Why Bigger Isnt Always Better

Todays traditional thinking is that everything has to be bigger, better, more, and faster.  For example, consider fast food restaurants.  They offer jumbo size meals, and serve billions and billions, but is that what consumers really need?  For instance, have you ever heard anyone bragging about the wonderful dining experience that he/she had at the "burger palace" last night?  In fact, when is the last time that anyone has eaten at one of these places and not felt at least a little queasy later?

While the bigger/more concepts might seem like a good idea in some settings, the same principles should not be applied to professional service providers.  Some lawyers handle a high volume of cases, and many good lawyers lose their passion for their work as a result.  I did not want to find myself in that position, so just over two years ago, I made a decision to change the way that I practice law.  I decided to handle a lower volume of cases so that I could provide better service to my clients.  I was providing "good" service at that time, but I wanted to provide "great" service.  Why?  Because thats what I would want if I were the client and because thats what I believe clients deserve.

Some clients complain that they can never get in touch with their attorney.  Instead, they are forced to rely on the paralegal or secretary as their primary (and sometimes only) contact at the law firm.   While that might be alright in some situations, such as asking if a document has been received, etc., I believe that it should not be the regular course of business for more important issues in a case.  While having an excellent staff is important, the client has hired the attorney to handle the case, and not the attorneys staff.

Before I implemented these changes, my active case load was around 150 cases, and I estimate that it was roughly 60% family law cases, 25% personal injury cases, and 15% other cases.  Now, I only handle 50 to 75 cases at any given time, with over 85% of them being family law cases.  The lower case volume allows me more time to think about all of the various aspects of each case and to give each on the time that it deserves to make sure that it is handled the right way.

If you are a client or potential client, consider these factors and ask the attorneys you interview how many active cases they currently have, and then decide how comfortable you will feel being one of that number.   If you are an attorney, give some thought to reducing your number of active cases so that you can provide better service to your clients.  Dont they deserve it?

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