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solo practitioners and small firms to invest? Where should you invest? How much do you want to save? How often do you pay your bills? Are you current? Do people owe you money? Should you hire an accountant to make sure your bills are paid on time? Oh, and one more thing: pay your taxes. It’s a must.

Marketing Marketing is what creates the customer expectation for your business. It is your company brand, what you want the public and your customers to think about your business. Marketing comes in many forms, including social media (Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of Social Media is great for guidance) and volunteer work in the community. How do you plan to promote your brand? Through your website? A newsletter? Weekly emails? Here’s a hint: embrace technology.

Sales Sales and marketing are not the same thing, and it is important not to confuse the

two. Marketing is a subset of sales. Sales require the client to trust you, understand your service (or your brand), and have a need for your services. When need, brand, and trust come together—you get paying customers. But you need to define what kind of customer you want by defining the right client. When I started my law practice, I said I wanted clients, but I did not specify the type of client. Now, I do. I want clients who appreciate my firm’s services and who pay in a timely manner. That small change in focus has done wonders for my bottom line. As a side note, as lawyers, we are required to have engagement letters when we are retained. This must be mandatory. No executed engagement letter, no services.

Production If you don’t produce, you don’t get paid. And when you first launch your business, you need to produce if you want to build your reputation. How much you want to produce needs to be determined at the outset.

Quality Control We need to constantly ask clients how we are doing. How can we improve? How can we become better at our work? As human beings, we often learn from our mistakes. When those breakdowns occur, clarify why they happened and what you will do differently so it doesn’t happen again. The old adage “stuff happens” is not in the language of successful folks. In short, being a good lawyer and being a good business person are different things. Great lawyers lacking in business and organizational skills are doomed to failure. Good lawyers willing to overcome their shortcomings when it comes to running a business, good lawyers who are willing to take a university extension course or seek others who have made the leap, are destined for success. Janice Brown ( is the founder of Beyond Law, and the founder of Brown Law Group.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Law Practice Today: The HR/Staffing Issue and is reprinted with the author's permission.

Experience. Tenacity. Judgment. Kathryn Karcher, for your client’s appeal. | 619.565.4755 Certified Appellate Specialist, Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California

18 SAN DIEGO LAWYER March/April 2016

San Diego Lawyer March/April 2016  

Inside this Issue: Solo Practitioners & Small Firms; National Attorney Groups Invade Downtown San Diego; Military Branches Out: The Movement...

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