Most lawyers don't realize just how much time they'll spend in the business of managing their law firm. 46% of lawyers spend fewer than 10 hours interacting with clients or going to court in a given week.
The rest of that time is filled with other important tasks, like leading your team, conducting research, and handling back-end firm work like accounting. While that number might shock you, it also has tremendous potential.
If you could get a better handle on law firm management roles and responsibilities, you could devote much more time to serving clients and business development, impacting your bottom line.
One of the easiest ways to test new theories and see what's working for others is to pick up some of the best management books for lawyers. Check out 15 books every lawyer should read to enhance their firm management style.
1. The Law Firm Of Your Dreams: Say Goodbye to Your Boss, Say Hello to the Law Firm You've Always Dreamed of by John Fisher
There are many great books for lawyers on the market today, and this one is a wonderful starting point.
As a law firm owner, you have to serve as an executive for multiple departments: marketing, sales, finance, and operations, at a minimum.
Most lawyers aiming for a scalable law firm know how to practice the law. But they miss the fundamentals of how to thrive in each of these different areas. In this book, you'll gain insight from someone who has done and lays out the must-dos of building a practice that generates profit without burning you out.
2. Lawyers Guide To Creating Systems, Getting Clients, & Becoming A Legal Rainmaker by David Britton
This book is broken down into 11 steps that successful law firm owners should take in starting their own practice or revisiting the foundation of their existing firm.
With a big focus on marketing your firm, including using your website more strategically, creating your online presence with social media, and how to do business development for law firms, you'll walk away with practical steps to building marketing into your law firm operations overall.
3. Tiger Tactics: Powerful Strategies for Winning Law Firms by Jay Ruane, Ryan McKeen, Billie Tarascio, William Umansky, & Theresa DeGray
Sometimes you just need a little motivation from someone who has already built the path for you. Managing a law firm is not about reinventing the wheel.
Finding someone else who has already worked out most of the major kinks will speed up your process and help you achieve results more smoothly.
That's what you can expect in this book by five lawyers who did it, in addition to clear steps you can follow to hit that million-dollar or multimillion-dollar revenue goal for your law firm.
4. The E-Myth Attorney by Michael Gerber
While the concepts in this book are relatively simple, they are also powerful. Note that this book is mostly geared towards solo and small firm lawyers and that some reviewers believe if you read the original E-Myth book, you might see a lot of potential overlap in the concepts.
The premise is that most law firms today are struggling unnecessarily and that by looking at the mistakes others have made, you can course correct and build a thriving law firm that doesn't rely on you alone.
5. How Successful Law Firms Really Work by Bobby Feisee and David L. Ginsberg
This book breaks down law practice management into several important aspects, each of which is covered in one chapter. Each chapter concludes with important questions for you to consider as you think about how this applies to your practice.
Further, the book also comes with downloadable templates and forms to make implementing the book’s concepts simple and effective. If you want to add something new to your list of the best books for lawyers to read, this is a good one.
6. Playing to Win by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin
When was the last time you looked at your law firm strategy? Too many law firms think they've got a strategy in place when it's more like a loose set of goals or metrics guiding decisions rather than real strategy.
Discover what the most successful businesses in any given category are doing when it comes to brainstorming and acting on strategy.
The book is told through the lens of what happened in practice with leading brand Proctor and Gamble but has a lot of translation potential in the legal industry. Even if you're working with clients and not customers in your law firm, the way people perceive a brand is worth exploring so you can reflect that back on your own law firm brand in the marketplace.
7. Traction by Gino Wickman
This entrepreneurial classic is a must for lawyers and any other small business owner.
Learning how to interact well with your team can make or break your long-term goal achievement. Wickman is a thought leader for helping business owners apply transformative entrepreneurial concepts around hiring, training, meeting with, and leading a team of other people.
These are skills often not taught in law school, but they can provide a strong structure for your law firm team.
8. The Client-Centered Law Firm by Jack Newton
Jack Newton of Clio fame wrote this guide to help you better understand how to connect your offerings to current demands in client service.
Making the case that lawyers must be ready to meet clients where they're at (online, on mobile, etc.) and in a manner that appeals to those clients (with outstanding communication and quick responses), Newton says that lawyers who follow this advice will be able to pivot into the modern era.
Meet your clients where they are at and build an experience worth raving about by reading this book.
9. Managing the Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister
If you step back to look at law firms more broadly, you're part of a group of service firms that provide a personalized experience for your clients.
David H. Maister says that plenty of the advice out there for product-based businesses in management research is solid but falls short on delivery when applied to professional service providers.
This book is a deep dive into topics around leadership, profit improvement, and strategic planning.
10. The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change by Hainen Landa
Technology has disrupted every industry, and legal is no exception. Lawyers have to adapt to the increasingly fast pace of technology shifts with an array of software, tools, and apps.
At the same time, your potential clients leverage technology in every aspect of their lives, and they expect the same when they hire a lawyer.
In this book, you'll learn more about how to use technology to your advantage rather than seeing it as a possible hindrance.
11. Fireproof: A Five-Step Model to Take Your Law Firm from Unpredictable to Wildly Profitable by Mike Morse
Lawyers are known for putting in plenty of long hours, but what if that isn't translating into a profitable law firm?
Beyond paying yourself, running a profitable firm is important for growing your team to deliver outstanding client service. Some lawyers have reported feeling burned out in their practice area more than 50% of the time.
If you're looking to recharge and reconnect with your own law firm, recalibrate by checking out this book from a lawyer who has done it himself.
12. The New Law Business Model by Ali Katz
Ali Katz makes the argument that too many lawyers are going about building their practice the wrong way. They wind up in a cycle of working too hard for too long, eventually starting to hate the law and feeling like they're stuck on a hamster wheel.
She presents a premium pricing concept that positions lawyers as expert legal services providers. This keeps pricing simple but also high value for the services rendered. There are some good case studies and examples throughout the book that paint the picture of what a law practice doing things differently looks like.
13. Virtual Law Firm Secrets: How to Run Your Law Firm So It Doesn't Run You by Sam Mollaei
Remote work was trending but not nationally before the pandemic, but now plenty of business owners see the benefit in running hybrid or entirely virtual offices.
Expand your access to the broadest staff talent pool and eliminate office space, paper, and commutes by taking your law firm totally virtual.
The author calls himself a legal industry disruptor because he built three multimillion-dollar firms with his approach. Skip the headaches of making the fully remote transition by applying his tips.
14. How to be a Chief Operating Officer: 16 Disciplines for Success by Jennifer Geary
As the managing partner, you might be a leader, doer, and visionary simultaneously. That's a heavy load to balance, which is why it's worth taking advice from this book.
The author spent 20 years in numerous disciplines before stepping into a COO role and wrote the book with insight she wished she'd had when making that transition. Inside, you'll identify 16 core components necessary to excel as the COO in theory or title within your law firm.
15. When Women Run the Firm: How to Successfully Launch and Manage your Law Practice with Confidence by Demetria Graves
As the title gives away, this book is intended for aspiring female law firm owners. With a solid mix of mindset work that often stands in the way of allowing someone to launch and strategies designed to set the firm up the right way from day one, Graves makes owning a law firm seem more accessible than ever before.
If you're not yet sure about heading out on your own, this book will tell you more about what to expect.
16. The Game Changing Attorney by Michael Mogill
Managing your law firm doesn't end with SOPs and getting the right people in the right seats. Successful firms also need to understand how to market themselves.
Michael Mogill's The Game Changing Attorney guides readers through what it takes to create unreasonable growth in their law firms. This book shows attorneys how they can use compelling visual content to stand out in a crowded market and get more cases.
17. Niching Up by Chris Dreyer
Rounding out our list of the best management books is Chris Dreyer's Niching Up. In this book, the Rankings.io Founder explains why narrowing your focus on just one or two practice areas can deliver bigger results than being a generalist.
If you're tired of feeling like your firm is struggling to be everything to everyone, this book is for you. In it, you'll find out why re-imagining your firm with a narrow focus can set you up with more opportunities to scale.
Get in Touch with Leading Firm Management Concepts
Books are an excellent starting point for building or rebuilding your dream law firm. You can also learn to manage your law firm more effectively from other sources like legal podcasts and blogs.
If you're looking for how to grow a law firm, how to manage a small firm, or how to create a law firm marketing plan or legal marketing budget, reading more broadly helps you digest and apply your learning points in a tailored way.