Jack of All Trades – Better than Master of One?

Jack of All Trades – Better than Master of One?


“Jack of all trades, master of none” is a saying that’s considered somewhat insulting.  The theory is that you can’t be good at everything, and unless you’ve spent time becoming skilled in one area, you’re not good at anything.  However, the original phrase was meant as a compliment.

It’s no secret that the legal profession is a highly competitive field, and many attorneys pride themselves on being masterful in the singular area of practicing law. And often more specifically, a particular area of the law. However, knowing the law is only one part of building a successful practice.

Many attorneys seem to think that as long as they are a good lawyer their firm will prosper.  Unfortunately, this is far from reality. To truly succeed, attorneys need to have effective marketing, management, finance, and technology strategies in place. Without these skills, your firm will lag behind the competition. 

A law firm is first and foremost a business, however, many attorneys don’t want to be business people.  Often times they don’t have the skills to shape their firm into a successful business.  They’re better at being lawyers, and this is where their passion lies.  Not in the nitty gritty details of day to day business operations.

Can you manage these strategic business areas while doing what you love?

It can feel like an impossible task, but creating a productive and financially successful law firm is possible! By combining planning and an arsenal of nimble tools, law firms can manage these areas, provide an outstanding client experience, and build a robust firm.

The first step is to create a business strategy plan and stick to it. It’s not enough to simply create a goal.  You need a goal, and a plan to achieve the goal.  After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.  And a plan without follow through will get you nowhere. 

Your strategy should include a budget for marketing, a timeline for technology updates, robust client management software, and a schedule for meetings to review progress toward the goal. By having a plan in place and following through, attorneys can ensure that they are staying on top of their responsibilities and that the firm is not falling behind the competition.

Law firms should take advantage of the technology available to them. There are many tools and software programs that can help you manage time, track billable hours, and streamline marketing efforts. By utilizing these tools, you can save time and energy and focus on what’s important in the long run. With strategic planning, tried and true systems and efficiencies, and follow through, it’s possible to put your firm ahead of the game.

Take LL Cool J’s advice.  Even if you’re able to manage these strategic areas, you should focus on doing what you love. Give SWAN Consulting a call and see how we can help you do more of what you love.  802.858.4244


Although it didn’t start out that way, the term “jack of all trades” is generally pejorative. The phrase was first used to refer to a particular playwright who was frequently seen hanging around in theaters. He would assist with the set, costumes, and stage. He would try directing and recalling lines. This “jack of all trades” is Shakespeare. The full phrase is “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”, and it was meant as a compliment.

Which side of the fence do you fall on?  Can you be good at multiple things or is it better to specialize in one area?


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