Successfully running a small or solo law firm isn’t an easy feat. There are thousands of opinions about how you should build and run your business. One of the best ways to sift through the noise is by reading the wise words of those who have gone before you, found in law firm management books.
There are several law firm management books available on the market that we love and offer valuable advice, insight, roadmaps, and more to help you build a strong firm. There are also thousands of business books that are relevant and applicable to law firms.
It’s important to carefully examine any book or source you look to for advice, ensuring it fits your law firm’s goals. We’ve reviewed many and have compiled this list of what we believe to be the best business books for lawyers.
The Small Firm Roadmap
Attorneys attempting to practice under traditional methods aren’t thriving; they’re simply trying to survive. They’re struggling to make ends meets and trudging through mental health issues, all while trying to meet their clients’ expectations.
There is a better way.
The Small Firm Roadmap: A Survival Guide to the Future of Your Law Practice is an essential survival guide for small law firms, written by the team here at Lawyerist. Written by Aaron Street, Sam Glover, Stephanie Everett, and Marshall Lichty, the book explains our client-centric law firm management model and how it can empower lawyers to build better firms, be more effective with clients, enjoy better health, obtain a greater sense of fulfillment, and make a bigger impact on the community.
Key takeaway. Our book will help you gain clarity around your career, set your firm’s goals, and identify successful strategies for starting and growing a successful future-oriented law firm. The Small Firm Roadmap also discusses the shortcomings found in traditional law firm practice and how you can overcome them.
The E-Myth Revisited
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber is the #1 business book according to many Inc. 500 CEOs. It’s for good reason, too. The book discusses the “e-myth,” or the entrepreneurial myth, that most people who start small businesses are automatically entrepreneurs. Throughout the pages, Gerber discusses the often fatal assumptions and expectations that can get in the way of running your business.
Beyond discussing the things that hold you back, Gerber also takes you through each step that may occur over the life of your business, using his years of experience to guide you forward in the best way.
Key takeaway. You’ll gain a clear understanding of the difference between working in your business and on your business, a critical distinction for all business owners. You’ll learn why you shouldn’t be working to the bone to keep your business afloat. Instead, Gerber teaches you how to create systems and a successful business, not just a job.
Getting Things Done
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is the ultimate guidebook of business productivity. This book fully illustrates one thought: yesterday’s productivity methods just don’t work. According to David, the only way we can achieve effective productivity is when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized.
Throughout Getting Things Done (“GTD” to fans), you’ll learn how to apply the “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule for clearing your inbox and gain the tools you need to assess your goals and stay focused. You’ll discover tactics for planning your projects while overcoming overwhelm and anxiety. At the end of the book, you’ll know how to say “no” and feel good about it.
Key takeaway. Constant distractions are the enemy to successful productivity. In this book, Allen explains his premise that our productivity is proportional to our ability to relax. That’s why it’s critical to learn how to clear your mind, your inbox, and your surroundings to truly focus. We’ve been devoted to the GTD method for over a decade and wrote the guide to GTD for Lawyers if you want to adapt the practice in your firm.
Instant profitability is achievable. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz explains how conventional and logical accounting formulas simply don’t work. According to Mike, the best way to become profitable in your business is to change the model “Sales – Expenses = Profit” to “Sales – Profit = Expenses.” If this seems counterintuitive, it is—that’s the whole point.
According to Michalowicz, by taking your profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, you can transform your business from “a cash-eating monster to a profitable cash cow.” To prove this advice works, Michalowicz gives you dozens of case studies throughout the book to see the model in action. He also offers step-by-step advice to make Profit First work in your law firm.
Key takeaway. A business that can achieve and maintain sustained profitability will have a better shot at long-term growth. As a solo or small law firm owner, you can build your company to be worth much more than your larger competition by following the Profit First principles. Mike shared more about how Profit First can be applied to lawyers on our podcast.
Small business finances have the potential to be overwhelming, especially when you’re in start-up mode or trying to navigate difficult financial decisions. In Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential by Greg Crabtree, you’ll learn how to understand the numbers that guide your business. Crabtree—an accountant, small business advisor, and presenter—uses his expertise to teach you how to use your law firm’s financial indicators to make smart business decisions.
Easy to follow, Simple Numbers offers step-by-step instructions and real-world examples. You’ll learn what the most common financial errors are and how you can avoid them in your law firm.
Key takeaway. If you think minimizing tax liability should be your focus, think again. Greg explains the four forces of cash flow in this book: paying your taxes, repaying debt, reaching your core capital target, and taking profit distributions—in that order. According to Greg, the cash flow you generate is the most powerful opportunity magnet ever created. Check out Greg Crabtree’s appearance on our podcast, too!
As you make business decisions for your firm, it’s critical that you take action and implement each decision. Otherwise, you lose the traction you need for growth. In Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman, you’ll learn how to get a grip on your business by using the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, a practical method for achieving business success.
Focused on helping you develop your leadership team, Traction teaches you how to strengthen the six key components of your business to create a profitable law firm, free from anxiety and frustration. To help you implement EOS®, Gino also offers companion reads What the Heck is EOS, Rocket Fuel, and Get a Grip.
Key takeaway. There are six key components of any business: vision, people, data, issues, process, and traction. You’ll learn the importance of getting everyone on the same page, filling your team with great people, using objective numbers over opinions, problem-solving, systemization, and proper execution of it all.
Never Split the Difference
High-stakes negotiations occur both in the courtroom and when making business decisions for your law firm. Former international hostage negotiator for the FBI, Chris Voss brings you a new approach to negotiation in his book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. During his career of saving lives, Voss gleaned some critical skills that can help you save your business.
In the book, you’ll read about nine principles that go against the grain of traditional negotiation tactics. They will help you become more persuasive in all areas of your life, from business decisions to the courtroom and beyond.
In the negotiations throughout Voss’s career, winning was the only option. He brings that same grit to the messages he lays out in Never Split the Difference.
Key takeaway. You won’t find any academic wording or jargon in this book. Instead, Voss breaks his strategies down into easy-to-follow action items you can use daily. Voss explains negotiation through a new lens, offering strategies such as gathering information via active listening, tactical empathy, establishing rapport, the illusion of control, setting limits, and more. Chris had a great appearance on our podcast.
As a law firm owner, it’s your responsibility to be a good leader for the rest of your team. In Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott, you’ll learn how to be a great boss from a previous executive with Google and Apple. The idea behind Radical Candor is this: you must care personally while challenging your team directly.
According to Scott, when you challenge without caring for your team, you’ll come across as aggressive. When you care without challenging your team, you can damage them with empathy. The key is to create a culture of feedback and build a cohesive team to achieve results.
Key takeaway. Candor means to be open and honest without hesitation. In Radical Candor, you’ll learn the importance of remaining radically transparent in all areas, including when giving feedback, to build business relationships. As Scott says, “establishing a trusting relationship with each person who reports directly to you” is at the heart of becoming a great boss.
Never Lose a Customer Again
One of the key components of building a sustainable law firm is the ability to turn your clients into lifelong clients. In Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days by Joey Coleman, you’ll learn how to use the client experience to hook your client for life. According to Coleman, approximately 20-70% of your new clients will stop doing business with you after the first 100 days. It’s all because of the feeling of neglect in the beginning stages of the relationship.
In Never Lose a Customer Again, Coleman explains the eight emotional phases a client goes through in the 100 days following the purchase of a product or service including assess, admit, affirm, activate, acclimate, accomplish, adopt, and advocate.
These eight phases make up a valuable client journey you can use to enhance their loyalty to your firm. You’ll have access to Coleman’s research, valuable case studies, and more to help guide you towards creating the ultimate client experience.
Key takeaway. You must understand and anticipate the client’s emotions throughout the entire journey, which doesn’t end at case closed. There are many tools at your disposal, including email, phone, mail, in-person meetings, and more that span the entire journey and help seal the deal on a lasting relationship. Joey has talked more about how to apply his methods in a law firm on our podcast.
As an attorney and law firm owner, your success depends on your mindset. In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., you’ll discover the power of mindset and how your success is directly influenced by how you think.
Mindset includes a wide variety of examples, stories, case studies, and science to further illustrate the importance of how we think. Throughout the book, Dweck illustrates how both growth and fixed mindsets can impact athletes, businesses, relationships, and kids, giving you insights you can apply in your law firm and beyond.
Key takeaway. According to Dweck, people who believe that abilities are fixed are less likely to succeed than those who believe that abilities can be developed. In this book, you’ll learn how to adopt a growth mindset for yourself and your entire team.
Learn Even More About Building & Running Your Law Firm
Whether you’re an attorney who just started a firm or a lawyer with years of experience, there’s still plenty of insight to gain that can change the future of your law firm. These law firm management books can help you gain a competitive edge by illustrating growth, negotiation, thought, management, and financial strategies you can trust.
Building and running a small or solo law firm comes with its own unique challenges. Yet, there’s nothing you’ll face that others haven’t faced before you. Beyond taking the time to read these books, you can learn from other attorneys with years of experience by becoming a Lawyerist Insider today.