Looking back, I should have launched The Calkins Law Firm, Ltd. many years earlier than I did.
Almost from the day I started working in “old model” law firms, I could see the writing on the wall.
The tremendous overheads and the waste, the inefficiency, of old-model law firms in delivering legal services and advice to middle market businesses.
Looking back, I recall numerous instances where the clients saw the writing on the wall, too.
I remember reading a book, “The Official Lawyer’s Handbook”, first published in 1983, which described the many and various outmoded ways of the old style law firms and how an attorney working at such a firm might best take advantage of all of those outmoded ways to get himself or herself to the top of such an old style law firm.(I recall well reading the book and thinking it would be much funnier if it wasn’t so accurate in its description of the old style law firms and their outmoded ways!)
Being resistant to change (aren’t we all to some extent?) and hoping I could gradually introduce and incorporate “new ideas” into the old style law firms, I labored on at several old style law firms.
One after the other, however, I watched several of those old-style law firms fail. In the crucible of the last decade, these law firms failed largely, if not entirely, because of their unfailing commitment to their outmoded ways.
Ultimately, three of the law firms I practiced with failed. While I had nothing to do with management of any of the three firms, as these firms struggled and failed one after another, the impact on my own practice was at best unsettling and disruptive. While I don’t believe the interests of any of my clients were in any way compromised by the struggling and failing law firms, I am sure that some of my clients, referral sources and friends wondered what was going on. Some, unfortunately, found their way to other law firms.
Folks, I literally waited until the lights were turned off at three successive law firms before I read the writing on the wall and launched my own new model law firm.
I should have acted on my observations about the old-style law firms and their outmoded ways and made the leap to launching my own a decade, if not two decades earlier.
So I encourage my readers not to make the same mistake that I made.
Once you see the writing clearly on the wall, rather than wait for the lights to be turned off and the doors closed behind you, make whatever changes you need to make in your career, and in your life, to pave the way for a brighter future. It might mean starting a business, or finding another path.
Yes, it seems risky – but isn’t it more risky to cling to outmoded ways than to move in a new direction?
A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.
~ Charles Schwab, Businessman and Investor