Think about an automated machine. What comes to mind? Factories? Equipment? An ATM? Once it’s built, an automated machine can be run by something or someone besides the owner. That’s the important part.
Let’s think about the car metaphor. If you notice a tire pressure light, oil light or gas light come on, you’d take it to the shop to get repaired. The mechanic does the work, not you. If you’d like to transition from being the attorney who works in the law firm that you own to being the attorney who runs the law firm that you own, you need to become the beneficiary of the process.
A process owner is someone who has the authority to determine how a process should operate, and he or she is responsible for making sure that process continues to meet business and customer needs both today and into the future. If you’re not the process owner, you’re the beneficiary – simply someone who oversees the process without actively participating.
So, how do you make the transition? You add automation.
Too many attorneys spend their time wearing the $15-an-hour hat instead of running the firm. When you build your systems, figure out how they can run without you actually doing the work inside them. Remember: You don’t want to be the process owner of your business’s systems. You want to be the beneficiary of your business’s systems. Reap the benefits. Let others (or machines or automated processes) do the work.
The automation you implement might vary depending on the goals of your business. For example, if your rate is $300 an hour, but you want to wear a $3,000-an-hour hat where you’re leveraging your time (to generate valuable new business by speaking at a convention, say), use automation. What does that look like? Get other qualified attorneys or software to take your place. Let go of the wheel. Remove yourself from the process. This isn’t easy to do, since most attorneys are trained by law school and society at large to believe he or she who works hardest and puts in the most hours wins.
But that’s not how you win in business. Not at all.
Use the software to generate leads and convert them, and assign your cases to other attorneys. In other words, automation will free you from the day-to-day tasks you’re currently tackling, giving you more time to spend running your firm, marketing the business, and living your best life.