Lessons from a Managing Partner: How to Scale from Solopreneur to Seven-Figure Law Firm

By Rosanna Berardi, Esq. | Founder | Berardi Immigration Law

June is always a special month for me. Our son, Salvatore, was born on June 2, 2006 and my second child, Berardi Immigration Law, was born on June 24, 2005. It’s hard to believe that I have a 14-year-old son and 15-year-old law firm. I started my firm out of my dusty apartment in Buffalo, New York with one client and a dream. I did the unthinkable—I left the largest law firm in Buffalo to start my own firm. I went from having a team of people take care of my every need (paralegals, secretaries, marketing support) to becoming the Lawyer, HR person, tax expert and cleaning lady. The first years were tough, especially since our dear son didn’t sleep through the night for two years. So how did I scale my firm over the last 15 years? Here are some key lessons I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Learn how to read financial statements. If you don’t know your numbers, you will not survive. When I first started my business, I only focused on the gross revenues. I quickly learned that the gross revenues are not an indication of your business’s success. Lesson learned; I now know the key numbers to monitor daily.
  2. Treat every client or customer as if they are your only one. As my business has scaled, I have trained every employee to treat every single client like they are our only one. People never forget how you make them feel and I’ve had clients refer their friends and family to my firm over 10 years after we represented them.
  3. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You can’t control everything that happens in your business and you’ll go crazy if you try. It’s essential you hire a team that you trust to manage your key duties. That frees you up to spend your time working on things that only you can do.
  4. Spend money where it matters. Write a check to go faster. Automate your life. Stop counting pennies. If it’s easier to have your supplies delivered to the office rather than going to Office Depot every week, do it. Time is money.
  5. Hire people smarter than you. Some people are threatened by a team that’s “better than them,”, but you want to have a team that is substantively smarter than you. You’re the brains of the business operation. Let your team do the nitty-gritty work.

Managing a law firm is like living on a permanent rollercoaster. There are constants ups and downs. It hasn’t been easy, but along the way I’ve forged great relationships with my employees and vendors, learned countless lessons about life and business and helped thousands of clients realize their American dreams.

About the Author:
Rosanna Berardi is the Managing Partner of Berardi Immigration Law, a business immigration law firm based in Buffalo, New York. She is also the CEO of High Wire Woman, a coaching business that provides systems and solutions to working women.

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