The Influencer Hour: A Q&A with the Founders of Juris Diction
Running a law practice is overwhelming - from maintaining client work, to marketing, to scaling and managing staff, to still finding time to lead a thriving life outside the law, it is easy for lawyers to quickly become overwhelmed and burn out.
That’s where Juris Diction has found an opportunity to help. Juris Diction, founded by lawyers Megan Wakefield and Jessi Patton, is a marketing and business development company that helps attorneys structure their businesses, learn the law, establish systems, manage growth, and serve their clients. The company offers attorneys business development, consultation, and training to help them launch and grow thriving practices while maintaining healthy lives outside the law.
I enjoyed speaking with the founders of Juris Diction to learn more about why developing systems and automating key tasks within our businesses and practices is so critical.
DLM: What made you decide to leave traditional legal practice to help lawyers thrive in their practices and lives?
JD: We went to law school together, worked together in clinic, and spent many late nights talking about how we saw ourselves fitting into the legal profession. We both knew we wanted to do something creative and impactful that helped others. But we also didn't see ourselves fitting neatly into the traditional practice model. We didn't want our lives to be 100% wrapped up in our work, we didn't want our income capped by the billable hour, and we wanted to actually love what we do. When we saw the opportunity with Juris Diction, to provide a real service to help other attorneys build thriving businesses, we jumped at it.
DLM: Why do you think it’s important for lawyers to diversify their income streams and to find ways to generate passive income?
JD: In the legal profession, we bump into a problem we call the Professional Service Provider's Dilemma. The dilemma is, as attorneys, our earning is 100% tied to the amount of time we spend serving our clients. This is especially true if we charge hourly, but even if we are using a flat-fee or subscription model, there is an upper limit to how much we can earn. Why? Because, at a certain point, we can't keep taking on more clients. Sure, we could hire more attorneys to work with us, but that increases business expenses and time needed to manage those attorneys. What if instead of pushing ourselves to take on more and more work in the never-ending pursuit for a little bit more money, we took a step back and looked at what we have? What do we know? What unique skills or perspectives do we possess? Every single attorney we've worked with has a unique approach to a common problem. If they are able to identify that one thing that they are excited to share with clients, that information can be packaged into an information product and scaled. At scale, the attorney can make a broader impact, do fulfilling and exciting work, and earn while she sleeps.
DLM: What are three things that solo or small firm lawyers can start doing right now if they want to revamp and refresh the way that they are running their practices?
JD: First, we recommend getting super, crystal-clear on your goals. In our Next Level Law Practice program, we call this your "Personal Freedom Plan." Basically, it's writing out why you started your own law practice in the first place. What is your version of freedom? What does it look like? How will it feel? What do you need to be earning to support it? Then, you get in the habit of using this freedom plan every day of your life. In your practice, every business decision should be tracked against the Personal Freedom Plan by asking the question, "Does this decision get me closer to or further from my freedom?"
Second, systematize, systematize, systematize. In a truly thriving practice, an attorney never does the same thing twice. Duplicated effort is where we lose the majority of our time, momentum, energy, and -- as a result -- money. If you take the time to build systems in your practice that are replicable and, to the extent possible, can be automated, you will have far more time to serve more clients, build an effective marketing system, develop a second stream of income, or *gasp* actually spend some time outside of work!
Our final suggestion is to gather a community of like-minded attorneys around you. Solo practice can be incredibly lonely work. Stress can become unbearable when we feel like it's all on us. So, find your community. Seek out other creative, entrepreneurial attorneys who are in their work as well. Engage regularly with them. Be willing to ask questions and share advice. Be vulnerable. It will make all the difference.
To learn more about Juris Diction and how it can help you grow your practice, check out the ten-week program Next Level Law Practice. You may also visit : thrivejd.com, or following along on Facebook @jurisdictionlegal and on Instagram @juris_diction_legal.