Sustainability is something everyone in the legal profession naturally strives for. We desire deep, lasting relationships with clients in which we are trusted to perform a service that is meaningful to their business.  In ecology, sustainability is the ability of biological systems to remain diverse and productive in order to enable the Earth to continue to support human life indefinitely. Are there proactive steps we can take to ensure sustainability in a law practice?

Know who your clients are and why they will pay you more than someone else. Is this an acceptable assumption to make? Maybe and “why they choose to work with you”. This is something that most service providers struggle to articulate. You need to define why you are better.

Be creative! Think of opportunities to create value for your clients. Don’t just strategize in the boardroom, but actually try pilot programs to see what works. Your clients will love the fact that you are looking for ways to do work better and cheaper.

Succession Planning
It is a problem often discussed but poorly executed when trying to solve the issue. In order to have longevity, it is paramount the next generation is brought in to help build upon the foundation that already exists. It isn’t just recruiting and hiring the next generation of talent. That’s part of it, but is there a commitment to invest into these lawyers in order to make them better than the generation that came before them?

People! How are we going to have sustainability if we aren’t hiring the right people? This can be too costly of a mistake when it is done wrong! Find and attract people that get excited about the same things you do. Adopt a mindset that we are better together. Too often firms rely on a few to keep the business going.

As we all know, the legal market is changing. Clients are buying differently, software and other service providers (i.e. accounting firms) are entering our space, and the competitive advantages of a smart mind and deep relationships that were once a staple of a sustainable practice, are being challenged like never before. Don’t let fear stop you from making decisions that will have a long term impact.