CBA Record July-August 2020


FiveWays to Recession-Proof Your Law Practice: During the Pandemic and Beyond By Steve Fretzin L ately, I have observed some attorneys acting as if business will continue as it was pre-pandemic, doing little 2. What legal services can I sell during a recession? Do I have the opportunity to cross-market with my law partners or strategic partners?

what are you able to bill? To motivate yourself to improve, take stock of what you have. The greatest achievers are the ones who are motivated to get creative. Ask yourself what would motivate you to put yourself out there to grow your book. Is it money, security for your family, or having a portable book? Nothing gets done without motivation and a commitment to change. Step #2. Go after low-hanging fruit. As a lawyer coach, I understand the time pressures attorneys face every day. Between billable hours, family time, and sleeping, it’s amazing you’ve made it this far. If origi- nations must become a part of your life, focus on the easiest aspects first. By easy, I don’t mean that it’s easy to get, but rather, some business development activities will show faster results than others. Here’s my ranking of business opportunities that get real results, from easiest to hardest: • Get more business from existing clients;

or nothing to recession-proof their law practice. Have we learned nothing from the 2008 financial crisis? To ensure we do our best to overcome the pandemic and keep our businesses growing, here are five steps to begin recession-proofing your law practice today. Step #1. Think hard about what you have; commit to change. It’s time to properly evaluate your per- sonal and business situation to identify threats and look for opportunities in the marketplace. Ask yourself the following questions to see how well you’re prepared for a recession: 1. How will my practice area, prospec- tive/existing clients, and the pending recession affect my law practice for the remainder of the year?

3. How strong is my contact list of clients, referral partners, and centers of influ- ence? 4. What percentage of my work is from my own clients versus my partners? 5. What do I have in the pipeline for new business in 2020 that will stick? 6. What’s the contingency plan if the firm lays me off or if my business doesn’t return? If you have trouble answering these ques- tions, this indicates that you are not in a good place for sustainability in a recession. Job security is based on your value to the business (and of course your law firm is a business). A lack of originations, your own clients, or a strong pipeline of prospective clients will put you at serious risk. If clients leave the firm or reduce their legal spend,


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