The Pinnacle Of Success As A Lawyer

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Charting the Course for Success as a LawyerThe definition of success as a lawyer can be elusive.  Some people define success by the amount of money they have.  Others define it by the time they can spend with family and friends.  We typically discuss it as having the ability to make a great living and live a great life. ®

All of those things may be true or false depending upon your goals and your dreams.

There is one thing you can look to as a milestone along your path toward success as a lawyer.  It is more of a compass to help you determine if you are pointed in the correct direction. This is the lifetime value of your client relationships.

In the four articles preceding this one, we discussed the development and nurturing of client relationships.  We talked about your ability to become a trusted advisor to clients who would readily pay your fees and view you as a peer.

Now we can examine the fruit of your labor.  We can look specifically at what you can expect, financially, from those relationships.

In every law practice, clients have the ability to send more business your way. In a corporate setting, this means providing you with additional matters.

In a consumer-based law firm, the opportunity for repeat or recurring business may not present itself often (divorce lawyers, for example, will generally work with one client a maximum of twice in a lifetime).  There is an opportunity to increase the lifetime value of those relationships but that opportunity is dependent upon the experience the client has while working with you and your ability to follow-up with him long after his matter has concluded.

What is Client Lifetime Value

Simply stated, client lifetime value is the profit realized from your relationship with your clients during their lifetime.

So a client who offers you $12,000 in work per year, with a profit margin of 50%, will have a client lifetime value of $60,000 after ten years ({$12,000 x 50%} x 10).

You can also use that same calculation to determine the value of referral business delivered by a client (or referral source) during the lifetime of your relationship with him.

These calculations, while valuable, are not the point of this article. The point is that lifetime value is dependent upon the relationship you have with your client.

But first you must focus on that aspect of your work.  Practicing law may be the easiest thing you do in your law firm. Initiating, developing and deepening client relationships will ultimately determine your financial future.

Deepening your client relationships is not only good for making a great living; it is also good for living a great life.

Here are links to the other four articles in this series:

Part 1: What do clients want from a relationship with a lawyer?

If you have ever tried to read someone’s mind, you know how that turns out. This article helps you understand what clients want from a relationship with an attorney.

Part 2: How to Establish Trust

Clients invest trust in your relationship before they invest their money. This article not only explains the importance of that, but also discusses how you can deepen the trust a client has in you.

Part 3: Do You Have Guts?

This part of the series discusses the risk tolerance necessary in order to become a trusted advisor.  This is critical.

Part 4: How Do You Make the Transition to a Trusted Advisor?

This article and video offer some ideas on making the transition from expert lawyer to trusted advisor.  If you want to make the leap, spend a few minutes with this video.