If you cannot live off the value you create for your clients, your practice will die.

Years ago, I was watching David Lat (yes, David Lat from this Above the Law) interview Steve Brill of The American Lawyer. One statement by Steve Brill struck me.  The discussion was focused on whether or not publications that go online should charge for content.  Steve properly (in my opinion) argued if you create value, they will pay.  His exact words were, “Live off the value you create.”  In further support of his argument, he pointed out several publications that are successfully charging for content rather than relying upon advertisers or sponsors. Create value to your customers so they will continue to support your endeavors.  The financial relationship should be between you, the service provider, and the end user.

Independently, I read this post by Matt Homann and I was further struck by his statement:

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the legal industry now and in the upcoming year?

Most lawyers are focused on returning their practices to profitability — which is a near term problem for many of us.  However, I think a far greater challenge is looming in the distance, and that is irrelevance.

For far too long, lawyers have taken their clients and customers for granted.  Quietly, real alternatives are emerging that are making lawyers less necessary to clients.  In just the last five years, we’ve seen more and more consumers turn first to the web as they draft their will, start their LLC, etc.  This is a trend that will only continue, and lawyers must begin thinking about a day when the least valuable thing they have to offer their clients is advice.

Read the summation and conclusion at AboveTheLaw.com