Best Advice: Hire the Good Ones Now—The Business Will Come
February 25, 2014
This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share the best advice they’ve ever received. Read all the posts here.
I have been given a lot of advice over the years and appreciate it all. I have learned from more seasoned divorce lawyers things like, “Do not fight for what you think clients want, fight for what they tell you they want; clients don’t always simply want money, they may want the old jalopy and may hate the expensive house they shared with their spouse.”
But perhaps the best advice I ever received as a business owner was when I approached one of the elder statesmen in family law in Atlanta in the mid 1990s. I was an insecure business owner and wasn’t quite sure when to expand the firm and hire more lawyers or staff. This gentleman gave me an immediate response which has proven true time and again. He told me that when you find someone good, hire them—the business will come.
And he was right. Over the last twenty years, when an extremely good candidate appeared, left a rival firm or somehow or another made a great impression on us, we took our time, ensured they were smart, respected, and perhaps most importantly, were enjoyable to be around (an absolute necessity given the gravity and depressing nature of family law at times) and then we hired them. The rest, as they say, is history. We have grown to become one of the larger family law firms in the southeast and it is because of this philosophy. It is also because of my belief that to really be able to help someone in a family law crisis, it takes more than one person. There needs to be a system of checks and balances in the office so that someone else within my office can tell me if we are proceeding too slowly, too quickly, etc.
Family lawyers are often driven solely by what their client demands, and I think this is a huge mistake. We must be able to offer perspective and objectivity and to advise not only calmly, but to advise what will likely happen if and when we appear before an objective judge or jury. That takes patience and sometimes persistence. And for me, having a smart lawyer whom I respect available in an office ten feet away for me to “bounce things off of” is an indispensable resource. So when those special people are available, we would be foolish not consider bringing them on board, and that’s even more true for solo practitioners.