Interview With Kerry Lavelle, Author Of “The Business Guide To Law”

original-kerry-m-lavelle.jpg20160715-15905-18an7xrHere at MyCase, we’re all about helping lawyers run their law firms more efficiently and cost-effectively. Whether through webinars, ebooks, or infographics, we love to provide useful resources for solo and small firm lawyers. That’s why we decided to launch this blog post series highlighting recently published books focused on helping lawyers practice law in the 21st century.

Today’s book is a perfect example. “The Business Guide To Law: Creating And Operating A Successful Law Firm” provides a wealth of information for lawyers on how to effectively manage a law firm. We caught up with its author, Kerry M. Lavelle, to learn more about why he wrote this book and how it can help improve the day-to-day lives of attorneys.

What is your background and what inspired you to write a book for the legal profession?

I have been a lawyer for approximately 27 years and largely responsible for operating and running Lavelle Law, Ltd.  I made a lot of mistakes over the years and made some great decisions that have really changed the growth path of the law firm.  I was inspired to write about those obstacles and opportunities so that new attorneys, or decision makers in existing law firms, can gain from my experience and make wise choices to grow their law firms.

Writing is an everyday task for lawyers.  What is your number one writing tip?

I usually start with a comprehensive outline, and fill in the facts, and then the arguments, to the outline.  Creating an outline first, allows me to proceed in a more organized fashion. 

What motivated you to address the particular subject of your book?

I wanted to leave a summary, or a legacy of things that we have done here at Lavelle Law to grow the law practice.  The book is a compilation of business principles of some of the most authoritative figures on business management and by taking those principles, with proper attribution, and applying them to the law office model, a law office will be really set to grow.

Why should every lawyer learn about your book topic?

It has been my experience that notwithstanding the practice group you are working in, estate planning lawyer, a personal injury lawyer, a real estate lawyer, or any other area of the law, we all have one thing in common, the business of running our law offices.  My book The Business Guide to Law; Creating and Operating a Successful Law Firm, is a perfect foundational book for any decision maker in a law office that has come through undergrad as an english major, political science major, or some technical field like engineering, that does not have the business background or the knowledge to find the resources necessary to grow a great business, that happens to be a law firm.

How do you hope other lawyers will utilize your book when they practice law?

From the feedback I am receiving from lawyers who have read the book, they tend to read the book initially cover to cover, and then use it as a desk book to go back and re-read certain sections, as challenges come up in their practice.

How do you envision your book will help lawyers run their practices?

For existing law practices, I would direct them to section two of the book that is specifically about growing their practice.  I would hope they would take the three components that I highlight, people, systems, and culture and recognize that without a commitment to those three pillars, the law firm will not grow, except by happenstance.

What sets your book apart from other books devoted to the same or similar topics?

My book is segregated into three parts.  Part one is about starting a law practice – there are many books about starting their own law practice but quite honestly, I think The Business Guide to Law; Creating and Operating a Successful Law Firm, is the most comprehensive.  Part two is about growing the law practice.  There are very few books out there that give a new or even experienced practitioner the ability to see the foundational things that need to be done to start the practice, with an eye towards growing the practice.  Lastly, in the same book, part three of The Business Guide to Law; Creating and Operating a Successful Law Firm explains to the founding partner how to build a mechanism to transition out of the practice and leave the legacy of the law firm to the second generation of partners.  There is no other book like it in the market that combines all three phases of the life cycle of the law practice – from start to growth, to transitioning the practice to new partners.

What are the top 3 takeaways from your book?

  1. The profession of law is a great profession and we should be honored to be a part of it.  However, in order to build a successful law practice, you have to run it like a business. 
  2. The three elements of growing a practice are people, systems, and culture.  You have to give equal weight to all three to be successful.
  3. Have a business plan.  If you do not have a plan, you are planning to fail.  Commit your business plan to writing.
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