It doesn’t matter how determined, dedicated, or hardworking you are, if you place too much food on your plate, eventually, you’re going to drop it.
As a lawyer, you can’t afford to let your plate (your caseload) overflow with food (clients). A burgeoning caseload not only increases your stress levels but increases the risk you will be so overwhelmed that you can’t give the clients the representation they need.
That being said, what can you do? There are only a limited number of hours in a day, so you can’t exactly get a bigger plate. Therefore, you’re left with only one option: decreasing your portion.
Is Taking on Fewer Clients the Answer?
Let’s look at the situation from a logical standpoint. When you need to make a tough decision, you weighing the pros and cons to see the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. So, what are the pros and cons of limiting your caseload?
Pros and Cons of Limiting Your Client List as a Lawyer
- Fewer clients mean less stress. No matter how hard you try, you can’t deal with the insane pressure of dozens of cases without feeling anxiety. However, by limiting your caseload, you’ll ease that pressure a bit, and avoid becoming overwhelmed, suffering lawyer burnout, or turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- Fewer clients mean better dedication and more one-on-one time. The more clients you have, the less time you have to spend with each one of them. However, by representing only a few clients at a time, you can dedicate more of yourself during one-on-one sessions. Furthermore, you can better focus on the particulars of each case, rather than run the risk of confusing one case for another.
- Fewer clients mean more creativity and the potential for success. In addition to having more time to spend with each client, the added time you receive by cutting back on clients will allow you to explore alternative options for the case, rather than committing to the first idea you have just because it would be faster and easier.
- A smaller caseload means less money. By only handling a few cases at a time, you limit your revenue. Even though one really good client could result in a lot of publicity and a larger payout, representing a dozen lesser cases raises the odds for overall profit.
- Fewer clients mean less advertising. Word of mouth spreads a lot of attorney endorsements. By representing fewer clients, you’ll have fewer satisfied former clients working to endorse you and your firm’s skills to others.
- Fewer clients may look like “cherry-picking.” To maintain a profit when representing fewer clients, you must take on more high-profile cases, while letting the smaller, more obscure cases go. As a result, public perception may be that you’re “cherry-picking” your clients based on notoriety and that you don’t truly care about the client—just his case’s potential. Consequently, your reputation may take a hit.
Casamo and Associates is pleased to provide a perspective on all aspects of the legal profession. If you found this article thought-provoking, please consider sharing it on law firm’s Facebook or LinkedIn communities. Take this opportunity to start a conversation about the future of legal practice in the United States.