My Firm has expanded beyond the point of no return. I have a Virtual Case Manager, Virtual Lawyer, Several Virtual Law Clerks, three internal Practice Assistants/Paralegals and we cannot handle the work that is coming through the door. To suggest that our two-year experiment with innovative approaches to the practice of law has succeeded would be an understatement. Practicing in a state where over forty percent of the practitioners reported a decline in business in 2006, with most of those thinking that things will be worse in 2007, our firm has grown steadily.
There will be two new lawyers joining the firm in 2007. The first is a Virtual Law Clerk who has been with me since the very beginning. He has shunned big law in favor of our innovative billing model. We will be paying him a salary higher than any other new lawyer in our region of the state.
I have also extended an offer to another attorney who has almost 20 years experience across a variety of practice areas. It is my hope that he will accept our offer and join the firm in the next month or two.
Does the addition of more lawyers mean that I am no longer an independent practitioner? Will our firm suffer the same fate as all the other firms who have too many cooks in the kitchen? Will innovation give way to compromise and mediocrity?
I don't think that we will lose a step with the additions we are making to our lawyer staff. Why? Because we are setting up our firm with all the right incentives. We are pooling our resources but we will continue to reward innovation and efficiency. The lawyers who are joining us are doing so because they have already bought into the business model and commitment to innovation.
Over the next few weeks, we will be working on a formula, which identifies all of the most important metrics, which we believe will drive our firm forward. In most firms, the single metric is billable hours. You might add "origination" to the important metrics in a traditional law firm. I will be posting about this more in the future, but I am anticipating in excess of fifty separate metrics by which we will measure ourselves. These metrics will create all the right incentives. Most of the metrics will encourage activity beyond sitting in your chair and billing the client.
Stay tuned. We are about to create a new "partnership formula."