Book Report – The E Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

Geoff Hamby

The E Myth is short for Entrepreneurial Myth, which says that most businesses fail because the people starting their own businesses are not entrepreneurs at all. In the case of attorneys, law schools don’t teach the enterprise of law or the business of law but only the practice of law. They only teach how to be an effective rather than a successful attorney. An effective attorney is capable of performing their legal duties with certainty and professionalism. A successful attorney works balanced hours, has little stress, enjoys rewarding relationships with friends and family, has time to give back to the community and has more to offer clients than just legal wisdom. The goal of a successful attorney is to turn their legal practice, which relies on the attorneys, into a legal business, which relies on other people plus a system. Once your practice becomes a business with reliable systems, you can replicate it and turn it into an enterprise.  In order to have successful legal business you need:


Every successful business has a business plan which describes the business being created, the purpose it will serve, the vision it will pursue, the process to turn the vision into reality and the way money will be used to realize that vision. There also needs to be a practice plan that explains everything that needs to be done to deliver the service to the client on time, every time. The completion plan describes in detail how to complete everything in the practice plan step by step. For every area of practice, there should be systems in place that detail the proper way to perform each task related to that area of practice. This creates easy transitions when there is employee turnover or someone out sick for an extended period of time.


People are almost impossible to manage. Rather than managing people, management is more about managing processes which become the system. It is through the system that people get things done. The system insures that the people do things consistently and win. The system makes it possible to take inexperienced people who possess the right personalities and character traits and teach them the innovative systems of the business and watch the firm begin to transform.


A successful business will grow, flourish and change. The business should embrace new technologies and automation. Reducing the time it takes to perform routine tasks saves money and frees up time for other tasks that create an opportunity to generate more revenue. The most successful businesses are those willing to move outside their comfort zone to try new ways of doing things. The goal of a successful legal business is to create systems that will allow reasonably competent people to run the business without the attorneys being present. I feel like Oliver Law Firm is on the right track of being a successful legal business not just a legal practice. We have systems in place for many of the processes in the office. An example is the procedures for case intake and answering phone calls. Those types of systems make it possible for the office to run efficiently and for everyone to be on the same page as to how it is supposed to work. Also, the use of technology is a major focus to grow and change. We are definitely headed in the right direction.