David’s Story

When I started the financial recovery process, I had burned through most of my savings, lost many clients, left my assistant alienated.  I was hardly billing, never taking time off, fronting money for clients’ expenses and generally running on auto-pilot.  As a result, I teetered on the edge of malpractice – all the while working 60+ hours a week.  Remarkably, I managed to accomplish this without alcohol or drugs.

I am very grateful that a fellow lawyer – then a respected acquaintance, now my most valuable mentor – saw me floundering and demanded that I shape up.  Hearing about my business problems, he sent me to financial counseling.

Like most lawyers, I love understanding how things work, and I had always tried to learn how to run a law practice.  I wasn’t cheap about it.  I attended CLEs and tried to implement what I learned.  A CPA spent hours tweaking my chart of accounts and offered tax tips:  he couldn’t fathom why I wasn’t making money.  A marketing guy suggested a range of ideas aimed at bringing more people in the door; I could barely do the work I had already.  A therapist was more effective:  she helped me say ‘no’ to certain ‘red flag’ clients I had accepted before.  However, the larger problem remained.

My financial counselor saw me as a whole.  She understood my combination of overlapping problems in a way none of the specialists had.

As a result of the financial counseling process, which continues, I finally understand my practice as a business in the way I always wanted to understand it.  I bill regularly.  I get paid for my work. I know what is likely to come in over the next month and the next year.  I am putting money into savings, instead of spending all of it.  I am never afraid I might miss a deadline.  I still love practicing law – I never lost the love of it, though the bad times made it seem like it wasn’t going to be possible to practice happily.  The misery I put myself through helps me to appreciate the great benefits of financial counseling.   Had I had this information at the beginning of my practice, I could have avoided burning a lot of bridges.

David W.