• You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." ─ Yogi Berra

Lawyers opening up new law practices may hear from veteran lawyers that there is no need to spend time drafting a written business plan or budget for the first year. They may say that they never did that and became quite successful. I won’t disagree with that. Years ago few law firms prepared written business plans and almost no solo lawyers did. But that was then and this is now. Many business matters and many legal matters were much more simple in the "good old days."

Today no new business more complex than a kid’s summer lemonade stand should open without a written business plan and even the kid’s lemonade stand needs a budget. The July 2007 issue of Law Practice Today has a very short article titled "A Business Plan and Budget: The foundation of a successful and profitable practice" by Dave Bilinsky and Dan Pinnington. It includes links to some free resources from practicePRO to help you draft these documents. The American Bar Association also has for sale The Lawyer’s Guide to Creating a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Software Package, 2006 Edition.

As Yogi Berra might have said, an unwritten business plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on.