Do you want to be popular or successful?

Law firm popularityIf you are running a law firm, you have to make a choice.  As the saying goes, “do you want to be liked or respected?”  To re-frame that slightly different: Do you want to be popular or do you want to be successful?  This is the choice many law firms and owners have to make.

It’s easy to go with the grain.  It’s easy to ride that raft down the river with everybody else.  It’s easy to do what everybody else is doing.  It’s conventional.  It seems painless.  It’s predictable.  It doesn’t make people uneasy.  It results in less criticism.  It puts you on par with other law firms.  It makes you popular, in the short-run inside and outside of the firm, because you are giving people what they want.

But if you want to make your law firm work, you have to analyze decisions in terms of whether it will make your law firm a success:

  • Will it allow the firm to provide better legal services to clients?
  • Will it make your firm more responsive to clients?
  • Will it increase client satisfaction?
  • Will it make the firm more financially sound?
  • Will it make sense from a marketing and public relations perspective?
  • Will it help grow the firm?
  • Will it help streamline matters within the firm?

If the answer is, “no,” it’s not a path you want to go down.  No matter whether it makes you popular inside and outside your law firm, you just have to say “no.”  While it might make you popular, it ultimately doesn’t help make your firm successful.

The firms that succeed say “no” to proposed courses of action even when it isn’t popular.  The firms that don’t succeed say “yes” simply because they want to be popular.  In the end, being popular (in the moment) doesn’t usually equate with success.  Popularity is also fleeting.  Sure, you can try to be both popular and successful at the same time, but like most things in life, you can’t have both.

So, do you want to be somebody who is popular, yet unsuccessful?  Or do you want to be successful, yet unpopular?  In the end, if you aren’t choosing the latter, why did you start a law firm in the first place?  Why have a law firm for it not to succeed?

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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