Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees
I am a practicing attorney. Looking for more cases. Looking to be more relevant. Looking to increase my revenue. Looking to compete with the big law firms spending lots of money to market their law firms.
I want to take you back about 10 years. I had just left my law firm where I was an equity partner. My partners were great guys, but they were running a personal injury practice with a huge volume and I was running a niche boutique practice of medical malpractice cases within the firm. It was a practice within a practice.
I knew that I could have a much more rewarding practice by going out on my own. As it was, I was really a solo practitioner within my firm. Nobody else handled my cases. Just me. My thinking was, “Why should I continue to give up a percentage of fees on every case when I could be doing this on my own, and generate more income for me and my family?”
I had a plan. I had a business model. I found a small office and I told my partners. They were cool with it and we parted very amicably with a nice arrangement on the existing cases I was handling with them.
I thought I was so smart. I knew I wanted to practice on my own. I had a good sized caseload and had a good reputation in the New York community. Turns out that for two years after I opened my solo practice, everything was going great. I was still handling my cases that I brought with me from my prior law firm. I was still getting referrals from other lawyers. Life was good.
My new bank liked me. I had cash flow and my cases were resolving quite favorably. One case would be settled and shortly after another would come in. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, or so I thought.
WARNING, WARNING!! A PROBLEM ARISES
Slowly but surely, my cases were resolving. I didn’t notice the problem at first. My secretary did. She said to me, quietly one morning, “Gerry, you know you’re not bringing in any new cases lately.” She meant I hadn’t brought a new case in within the past six months.
I knew that fact, but I hadn’t wanted to face the reality that I, a good medical malpractice trial lawyer, hadn’t brought in a new case in a while. Shoot. What a wake up call. It’s like when you go for a physical and the doctor tells you in no uncertain terms what’s going on with your health. He reads off your vital signs and your blood results and there’s no avoiding what he’s saying.
Remember when I told you earlier how smart I was for going out on my own with a great business plan and model? Well, there was one thing I knew absolutely nothing about…marketing.
Other than talking up other lawyers and developing referral relationships over the years, I knew less than nothing about marketing.
Join me in my next post when I explain what happened…