Transforming Your Practice One “Who” at a Time


Recently, at the TAPER New Orleans event, Dave Zumpano, Founder of Lawyers with Purpose, presented his take on law firm roles and the power of having the right person in the right seat during Friday’s Why Day session.

Zumpano explained the importance of first examining and understanding where you currently are. In doing so, you should have a good grasp on your revenue and profit against the number of attorneys and support staff you have. He also indicated that when following the LWP process (FDS), a LWP firm having 1 attorney and 1-2 staff have a revenue of $40K – $70K per month, making a profit of $20K – $35K per month. 

Each firm then completed an assessment reviewing where they felt they were, currently, in 8 different practice areas: Technical/Product Knowledge, Marketing, Sales, Workflow Efficiency, Cash Flow, People, Finance/HR, and Work/Life Balance. 

Where do you feel you are in each of these areas?  Where are you seeing success?  Where are you currently battling challenges, and do you have goals or a plan to see what taking the practice area to the next level would look like?

Once you understand where you are, then you should examine where you want to go.  Within the LWP model, there are three levels of success:

1. Technical Success (Competency)

2. Operational Success (ConsistentProfitability / Growth)

3. Entrepreneurial Success (Independence)

If you can clearly see you have accomplished the Technical Success level, it’s time to move on to the Operational Success level. Likewise, if you are solid in both the Technical and Operational Success levels, you are ready to move toward Entrepreneurial Success. Typically, this prompts the question, “How do we get there?” but Zumpano firmly believes the question should be, “Who will get us there?”  You may feel at this point you have a solid team in place, so you already know the answer to that question.  However, if you’ve set goals you haven’t been able to reach previously, it’s time to look at 3 reasons why firms don’t hit goals! 

1. Competency: Does a person in a certain role lack skill or knowledge? (Hint: If you must ask for something from that person 3 times, the task most likely is not that person’s unique ability, and you should review if that person is in the right role.) 

2. Capacity: Is a person struggling to complete the requested task?  Does s/he say that there isn’t enough time? If so, it’s time to review your time template.  Do you have too much volume?  This can be determined by reviewing your LWP Focusers weekly and confirming whether you are hitting your numbers. 

3. Focus: Are we allowing ourselves to be distracted from understanding and reviewing our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)? What are your firm’s KPIs?

Zumpano went on to explain that it’s not enough just to hold a job title; one must also understand the responsibilities of each role and to whom the person in each role is accountable. Each person should also know the numbers and goals for which they are held accountable.

1. Lead Generation (ICF’s) (Marketing/ RelationshipManagement)

2. Lead Conversion (Enrollment: Client Services/Legal)

3. Workflow (Client Services)

4. Cashflow (Client Services/Calendar)

5. People (Operations)

6. Finance/HR (Operations/Owner)

He then shared with the TAPER attendees specific job descriptions including the department in which they are apart and their reporting structure. (LWP will have the new descriptions available on the member website soon.) 

Upon review of the various job descriptions, everyone completed an activity in which they were able to describe what they currently do (what hats they wear) as well as what they prefer to do and are committed to doing (their unique ability.)  This includes listing the roles with which they felt they were most compatible. 

The firms came together again to complete an additional activity in which they were able to identify the Who’s within their firm for 8 different roles: owner/entrepreneur, operations, client services enrollment, client services satisfaction, legal, marketing, finance, and HR. They were asked to list the “Who” whose role it is to ensure the tasks and responsibilities are handled to the highest level. All firms may have one or two “Whos” in various roles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the only person(s) completing the tasks and responsibilities that fall within the scope of that role. 

The “Whos” will instinctually figure out the “How” and will reach out to other “Whos” to support them. This means the “Whos" will have their own “Whos.” Just imagine the whole room asking each other, “Who’s your ‘Who’, and who’s your ‘Who’s Who’?” It sounded like quite the room of owly scholars.

By completing the activities mentioned above as well as utilizing the Dashboard to Profitability (the magic button), TAPER New Orleans attendees were having numerous breakthroughs about their current level of success, where they wanted to take their firm, Who (not how) was going to get them there, and the next actions needed to reach the level of success they want to achieve. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to Transform Your Practice One “Who” at a Time, reach out to us to schedule a call to discuss your options, including implementation support and coaching from our member success team. We will discuss the tools mentioned above and help you utilize them in your firm!

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