Growing Your Firm with a Little "Parental" Instinct

Hey << Test First Name >>,

Growing Your Firm with a Little "Parental" Instinct


So last week my kid started Kindergarten and I had ALL the feels


Happy to see him take the next step, scared for what could happen to him, proud he was going a top 100 elementary school in the state, terrified that they bother to rank elementary schools…etc


And then it came to drop off that first day… I genuinely wasn’t sure if I would cry or not, I was pretty convinced HE would cry though.  But honestly, he did drop off like a champ! Maybe a tad teary eyed, but nothing more than a random day of VPK and all smiles when we picked him up.


I also didn’t cry for what it’s worth.  No comment on my wife’s response.


But the whole situation got me thinking about my family, which then led me to think about my firm…which then led me to think about the similarities between my office and my family, which then led me to realize how much I hate the “our office is like a family” crap. 


Let’s be real for a second: you don’t get to pick your Uncle Bob who's obsessed with conspiracy theories (chemtrails, hollow earth, faked moon landing, etc), you’re stuck with him…even if you try to sit him on the opposite side of the table at Thanksgiving.


And that one cousin who is always letting everyone down and may or may not be stealing money from your Aunt…also stuck with them…even if you hide the best China in the back of the cabinet when they come over.


I hope neither the Uncle, the cousin or anyone like them works at your firm.


So can we all agree to let that “our firm is like a family” crap go?


You’re stuck with family.


You CHOSE the team you go to battle with.

We Are Real Family Andre3000 GIF - We Are Real Family Andre3000 Four Brothers GIFs

That being said, there are similarities, including a bunch of situations in which I view my employees like my kid. Not that I TREAT them like a child.




But, in many respects, they mean more to me than friends and hold a special plane in my life. Let’s talk about 5 instances where this comes up.

1. The Customer is NOT Always Right:

John Strohmeyer has an AWESOME analogy I am going to steal. Your law firm is like a 3 legged stool.


You’re a big solid giant leg. The employees are some smaller branches tied together to make a second leg. The clients are a bunch of toothpicks glued together as the third leg.


Yes you need all 3 legs to stay up, but understand I have had THOUSANDS of clients, and maybe 2 dozen staff over that time.


So if the client is always right, and your employee is always wrong…you’re going to be losing that second leg a LOT more often than you want to.


If your employees are happy, they’re better positioned to make the clients happy. So you need to have THEIR backs first and foremost.


If I have 100 clients and 1 complains about my employee and the other 99 rave about them - who should I believe?


It’s the same with my kid.

I know he is NOT perfect.

Basically he’s a mule. Half thoroughbred horse from my wife, and half ass from me.


That being said, I trust him. Not that he’s always right, but that I will have his back in every situation (nicely) and THEN dive in and figure out what happened afterwards, and I do the same for my staff.


2. Providing Tools to Grow:


Remember how proud your child was when they first drew inside the lines? Equipping them with the right-sized crayons made a difference.


Similarly, giving your employees the tools they need - be it software, training, or resources - ensures they don't just complete tasks, but excel in them.


Ultimately, it’s not the cliche “if they can do it 80% as well as you can you should delegate it” and instead be “if you can train and empower them to do it right eventually they will do it 120% as well as you can”


3. Celebrating Milestones:


You know after Luke blew up the death star, the rebels threw a HUGE party and gave out medals to Luke and Han? And not Chewbacca because the Rebel Alliance is humanist - literally Han had to DIE for Chewie to get that medal.


                                              Medal Hansolo GIF - Medal Hansolo GIFs          

But I digress, EVERYONE loves celebrating milestones. The stuff my kid will do for a gold star or a sticker…it’s crazy.


In this case, I don’t think you should reward your employees with the same thing as my 5 year old (although some of his toys are legitimately cool to me too), but instead ASK THEM WHAT THEY WANT. Seriously.

It’s that simple.


Maybe it’s a bonus, maybe it’s extra time off, maybe it’s quality time with everyone, you don’t know until you ask.


At Driven Law we set an intake goal and promised everyone Universal Studios passes when they hit the goal (it’s what they all wanted) - so guess which firm is going to close down for the day and go to Universal for our next employees B-day?


Do I think they ONLY hit the PI case intake # for the passes? Heck no.


But do I think it helped people pitch in an extra hour or two at the end of the month to close the last case or two to get over the mark? Heck yes!


4. Knowing When to Let Go:


There comes a time when your kid wants to do things on their own - from making a sandwich to riding a bike to going to school or camp without you. Similarly, you need to trust your employees to take initiatives, make decisions, and sometimes even fail. Remember, even Batman had to let Robin become Nightwing do his own thing once in a while.


So after you hire them, train them, and otherwise empower them to do the ROLE you hired them for well - sometimes it’s fly little birdie fly time.


Trust that they will do a great job.  Verify that they are.  But sometimes you’ve got to give them that chance.  If you ALWAYS jump in to fix their problems and do it yourself they’re never going to learn.


5. Wanting the Best for Them:


Whether it's pushing your child to achieve better grades or encouraging an employee to further their education or skills, the goal is to better them. The most valuable thing we can do, be it as parents or employers, is to invest in their growth and happiness.


I know, I know, I know…but what if I train them up and they leave?


Then CONGRATS you did such an amazing job that they felt ready to take on your job.  I am SURE during the time they were with you, they had a huge positive impact on your firm, and hopefully you are still there for each other.

Maybe they send you some big cases they aren’t ready for, maybe they send you their conflicts, maybe they put in a good word for you to get on some local Bar panel, or maybe they do NOTHING for you afterwards and that’s okay too.


Think about it from the perspective of your children. Sure, you might not be ready for them to leave on the day after their 18th birthday, but you also don’t want them living in the basement until they’re 40.


Really, with the employees, the more pressing question you need to ask is, “what if I don’t train them to be better and they stay?”


So, next time someone says, "My employees are like family," gently correct them. But do understand that there are a lot of positive similarities between children and employees.


I hope this insight helps you run an even better firm that you enjoy even more.

Next week we are talking about how the numbers 1 through 7 can make a huge impact on your business!

We've got two more slots open for coaching from last week's newsletter. Reply here if you are interested!


Until then, have a wonderful weekend and may your employee-parenting journey be filled with fewer tantrums and more gold star moments!

Upgrade Your Life.

Okay, so this all sounds good, but you’re wondering how to start making these changes. The first important step was visiting this web page, so congrats! You’re already on the right track. The next crucial step is booking a consulting appointment with me so we can come up with a plan and replicate the results of so many others before you.

You can book an appointment here. See you soon!

Book a consultation