Have you ever noticed how many attorneys complain (read: brag) about how busy they are? Have you ever been guilty of doing so? Perhaps you run into a fellow attorney you know at a social event or conference. While exchanging the obligatory greetings and asking how the other is doing, the “correct” mutual answer is always “I’m so busy” or some alternative, like:
“I can’t keep up.”
“I need a vacation.”
In my own business, helping attorneys grow their law firms, I hear those lines all the time. My clients say they're too busy to implement my recommended changes to the office, too busy to review the materials I send them… the list goes on.
I think attorneys wear their busy-ness as a badge of honor. It’s somehow supposed to evoke a combination of jealousy (because they’re obviously doing so well) and pity (because they obviously never get a break).
The problem is, being too busy is not a badge of honor. Quite the opposite, in fact. From a business standpoint, an attorney who is too busy has completely missed the point.
Remember, your law firm isn’t just a place where you practice law. It’s a business. The goal of your business isn’t to generate more work than you can handle. It’s to generate enough revenue so you don’t have to work as hard. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true: Success in business is about working smarter, not harder. It’s about finding ways to spend less time making more money.
This principle is precisely why, when I work with a client, I place so much emphasis on finding solutions that make the firm run more efficiently. Automating repetitive processes like billing and reports. Streamlining marketing systems so the leads practically generate themselves, and developing systematic follow-ups to turn those leads into clients. Finding ways to increase your perceived value so you can charge more for your services. The more your firm operates with these objectives in mind, the more your growth should increase your leisure time, not deplete it.
To me, true wealth isn’t just about having more money; it’s also about having more time. The real badge of honor, then, isn’t how much work an attorney has: It’s how much time off he can afford to take.