3 Ways Law Firms Get in the Way of Their Own Growth
According to data generated by Peer Monitor, the average attorney in 2016 was on pace to bill 144 fewer hours than a decade prior. Meanwhile, demand for services overall has remained even.
This trend may be alarming for some attorneys who feel insecure about the way their law firms are generating new business. If this sounds like you, there is still hope, but it is more important than ever to be proactive about how you manage your firm.
Not Everyone Wants Growth, but that Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It
Now, not all law firms need to become nationwide ventures. Some firms are intentionally small with no plans to branch out and increase clients by a large margin, and that’s fine.
If you perfect the systems necessary for growth even at a small scale, you will be far better off during periods where business is hard to come by. If, on the other hand, you are counting on one more client coming in each month to stay afloat, you will wish you had a growth plan in place when you had the chance.
Most Law Firm Leaders Neglect These Three Key Strategies
At Client Chat Live, we work with hundreds of law firms of all sizes. Since our founding 10 years ago, we have seen first hand what can go right, and what can go horribly wrong for law firms navigating in an increasingly complex legal environment.
In this article we will explain the three core components to a viable growth strategy. We’ll also give you tips on how to avoid the pitfalls that will lead your firm to suffer a caseless and cashless fate.
Not Creating Machines
Many small and solo law firms neglect to build processes that help them manage all aspects of the firm. Some lawyers feel comfortable executing a case proceeding on the fly. Meanwhile, others have their claim process mapped out, but leave the rest of their operation unorganized.
When we say creating machines, we mean that there should be a road map or checklist for every goal that you set for yourself and your firm. This will undoubtedly include things like writing demand letters, collecting evidence, and scheduling client outreach. However, this also should extend to office operations, such as marketing, HR, filing, finance, and even restocking supplies.
You should always approach building checklists with the mindset that anyone reading it would be able to pick up where you left off and execute the tasks with minimal context. For this reason, make your checklist documents as detailed and deadline-driven as possible.
Not only will checklists and processes help firms when they are small, but being able to automate tasks and delegate to other staff will be crucial for properly managing growth.
Neglecting to Understand Marketing Fundamentals
We mentioned above that having a marketing plan or checklist is crucial to law firm growth. Even if you want to outsource marketing to an agency or consultant, you should still feel comfortable with the basic law firm marketing vocabulary.
Too many small law firm partners feel that studying marketing at even surface level is beneath them. This is folly, as any investment into learning marketing and understanding how to reach potential clients on digital channels will be richly rewarding in the long term.
You should have at least a cursory grasp on the following key marketing channels for law firms:
- Generating joint-venture cases from other attorneys
- Getting clients through Google
- Better ways to pay for advertising than billboards and commercials
- Reaching new clients via social media
- Generating positive online reviews
Gaining an understanding of marketing will not only help you if you want to handle marketing in-house. It will aid you greatly if you choose to outsource, as you will know how to spot a marketing partner who is worth their salt, versus one who is selling you mediocre services.
Failing to Create a Company Culture
Perhaps the biggest factor that holds up law firm growth is culture. If attorneys and support staff are not personally driven to exceed client expectations and squeeze all possible clients out of the available sources, it will be a long and exhausting road to growth.
Creating a growth culture will undoubtedly tie back to systematized operations and proactive marketing projects. Some simple and actionable examples of culture building activities invovle tracking metrics like online reviews and referral cases.
By creating leaderboards for key client-generating activities and publicly praising high achievers, you will reinforce a healthy spirit of competition that will compound over time. For example, if you create a ranking of attorneys based on how many online reviews they received for a year, that can motivate all lawyers at the firm to work harder and strive to be recognized.
At Client Chat Live, We Are Your Key Growth Partner
We operate in all 50 states and can help your law firm achieve your growth goals. Speak with our CEO and founder Jon Cumberworth by calling (808) 725-3633 for a free consultation on how we can boost your online reputation and turn more website visitors into clients.
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