Categories
Client Development

If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?

My father used to ask, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” 

There are probably a million things that are wrong with that question, but his basic point is worth considering. He was asking why it is that some people believe that they know better concerning just about everything, but they do not generate any results from their supposed brilliance.

Categories
Legal Fees

Let’s play Jeopardy: I’ll take ‘Expert in Ottawa’ for $300

When I practised law in Mississauga, Ont., our fees were cheap compared to the Toronto firms, and kind of expensive compared to firms in places like Guelph, Belleville and Kingston. I occasionally wondered whether my clients might prefer to deal with firms in smaller cities at lower rates. Then I would reassure myself that doing so would be terribly inconvenient for them and that they would rather pay more to deal with me.

Now I am not so sure.

Categories
Legal Fees

Evolution of the Billing Committee (Sounds Dull, But it Isn’t)

Categories
Law Firm Management

Try Being Right Once in a While

The other day my wife purported to correct something I said. I asked her how I could get her to stop doing that. She replied, “You could try being right once in a while.”

I just told my girlfriend, “I have written the first paragraph of my latest post, but I have nothing of value to say.”  She replied, “That never stopped you before.”

Categories
Firm Culture

Skiing While Submerged

When I was a teenager, my buddy Bill took me waterskiing. For those of you who do not water ski, you learn to ski on two skis which is easy, then to ‘drop a ski’ which is harder, and finally to start on one ski. That was what I was trying to do.  

Bill said that I was the only person who he ever saw who was still holding onto the rope ten feet under water. An exaggeration perhaps, but sometimes I really do not know when to give up.    

Categories
Firm Culture

Culture Murders, Decimates and Destroys Strategy

You may be familiar with the expression, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast,” a quote from Peter Drucker. As the title of this post implies, I not only agree with that sentiment, but I believe that it is drastically understated.

Categories
Law Firm Management

Finders v. Grinders

Let’s cut to the chase:  Law firms compensate lawyers for two things: (i) fees billed for their own work; and (ii) fees billed for work that they introduce to the firm which is done by someone else. (In theory there are some other things that matter also, but in practice you cannot get rich by doing any of them.)  

Categories
Law Firm Management

Lawyers are Fools When it Comes to Hiring People

You would think that in a profession where people are the most valuable asset, employers would develop some expertise around human resources.  And yet, most lawyers know squat about it. That is not surprising. Most H.R. professionals do not know much about practicing law.

Categories
Firm Culture

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

There is nothing funny about child abuse, so I hesitate to tell this story. But there is a point to it, so please bear with me.

Back in the day when parents did not see anything wrong with occasionally giving their kids a smack, there was a very young boy who believed that if he shut his eyes tightly, no one could see him. When his father was angry, the boy would close his eyes and feel safe. When he got hit anyway, he was initially shocked. But eventually he learned that hiding did not make him safe.

Categories
People I Met Practicing Law

A Piece of the Big Blue Sky

“Blue Sky Law” refers to securities regulation. The expression is said to have originated in Kansas and refers to hucksters who could sell ‘a piece of the blue sky’ to unsophisticated farmers.

Back when I was more impressed with Big Law than I am now, we were approached by a senior lawyer who I will call Jake who wanted to leave Big Law and join our medium-sized suburban wannabe downtown law firm.