The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 27

As your practice evolves, so too may your firm’s financial needs. You may want to ramp up advertising, rebrand, pursue new litigations, hire new staff, improve technology or change up operations, all in order to take your firm to the next level. How do you adapt your firm to meet the new financial challenges and prospects facing your practice? Follow these four simple steps: 1. Define Your Goal What do you really want to achieve? Your first reaction to acclimating to your firm’s shifting needs might be to go out and get as much financing as you can, as quickly as possible. However, just as not having enough capital can be detrimental to your firm, so can having too much — especially if the cost of capital is high, which can occur when you opt for fast cash advances or when you must give away too much equity in your cases for a co-counsel relationship that provides financing to satisfy an immediate need. While a surplus of funds to deploy may sound good in the moment, poorly planned financing can leave you over-leveraged or overly diluted. There is nothing wrong with expanding your firm rapidly through a quick capital infusion — it is how many businesses scale profitably. But the best results traditionally come from proper advance planning. Start by writing down the goal you want your firm to achieve. Research shows the more precise your goal is, the higher the likelihood that you can accomplish it. A 2018 Dominican University of California study reports that you are 42% more likely to achieve a goal you have written down and defined. 2. Specify Your Purpose Why do you want to achieve this goal? Beyond getting specific about what you’re aiming for, another way to develop an effective strategy is to define a clear, meaningful purpose for your goal. Knowing why you are pursuing a certain objective for your firm will not only help motivate and engage you and your team, but also keep you focused so you can determine how much financing you will actually need versus what you don’t. Keep your purpose simple — but powerful — by limiting it to one sentence and adding an emotional component. For example, the purpose of many attorneys is to hire the best experts to present the most detailed and cogent arguments for the largest settlement possible. The Trial Lawyer x 25