out where they can be found, go there, and be seen. Good attorneys always give talks, go to events often, meet new people daily, and promote their brand regularly. Once people know about you and know exactly how you can help them, they will seek you out when they have problems or need advice.

You can have the most amazing specialization in the legal market, come from the top law school and a great law firm, but if most people have no idea about you or what you do, they will not come to you. The only way to be successful is to figure out a system of promotion that will generate leads and clients for you regularly.

I learned this from all of my various business ventures throughout my career. Whether it was an asphalt business or student loans, generating leads was the main thing if I wanted to make any money.

When I worked as an asphalt contractor, I went out several times a week, knocked on every door, and offered my product. I talked to a handful of people about my business every day and knew that I would not have as much work and as much money as I wanted if I did not do this. And the same applied to the practice of law.

The most successful attorneys are always the ones who can promote themselves the best. Because those have the most clients and the most business. An attorney who works for one of the most known and successful lawyers in the country once told me that his boss is not successful because of winning many cases. His record is honestly not that good. He is just very talented and proactive in promoting himself. He was able to get involved in very high-profile cases that helped put him in front of the right clientele. A good promotion without talent will still get you a lot of clients. If you have great skills AND the ability to promote yourself, you will generate a lot of work and successfully fight for your clients.
 

Convert Leads Into Clients


Getting many leads is great, but unless you convert them into clients, they are just that - leads. With more years of experience under your belt, it is natural that more leads will come your way. People you have helped before will often refer you to their friends and family if they were satisfied with your work, your own close ones are spreading the word around, you have already established a network of clients, etc. Your task is now to convert these leads into business and into paying clients.

It works similarly to meeting someone you are interested in. When you ask for their contact information and give it to you, it is just a lead. Something might come out of it but does not have to necessarily. You now want to convert it into a date. If you use the right words, it will work. If you approach it from the wrong angle, you can scare the person away.

The best way to successfully convert leads, both professional and personal, is through a direct connection. Getting to know people, taking an interest in them, and listening to them is the best thing you can do.

Whenever I choose to work with an attorney, I notice what they are doing right and making mistakes. If an attorney is unwilling to listen and engage in what I am saying actively, I do not want to work with them. If they are hard to get in touch with and it takes weeks to arrange a normal conversation, it is also someone I would rather pass on. Also, if they do not try to connect with me, I have no reason to spend time working with them. These are common mistakes many lawyers make and can be fatal in converting leads.

Once, I was looking for an attorney to help me with a case; one of the candidates told me his billing rate was over a thousand dollars an hour. Most of the other attorneys I looked at had lower rates, so I asked how this attorney justifies his rate. He did not have a good reason. He told me that this is the rate he has with a big law firm, and that is it. That is not a good strategy. It did not convince me at all. The attorney I chose had a higher rate (not as high as this previous one, but it was still more than most attorneys I talked to). Still, he spent hours listening to my case, showed me around the office, talked about similar cases he has worked on and won, and he showed me how hard he was willing to work to win the case.

In the end, he did not have the results he promised me, but they spent hours of their time without additional charges to compensate for not delivering the results I expected. Of course, I talked positively about them everywhere I went as they had a great strategy and worked hard to keep their promises.

Offering more than competitors to potential clients, building trust and personal connection, and letting them know that they are important to you is the way to convert leads into real clients successfully.
 

Hire the Best-Fitting People To Work on Your Business


To become one of the rich folks, you cannot do everything on your own. You need to be able to recruit smart people that are right for the job you have for them.

Most lawyers never get to the stage in their career in which they have a team of attorneys working for them. Some get to this stage but make critical mistakes and fall as quickly as they have risen. So, it would be best if you were smart about it.

But if you want to be successful, you need to recruit other people. If you are working solo, you can do significantly less work, bill fewer hours, and take on fewer clients than when working with a team of skilled lawyers. If you want to become rich, you have to work on a big scale, which is only possible with other people on board.

But you cannot just recruit any lawyer that applies to work for you. The type of attorneys you choose to work with you are directly connected to how successful you can be and how much money you can have.

The type of people you need depends on many factors, such as practice areas you focus on, the market you reside in, the type of clients you represent, the size of the firm, and many more. It would be best to have very different kinds of lawyers based on these attributes, and knowing the differences can make or break your success. The better and bigger a law firm is, the more specific its recruiting needs are and the more people they need.

If you want to grow in success and wealth as an attorney, you need to constantly recruit new attorneys who are right for the type of work you do. So, you should figure out a way to attract the right ones. You can do so by offering them money, experiences, autonomy, flexibility, guidance, etc. But you need first to figure out what type of recruits you need to succeed and what type of incentive will lock them in.
 

Learn How To Manage Attorneys Working for You


You can hire the best attorneys for your work, but your productivity and success will still be lacking if you do not know how to manage them effectively. Your employees will not be happy, and they will also not know how to do their work properly for what you need.

You have to have an incentive for your employees to make them want to work and be productive and have a system of career advancement and compensation scheme as no one wants to try hard and still be stuck in one place for a long time or not get properly compensated for their hard work.

Managing people effectively is also critical when you are trying to expand your firm. Opening several offices simultaneously and recruiting many attorneys can make managing people very challenging, and many law firms fail right at this moment.

Management skills are difficult, and not everyone has them. But with time, effort, and experience, you can get better at it. In management courses or networking with talented managers, you can pick up valuable skills that will help you motivate employees (and keep them motivated), attract the right type of attorneys, and put off those that do not fit in with your firm.
 

Profit From What You Set in Motion


You might be wondering why I am making this a separate point in the get-rich blueprint. How can you succeed in all of the steps above and not profit for yourself? Well, this is easier than it might seem.

Many law firms fail to profit because they pay too much to their partners. Other firms spend too much money on their associates or contractors.

These are all law firm's expenses that you want to keep as low as possible to profit. Law firms are businesses just like any other, so you want to pay attorneys as little as possible for as much work as possible. It might sound exploitative, but it is just how the world of business works. Of course, you have to find the right balance of compensating attorneys well enough to want to stay with the firm while also not overpaying them to profit.

If your law firm spends too much money on things such as salaries or office spaces, it is bound to fail sooner or later. You have to control the firm's expenses not to overspend but also spend enough money to attract good talent and seem representative in front of clients.
 

Perfect the Process and Repeat It


The last step of this law business model blueprint is to improve the process and repeat it again and again.

In the past, promoting your firm was very different from the methods that are currently utilized. Just a few decades ago, firms almost inclusively posted ads in papers and Yellow Pages. Now you would not get many clients that way. Today, you have to go online and use the power of the internet to generate leads and get clients. Methods for recruiting and managing attorneys have changed as well, just as communicating with prospective clients.

You have to regularly go through the whole process and improve it wherever you can to increase your success and get rich as a lawyer.
 

Conclusions


If you want to have a successful legal career and become one of those wealthy lawyers, this article gave you a starting point in how to do it. Following the mentioned steps will help you in your career path. However, they all include a lot of work you have to do and knowledge you have to gain for yourself to come out on top. Still, it is your best chance to get into the world of big firms and earn a lot of money to have a comfortable life.

See also:
 

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