Samira Mery Lineberger, Esq.
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life never deciding to master anything in particular.” Anthony Robbins
You’re a law firm and you basically just want to get clients and practice law. You have an idea of what type of law you want to practice and what kind of clients you want, so why bother with a mission statement? What purpose does it really serve?
As in the medical profession, the practice of law is becoming more and more specialized. You may start off as a generalist, but at some point focusing on an area or areas of specialty may make sense. Targeting in on either an area of law or a type of client can be critical to long term, sustained business development. A mission statement may seem like a needless formality, but its development assists in bringing all decision makers in agreement as to the direction of the firm, and can surprisingly be a simple but effective tool in assuring that all activities undertaken are designed to meet the goals of the firm. Many times, short term opportunities will appear on the horizon that will tempt members to loose focus. While acting on a short term opportunity may provide short term benefits, resources are diverted away from what was already determined after careful analysis by the firm to be the most beneficial long term direction, and thus will delay or stall the ability of the firm to meet the goals and objectives that are in the best interest of the firm. All opportunities should therefore be compared to the mission statement to determine whether they are in line with its stated intent.
More than just a nice statement gracing a brochure or business plan, the mission statement can be an effective management tool. When utilized, it can make the difference between achieving your goals through focused and sustained efforts, and short term gratification through uncoordinated activities that achieve little long term benefit.