Hi. My name is Mike, and I’m an attorney.
Saying that has been difficult for some time. Not because I hate law practice, but because I hated the law practice I’d built.
Really, the practice was running me. I wasn’t treating it like a business. I was “taking cases” rather than managing a firm. It was disorganized freelancing.
The last time I officially practiced, my base was in Rockport, Texas. If that place sounds familiar, it’s probably because you read about the massive hurricane that hit the area. Harvey made landfall in Rockport and quickly laid waste to too many homes.
Rockport already had a shortage of lawyers. I’d left town about a year earlier after being one of only a handful of practicing attorneys. Rockport is small, with under 12,000 residents, but it’s a county seat and a retirement and sporting community. My primary practice areas are family law and estates, and the town had need.
In retrospect, it’s hard not to be glad that we left when we did. I don’t think we could have endured another major disaster, having lost a house in 2011 to the Labor Day wildfires around Austin. But I’ve been asked by a few people I respect to take on some legal work back in Rockport.
I resisted at first. I’ve had one foot in and one foot out of law practice. If you’ve ever been there, you know that’ll give you all the downsides of owning a practice (stress, deadlines, client care issues, opposing counsel issues) without any of the upsides. I needed to treat it like a business.
So my wife and I decided to turn the practice back on in Rockport, if and only if we could incorporate what I’ve learned from my years teaching and learning at Lawyer Forward.
My background is a bit unusual. I worked in logistics for nearly a decade before law school and I’ve spent lots of time studying how great companies operate. I’ve had the knowledge, but not the will to implement it in my own practice.
This year, though, we’ve decided to properly (re)launch the firm in Rockport. I plan to document that journey here.
I’m writing this blog for a few reasons:
- To hold myself accountable. There’s something about my friends watching me build my practice that makes me want to be more professional with it. I strongly recommend you set up similar accountability systems.
- To document the journey. How many solo and small firm attorneys feel like they’re doing this alone? One of the driving principles of Lawyer Forward is that we’re not supposed to start from scratch. Hopefully you can learn something from my failures and successes.
- To invite discussion and expertise. Lawyer Forward as a platform has benefitted from the wisdom of many smart friends. Whether related to tech, design, financial and personal management, marketing, or innovation, we’ve heard from lots of smart people. Here you’ll see very publicly what happens when you implement that wisdom. I know you’ll see results that you’ll want coming from your own practice as well.
So that’s the plan. Please stay tuned. And be patient. Nothing about this journey will be perfect. I’m sure the blog will break sometimes and that I will ramble. My intention here is not to preach or criticize. I’m thinking out loud as I go on this journey. I hope you’ll draw from it what you can.
Thank you for your attention.