Does Your Law Practice Look Like a Hedgehog Or Fox?

A legal fox is wandering through the forest, contemplating its empty stomach. It sees a legal hedgehog waddling nearby. Aha! It races toward the hedgehog which immediately rolls into a ball. The fox cannot get the hedgehog to unroll and, in fact, hurts its paws in the process on the hedgehog’s spines.The legal fox then runs up the path and hides itself behind a tree, ready to pounce. It thinks the element of surprise will give it an edge. As the legal hedgehog walks by, the fox springs. But, once again, in a split second the hedgehog rolls into a ball, again foiling the fox’s attempt.Stomach growling, the fox tries another trick. It digs a hole in the path and as the hedgehog moves by it, the fox knock it in, trying to get its mouth around the hedgehog’s soft belly.But the legal hedgehog has rolled into a ball again. Dispirited and spine-punctured, the legal fox gives up. None of the different things it has tried have worked. Now it is time to go look for easier, less single-minded prey.This is from a parable from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus who showed that people can be divided into two categories: Hedgehogs and Foxes. Today Jim Collins has applied these concepts to corporate entrepreneurship in his book, “Good to Great.”What the parable demonstrates is that the “Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog knows one big thing.” So what does this mean to you in your legal practice?Many lawyers do not succeed because they are somewhat scattered, diffuse, or inconsistent in their thinking about what they are really good at and what they want to do and share.They never quite clarify what they are deeply passionate about, what product or service best represents this, and what will produce a sustainable profit.Foxes are lawyers who tend to follow each new concept or technique, rather than see if they can apply any of it to what they know already works, to make it work better.Hedgehogs are lawyers who know what works so they do it over and over. Occasionally they may apply bits of new concepts but only to make their basic approach even better.You need to ask yourself:1. What do I love to do as a lawyer?
2. What can I be really good at?
3. What is the best way for me to create sustained cash flow for my practice using #1 and 2?The moral of the story is that if you want to succeed in your practice, you have to always roll into a ball and protect your soft legal specialty underbelly.