Defining and Writing a Mission Statement for Your Firm or Organization
Key Question to Answer: What Are The Opportunities or Needs That We Are to Address?A good mission statement must be clear. It should be shared by all members of your firm and widely communicated to all involved including clients and others in the legal community. At the very least, your firm's mission statement should answer the three listed key questions.
This first question addresses the purpose of your firm or organization. Start by listing specific legal situations that you can address. The more focused the issue, the easier it is to describe in a mission statement. For example, "estate planning" is a legal need, but "asset management," "will drafting" and "trust creation" are clearer. "Criminal law" is also a legal need, but "traffic infractions" and "DUI" may be your preferred cases.
What Are We Doing to Address These Needs?This second question should further define the business of your firm. Start by listing the areas of law in which you practice. Having listed some specific legal needs for the first question should help in defining your areas of expertise. Your experience should back up the type of legal services that you provide. If you spent some time with a company in the wealth management department, and are now helping clients with asset management, then part of your mission may be "utilizing 15 years of wealth management advising" or something similar. Likewise, years of experience prosecuting or defending cases should be incorporated in your mission statement.
What Principles or Beliefs Guide Our Work?This question underlies many actions of a firm or organization. When deciding to take a client you hope to help them solve the legal situation they face. You may choose to take or not take a case based upon your personal beliefs about the situation. This question is not included to determine if something is right or wrong; its intent is to help you define what you use as fundamental values in your decision making process. What guides your work product: Anything goes? The Golden Rule/Do unto others? Whatever the client wants, the client gets? Win at all costs? Whatever you use as a guiding principle should be included in your mission statement. This will help in the consistency of your firm's actions. Answering these three questions will help you create a mission statement. It does not have to be long; it can be one sentence or a paragraph. However, the final product is not the end to this task. Creating a mission statement is just the beginning -- now you have a mission to accomplish.