From Law Firm Planning to Profit: Why a Strategic Plan

By Cheryl J. Leone, Law Firm Coach

100% of our clients come to us out of frustration. Time and time again they believe they have gotten the best plan ever in their head, they become enthused, they implement, and it falls apart. The number one reason for failure to launch is the buy-in. To plan you have to have a buy-in and to have a buy-in you have to understand why you must have a defined strategic plan to win the game.

We honestly don’t care if you write your plan on a paper bag. We have seen far too many expensive labor intensive strategic plans in fancy binders setting on shelves gathering dust. We create working living and breathing plans that work. That is because we start at the beginning and we see the end goals.

Every successful law practice has these four elements:

  1. Strategic planning which details your values and vision and a roadmap to achieve it.
  2. Leadership driven by your values and the passion to drive to your vision.
  3. Management which is the control of resources like finances, skills, technology and material needed to realize your vision.
  4. Marketing which is the means to acquire clients (or customers) to support your journey to realizing your vision.

Along with these business elements is a need to maintain a balance in your personal life in order to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This balance is referred to as self-mastery and is a key element of the Catalyst Way philosophy to strategic planning.

The market is getting more competitive and the need for a strategic plan is greater. How you run your business or practices has changed. If you haven’t then you are not going to be here in the next decade of your life doing what you do now. You have to change how you think and how you work.

The merging of our values happened as we came into the information age. Not long ago, say 20 or so years back, it was common to see three sets of values: one set for work, one for the family and one for church. For example, a man could be a ruthless business man at work and come home to a totally different set of family values. On Sunday he could accept a third set of values. Today it is common to see one set of values merged into a consolidated set. People merge their beliefs, family values and their work ethics. While twenty years ago the focus would be on a business plan, today the focus would be on a strategic plan.

The bottom line is there is a real need for solid strategic planning in today’s environment to survive. Your strategic plan is the journey you are going to be on with built in anchors to help stabilize you during the storms. Strategic planning MUST include a personal vision to help drive the business vision. Otherwise you are working at odds with the areas of your life. It will start with your values incorporated into a personal and professional vision. You will have a strong look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to what you want to do. And out of this strategic plan comes the business plans for practice management, marketing, internal structure, client development, and financial rewards.

About the Authors

Principals Dave Favor and Cheryl Leone are the founders of Catalyst Group, Inc. with its corporate offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rounding out the Coaches is Attorney Carl Solomon of Columbia, South Carolina. They share a common value and belief system that everyone deserves a chance to work for themselves and do it in such a way that it is profitable, enjoyable and respected by others. For more information email our Head Coach.

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