The article has been written by Bhavna Singh, Fairfield School of Law, Kapashera affiliated to Indraprastha University Delhi. In the article, the author talks about 5 commandments which are important to be followed to establish a big law firm. Many big law firms follow these commandments to maintain their success.
Most of the people start their law firms with full enthusiasm and efforts. But after some time they fail and they have to close it. They had strategies, planning then what was the reason behind the failure? Maybe they did some mistakes. Maybe something important was missing. Some mistakes which can’t be improved and they have to close the firm. Let see, how one can establish a successful law firms by following the commandments.
I have found the book “The Millionaire Fastlane” authored by MJ Demarco. In the book, the author suggests us to follow 5 commandments to avoid making mistakes while opening a legal start-up. He named these commandments as “CENTS”. Most of the Million dollars law firms follow these commandments to make and maintain the success of their firms.
Imagine you open an office in the basement of your neighbour’s house and one of your friends also opens an office in his own house. What do you think whose office is more secure?
Of course, your friend’s office because he has control over it. If someday your neighbour will need his basement for some reasons then he can remove you or you have to leave the office. The author says that you must have control over your business. Either you can lose your empire within a minute.
In there are two partners in a law firm then It is important to keep in mind that you have control over your part. Either you can lose your share in the firm and then you have to invest many years to fight the case and to get back the part.
Sometimes a control more than a limit can suffocate the environment you must control the system in a way that it should have enough space to breathe in and grow easily.
One of my seniors had opened a legal courses series. His courses were good in quality and provided the best quality study material. Many students have started pursuing courses. Even people from a non-legal background started pursuing those interesting courses.
But after some time some other lawyers have copied the courses and they also started providing a lecture series. Many students had opted their courses and my senior had started lost many students. After some months my senior had only a few students remaining to teach. Ultimately he had to close the courses.
The author tells us to choose a business which not even add value to the life of people however it must be difficult to copy. So that other people can’t enter the market and you can enjoy a good profit and monopoly for a longer period of time.
Different lawyers have different ways and strategies to work. They keep it secret and provide good results. Why a magician is impossible to be copied? Because he doesn’t reveal his secrets. Be like a magician.
It is good to follow your passion but your passion can be transformed into a successful start-up only if it is useful to people. Need is the centre of a legal start-up. Provide what people are looking for.
It must satisfy the needs of people only then you can make it bigger. Many people open startups but their brilliant ideas are not interesting to people so they have to close it.
My senior has noticed that colleges provide legal education but they don’t provide legal skills. A lawyer must be an expert in legal skills. E.g. he must have drafting skills, research skills etc. Students have to intern to learn the skills. Either they spend years to learn skills after completing their law degree. So he decided to provide legal courses to teach legal skills to the students. He created courses which can be easily opted by a student even during his college days. Students have to give only 6-7 hours a week. It was helpful for the students, they could save their time and could easily get good internships and jobs.
You can’t make a huge law firm if it needs you. Imagine you run a law firm, and you have to be there for the whole time, indirectly, I would say that the firm won’t earn anything if you are not there. Then it won’t be considered as a legal start-up or a law firm however you have created a job for yourself. If you hire more lawyers in your startup. Them it would be called a law firm/ startup. The law firm must be free from your time. It shouldn’t get affected if you are not there.
My senior didn’t provide legal courses however he had created a system to provide the best quality courses. He was free from the courses. The system didn’t get affected if he didn’t come to the office for some days. Courses were run by a separate team however he was the leader of it.
Your start-up must be easily scalable so that you can handle a lot of clients at a single time. Scaling is important to transform your start-up into a big law firm. Scaling includes opening up different branches at different places or one can expand the size of his office. I am not talking about physical size. It’s about increasing the numbers of associates. Increasing contacts so that the law firm can get more clients.
Imagine you are an expert criminal lawyer and you decided to teach criminal law to the students so you have started classes in the basement of your house. Within a month you got 90 students and now you don’t have more space in your basement so you decided to expand it. You had found a bigger place for more students.
Well, after a certain time, you won’t be able to expand space for students and you won’t be able to give more time. You are a single person and you have only 24 hours a day.
Instead of it, if you have started online classes or you have recorded videos of your lectures then you could be able to teach more students with lesser efforts and expenditure. You could make some online applications to expand your legal start-up. You could even hire more people to add more lectures for different subjects. Find a way to easily expand your start-up or start with which can be easily expanded.
Expanding your start-up will have two advantages
Increase in Your Strength
It will grow your start-up. You will be able to provide your services to a larger number of people. You can easily increase your revenue and connections. It will increase the size of your team as well. When you will open more branches then you will need more lawyers and another supporting team. And naturally, it will increase your strength.
Better options for People
People are looking for the best quality services. They are even ready to pay a higher amount. If you provide the best quality services then it would be helpful for the common people. They stuck with the names of high profile law firms, they join high-class colleges and pay a high amount of fees but still, they don’t get what they are looking for.
My senior had started a course series. It not only gave good results to him but many law students got skilled. They got hired in big law firms. Many of them got experience which they could get only after working for 2-3 years in some small or big law firms. Students are happy that they have a platform where they can easily learn all the skills with full support. It was really helpful to them. Sometimes a start-up is helpful to you but it is more helpful to the people. They pay high fees to get your services.
It is simply connected to the value that how valuable your product and services are. If these have value then you won’t need to go to people however they will come to you to buy your product.
So these were the five commandments to establish a successful law firm. Most of the big law firms follow these commandments and its the reason behind their success. Read it, understand it and apply.
When we do something without sufficient knowledge and preparation. It has high chances to fail. Well, we learn from failures but we can’t afford to fail every time. Why shouldn’t we eliminate all the possibilities to fail so we can have more time to improve ourselves.? We can have the proper knowledge to open a start-up but we are in so hurry that we just open one. It is good to take action but we can’t just start climbing a mountain without proper preparations. E.g. sports shoes, ropes, oxygen cylinder etc.
Observe big law firms, where they focus more. I have seen people working only for 8 hours but still, the firms are the best firms. On the other hand, lawyers work 18 hours a day still sometimes they are not able to manage their work. Find the difference. I have tried to sum up most of the part maybe it can help you out.