The legal industry has changed so much that traditional law firms struggle to keep up. The development of software and cloud computing in the early 21st century has encouraged a new footprint of start-ups that are just as ambitious as they are innovative while also taking away business from traditional law firms.
For small law firms, the sky is the limit regarding growth and success. Despite this opportunity, however, many small law firms fail because they need to figure out what to do with their newfound success. Growing your small firm into something much more significant doesn’t require a sharp business sense or years of experience. Instead, it takes a keen eye for opportunities and a willingness to work hard.
Things To Do To Grow Small Law Firms
To grow a law firm into a big one, the top management must prioritize the activities and services that bring in the most revenue. For small law firms, this can be challenging. Law firms are often accustomed to treating their practice as an extension of their personal lives, making it difficult to delegate work to others. However, it is necessary to stop seeing your practice as a personal extension and start thinking of it as a business. Let’s see how!
1: Use features of the software and the cloud to your advantage
Start-ups are using cloud computing and software, such as cloud ERP, CRM, and electronic discovery systems (EDS) like Intellicorp’s ESI-ERP or counsel’s Webmail, to gain an advantage in their competitive market. Cloud technologies provide developers with one place to store information about clients and attorneys, enabling them to create free new services and serve as a Google for attorney data.
2: Develop a strong working relationship with your clients
Clients will only tell you what they want if they know. Your growth heavily depends on relationships with clients, so ensure that you nurture them and develop a good rapport. Embrace technology to make the client connection more efficient, but pay attention to the human element in your marketing.
3: Build an effective business process
Small firms that outsource their legal work to provide full service are much more successful than those that do not. But if you need to outsource, you must ensure that your outsourced attorney has excellent written and oral communication skills to communicate effectively with clients. It is also essential for small law firms to limit the amount of time spent on routine tasks and put their efforts towards innovative projects.
4: Grow your staff up without bringing in new attorneys
Increasing the number of staff by hiring new lawyers is costly and may not be worth it. Instead, consider growing your current team by improving your processes, logistics, and documentation. Teaching more experienced attorneys to perform repetitive tasks means they can spend more time on aspects of their job that require creativity or attention to detail. Another option is to outsource functions that are not integral to the core of your business.
Small law firms should be innovating more to compete with the big players. Those who innovate and develop new technology win because they can provide clients with better quality service and lower prices. Small law firm tech innovations are usually not just about the latest technology but about doing a better service for clients. For example, we are discussing creating your own law firm’s app, building an interactive website, using A.I.-based virtual assistants for customer service or repetitive work, using top-notch billing and payment solutions, etc.
A client-centric law firm will stand out from the pack. Clients are becoming increasingly comfortable carrying out complicated processes digitally. In 2010, internet banking was controversial, but we all use it today. In addition, mobile banking registrations increased by 200 percent in 2010. As a result, clients will start demanding more digital services.
6: Build strong teams
Mentoring young lawyers are essential to help build a team of loyal, highly motivated attorneys who will become leaders within your company. If you fail to develop a strong team, your firm will struggle to continue operating. In addition, loyalty is lost when a firm has one dominant partner, so ensure that power and responsibility are distributed evenly.
7: Implement policies and procedures
Legal offices should have a formal process for dealing with issues as they arise. According to howtomanageasmalllawfirm.com, having well-documented, well-written, and easy-to-implement small law firm policies and procedures ensures that everyone is on the same page and makes it easier for your team to work together. It also manages liability for the firm and protects it from errors and mistakes.
8: Protect the firm’s assets
Attorney work and client information are essential to growing a small law firm, so ensure that you have IT protection laws. In addition, it is necessary for small firms to build and protect their brand, even if it means spending money on lawyers to help. Finally, ensure that your staff is protected from mistakes or malicious activities by having insurance coverage for all your employees.
9. Invest in customer support
Customer service is a crucial component of a successful law firm. Clients want to know they can reach a lawyer quickly and without much hassle. However, many law firms fail to live up to this expectation. Almost 40 percent of people who call a law firm will leave a message and wait for two to three days before getting a response. As a result, this lack of timely communication can drive clients away.
The best way to provide excellent customer service is to go beyond the basics. While lawyers can charge their clients for certain services, they should not forget that the Golden Rule of customer service applies. In addition, lawyers should treat their clients with empathy and respect, as they would want their own families to be treated. Finally, creating a positive client experience is crucial to gaining loyal clients and building a positive reputation.
Law firms can benefit from customer relationship management (CRM) technology. This helps them focus on the various steps and details of a client’s case, which ultimately builds stronger client relationships. In addition to ensuring that clients get the best service possible, law firms should provide clear and timely updates about their cases. After all, a client’s trust is based on a relationship, not a contract.
Small law firms have a tremendous opportunity to be successful. Good business practices and technological innovation can lift a small firm to success, but only if it is willing to work hard. Taking advantage of the opportunities available to a small firm requires a willingness to explore new business models and work hard.