Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law.
Growing a Law Practice During COVID-19. By Gary Mitchell. Toronto: LexisNexis, 2021. xxi, 150 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. ISBN 9780433515661 (softcover) $100.00.
Reviewed by Jenny Thornhill
Law Society of Newfoundland & Labrador Law Library
In CLLR 47:1
At first glance, one might assume that Growing a Law Practice During COVID-19 has a limited shelf life and is only relevant during the pandemic. However, a second glance inside the cover and a review of its contents show that this text has a lot of valuable information for lawyers and their legal practices now and in the future.
Author Gary Mitchell has previously published two books intended to help lawyers develop and improve their legal practices as businesses: Raindance: The Business Development Guidebook for Lawyers (2012) and Raindance II: A Blueprint for Growing Your Practice (2014). He also writes the column “The Coach” for LexisNexis’s The Lawyer’s Daily and has been a business coach focusing on lawyers for 30 years. In many ways, Growing a Law Practice During COVID-19 is an updated edition of his Raindance texts.
The purpose of the text is to provide a complete set of strategies and specific steps for lawyers, most of whom are experienced in the law but may lack experience with the business side of running a legal practice. It is aimed at the growth and improvement of the business aspects of practice and is written for all legal practitioners, regardless of their years of experience.
There are 12 chapters in total. The first four focus on foundational advice, including guidance on how to effectively work from home. The next three chapters focus on business management, followed by two on employee management. The last two chapters are aimed at career management for legal practitioners, both for themselves and for members of their firms.
The text is very accessible, written in plain language, and does not have to be read in a linear fashion. In fact, Mitchell strongly encourages readers to focus on the areas that have the most relevance to their personal situation. However, readers seeking to work on improving their legal practice might want to read the chapters on business management (chapters 4–7) in chronological order to take full advantage of the tips and exercises recommended by the author.
The skills and techniques presented within the text are applicable at any time in a law firm’s growth as a business. The current pandemic has prompted many lawyers to struggle to find ways to keep their practices afloat, which is why Mitchell wrote the text at this time: to encourage lawyers to focus on their practices as businesses and keep themselves relevant and solvent during the crisis.
The accessibility of the writing, first-hand knowledge of the issues, and real-world focus of the content make Growing a Law Practice During COVID-19 an excellent addition to any law firm, courthouse, or law society library collection. Lawyers who are either a partner in a law firm or are considering owning a law firm will find the text of value. Some extra care may be required when cataloguing this item to encourage members not to consider the title as “dated” or of a limited-time value. This text is well worth it for legal practitioners to invest time and effort in applying the content.