most challenging part of running a law firm

 

We recently asked lawyers about the most challenging aspects of running a law firm. We received lots of responses—so many, in fact, that we decided to run a second article on the subject. Here’s what lawyers had to say:

“Running a criminal defense firm is an enormous amount of responsibility. I am responsible for making sure that the work gets done, the potential clients get retained, the bills get paid, the briefs get filed, the cases get argued, and the clients get out of jail. I work for myself, so there is no one else to blame. If there is a problem, I have to solve it. It’s a tremendous challenge, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.” — Zak Goldstein, a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia

“Staying on mission and keeping employees happy and productive. We work very hard, and we’d love to take on every worthy client, but to deliver good results and keep thriving, we can’t spread ourselves too thin. That’s no good for clients or for employees. We have a very rigorous evaluation process that helps us to focus on the right cases, in the right volume.” —David L. Scher, an employment discrimination attorney in Washington D.C.

“The most challenging aspect of running a firm for me is keeping track of everything.  It’s not just my clients and my cases that I have to work on, but the business aspect as well.  I have to keep track of the bills, which marketing campaigns are working, returning calls, and planning ahead so my calendar is not too crowded.  I love working with my clients and going to court to help them, but I am still getting used to actually running a business.” —Amanda Waechter PC, a criminal defense attorney in Plainfield, IL

“The travel can sometimes be the most grueling part. Because we are positioned in a smaller region, many expert witnesses are located up in San Francisco Bay Area or down in the Los Angeles region. We’ve been able to take a number of depositions over video conference, which has eased off the 8-10 hour drives. And having client files securely accessible from anywhere keeps us locked in at all times.” —Brian O’Neill, a personal injury lawyer in San Luis Obispo, California 

“Balancing business development with the actual practice of law. The two are distinct concepts.  A lawyer needs to play to his or her strengths. If a lawyer’s strength is business development, then he or she probably needs a partner or associate who’s good at the practice of law. And vice versa for a lawyer who’s a great practitioner but isn’t a rainmaker.”  —Charles A. Krugel, who practices labor and employment law and is a human resources attorney in Chicago

“The most challenging part of running our firm> is making sure that we have the right team in place. We take hiring new attorneys very seriously because it’s vital to service our clients with the best talent possible and ensure everyone is working toward the same goal.” — Julie Sellers, managing partner at a commercial real estate legal practice  in Atlanta

“The most challenging aspect is the business side. If you’re in charge of a law firm, you must understand you are running a business. My greatest failures and successes so far are directly related to business decisions I’ve made.”—Evan Walker, a personal injury lawyer in San Diego

“Finding excellent employees to help you serve your clients is always the largest challenge facing a law firm” — George Lorenzo, a personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida