Today’s Practice Tip: Estate Planning Attorneys Commonly Give Away Value for Free

Estate Planning Attorneys Commonly Give Away Value for Free And expect to get paid handsomely for what clients don’t value!  I once had a client worth $30 million wave his hand at my $15,000 engagement agreement for the first stage of investigating and illustrating which advanced planning strategies might be appropriate for him, proclaiming, “those strategies are all boilerplate anyway! My CPA told […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Your Biggest Obstacle to Progress is You

Your Biggest Obstacle to Progress is You But do you realize the two distinct categories of challenges you face? I related the time in an earlier email when I almost quit the practice of law, and how my mentor enlightened me as to my main problem – my own mindset! I’ve now coached estate planning attorneys […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Your Clients Don’t Understand the Estate Planning Documents You Drafted

What is it that They Value?

Several years ago I almost quit the practice of law. I was earning what I then considered great money, but I also worked 65+ hour weeks. My wife and three young daughters often got a grumpy husband/father when he came home from work.

Sometimes I missed soccer games and dance recitals.

On the advice of a colleague, I joined a coaching program. It wasn’t just for attorneys – as I wanted a broader view than that.

At my first meeting, introducing me to the group, the coach asked me, “Craig, what brings you here?”

“If my clients would only leave me alone,” I complained, “I’d be able to get the drafts of their documents done. I work late into the night, yet they’re never satisfied.”

Coach nodded his head, and then asked a probing question. “Why do you spend so much of your time on the commodity of your practice? ”

I was shocked. “The commodity?” I asked. “You mean the documents?”

Today’s Practice Tip: Why Being a Control Freak Damages Your Practice

Why Being a Control Freak Damages Your Practice Many successful attorneys in general, including estate planning attorneys, are control freaks. That’s what led to our success. Initially, perhaps, controlling everything was a necessity. I thought I couldn’t afford to hire attorneys and more staff, so I had to do it all myself. I believed that […]

Today’s Practice Tip: What’s Wrong with an Estate Planning Firm Being Transactional?

What’s Wrong with an Estate Planning Firm Being Transactional? Are you like me, and marvel at all the elements that must come together to produce a great Broadway musical like Hamilton? A script must be written, music scored, choreography staged, sets designed, lighting directed, actors hired, media promoted – the list is endless to attract […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Why did You Undercharge that Client?

Why Did You Undercharge that Client? I ask my estate planning attorney colleagues a simple question that resonates – “Why did you undercharge that client?” I’ve done it before. I knew the time, effort, and expertise that an engagement entails, yet I quoted a fixed fee below the true value of the work. When I […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Employing Millennials – Leadership & Time

Employing Millennials – Leadership & Time Despite raising three daughters – two of whom are Millennials and one a Gen Z, I remain perplexed about how to lead team members from these age groups in my law firm. Much has been written about Millennial attitudes and expectations, but in my experience, people are still individuals, […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Transformations & Liminal Space

Transformations & Liminal Space European anthropologists Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) and Victor Turner (1920-1983) studied rites of passage – the transition from one life phase to another. Those you are familiar with include commencements, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, and weddings. Estate planners can benefit from van Gennep and Turner’s work, as we often interact with individuals […]

Practice Tip: Transformations & Liminal Space

Transformations & Liminal Space European anthropologists Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) and Victor Turner (1920-1983) studied rites of passage – the transition from one life phase to another. Those you are familiar with include commencements, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, and weddings. Estate planners can benefit from van Gennep and Turner’s work, as we often interact with individuals […]

Today’s Practice Tip: Boutique Estate Planning Firms have an Advantage

Boutique Estate Planning Firms Have an Advantage When I was a young boy, my parents owned boutique retail clothing stores. Personal service was our hallmark. In the 1970s, competition from large department stores ran us out of business. The national chains could buy inventory in bulk, offering lower prices. Those same department stores now face […]

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