Since time immemorial, law practice management advisors and business consultants and coaching programs have drummed into law firm owners’ heads the importance of valuing our services. Capturing every last little second of billable time for phone calls and emails by invoicing early and often and accepting electronic payments. Walking the fine line between putting clients the center of our law practices but not making their problems our own. Running your firm like a well-oiled, efficient machine that turns a profit while affording work-life balance. Creating systems and workflows and automation so that work gets done without always needing to be done by us.
I’ve spoken to these issues time and again – the administrivia of starting, then running, then growing a law practice that works for you rather than the other way around. Some days, it’s easy to get stoked by the excitement of building a business and the gee-whiz-this-is-so-cool way of filling in a form or collecting an e-signature that powers us forward. But other days, the flotsam and jetsam of running a business and the constant discipline of all of the rules that apply feels as crass and empty
Like nothing more than making sure that the trains run on time.
So what would happen if we just stopped? Took a day away from our systems and rules and once in while, just followed our instincts and operated as people. Not to invite favorable karma or to engage in the kind of faux-generosity of marketers where you give away a tidbit of information to make a bigger sale. But just as a basic gesture of human connection. Though I’ve thought about this topic on and off for some time, this essay, The Story of a Curious Phone Call really clinched it for me. The author, a desperate mom on the verge of disaster reached out late one night by phone and discovered a powerful human connection. I don’t want to give the story away – you need to take five minutes and read it for yourself. Because someone out there on the end of the line may be a person whose life you can turn around with just a little bit of little bit of grace. And you just might save your own soul in the process.