May 20, 2021 – I recorded this video blog post after seeing (what feels like) the hundredth ad aimed at attorneys who think, act, or use tools more like a CEO. I think the idea is solid. It got me thinking about the differences in my thinking when I was a small law firm owner — and what I’ve learned as a CEO.
I’ve had the privilege to grow two law firms and one tech company before starting LawLytics. I didn’t understand the marketable business value I was building in my practice in the early days. But, the equity I amassed in my marketing assets — in particular, my law firm’s websites — turned out to be pivotal in creating value that was attractive to other attorneys when I decided to sell my first law practice in Seattle. The same was true when I sold my Phoenix practice after starting my first legal technology company.
If you’re an attorney who wants to build value that you can harvest — and create assets that another attorney will be grateful to own when it’s time for you to move on from the daily practice of law — I hope that this video blog post helps spark ideas about how to use your firm’s website to simultaneously create revenue for your practice today and build transferrable equity that you can harvest down the road.
Video Transcript: (transcript by Otter.ai, not proofed, but looks fairly accurate)
I’ve seen a lot of advertisements recently pointed out attorneys, telling attorneys that their product or their service will help attorneys navigate their practice more like a CEO than an attorney. And the implications is, that’s a good thing. And I want to take a little time to talk about how the differences that I see between how attorneys think about their practices and how an experienced CEO might think about a law practice. I think the biggest difference is that attorneys think in terms of bringing in solving individual problems rinsing and repeating to keep up a stream of revenue, essentially playing whack a mole.
Whereas CEOs think of it in terms of building enterprise value through systems and processes, essentially building a mole trap, so to speak. So attorneys aren’t really taught in law school, how to build enterprise value. So unless you have an independent business background, or you’ve done a lot of reading to figure it out, it doesn’t come naturally, especially as you get into the trenches of trying to help individual clients with their individual legal problems, which is what most law firms are about. But when you think in terms of systems, and in terms of creating assets and enterprise value, you can create a law practice that not only feed you and your employees and your family while you’re practicing law, but it’s actually something that you can pass on and sell to another attorney or a law firm later on, when it’s time for you to move on and retire or do something else with your life.
I’ve built and sold to law practices in two different states, Washington and Arizona, before going into legal tech full time. And in each case, the acquisition value to the acquiring law firm was my systems, and my assets, and most importantly, my marketing assets. So there’s a lot of things that you can build up, that an attorney would be more efficient buying from you, then figuring out how to build and then building him or herself. So things that include stuff like forms, libraries, various technologies that you deploy into your practice and how you use those workflows, employee guidelines, training, company, culture, employee recruiting, financial model, and to some extent, your brand assets, your goodwill, your referral network, those things can be positioned in a way that isn’t specifically dependent on you, if it’s done right, or if the desire to transition to a new owner is identified early on, and then consciously cultivated, but the biggest asset that we see. And this was the case when I sold both my practices, and I’ve seen this even accelerate the biggest asset that attorneys have to sell. When it comes time to do whatever comes next is their marketing, specifically their law firms website. And when you do it right, when you build it on a platform that keeps you in control, rather than putting a marketing agency in control, you can build it to the point where it not only feeds your practice today, and predictively for as long as you need it.
But it creates enough momentum and gravity, if you will, that it’s something that another attorney or law firm is going to want to buy from you, when it comes time for you to go on to your next thing. And some of the law firm websites that we’ve seen attorneys build with LawLytics have a significant amount of value. Now I’m not just talking about selling a website to another attorney for 1000s or even 10s of 1000s of dollars. I’m talking hundreds of 1000s of dollars if not millions of dollars of value in an ultimate transaction.
So if you’re thinking like a CEO, and you’re thinking about building long term, enterprise value, as well as revenue and profit streams, it really makes sense to consciously think through the marketing piece, especially your website.
And if you’re wondering about how to do that, we have a lot of resources that can help you whether you’re a LawLytics member already, or whether you’re thinking about becoming a LawLytics member. And we can help be helpful in guiding you through that process of not only building something that works for you and takes care of your marketing needs today to be able to bring in individual clients with individual problems and individual billing or, or other forms of payment, such as as contingency fee collection at the end of the representation, but also that intrinsic value to that asset that you’re going to sell later on. So if you’re interested in exploring this, what I suggest you do is if you’re a LawLytics member already, just contact our support team. And we’ll be happy to help you understand whether you’re on the right track, whether you’re building the right things and and give you some coaching along the way.
And if you’re not yet a LawLytics member and are interested in discovering how LawLytics can help you build your website, whether you’re starting from scratch, or whether you’ve got an existing website that you’ve had for years, how to build that website, into an asset that ultimately another attorney will see value in paying for when it comes time for you to move on. The easiest way to understand that is to go ahead and schedule a demo from our website. It’s a 20 minute demo, it’ll give you a hands on firsthand feel for the system and how you can control it. And we can also talk with you during that time about turning your website into this type of asset.