Managing Small Law Firms For Accelerated And Continued Growth

All businesses dream of scaling up, and a law firm is no different. The problem? While most lawyers are great with ad-hoc decision making under high-risk situations, managing a law firm takes skills that go above and beyond the knowledge of law and its interpretation. In this article, we discuss the steps that can help any small law firm achieve sustained growth.

1. Building a strong team

For any organisation, but more so for a law firm, your people will always be your biggest resource. Often, one of the biggest mistakes all business owners make is trying to manage everything by themselves, or waiting for too long to hire. Hiring the right members for your team and organizing your team efficiently will enable you to concentrate on the growth and management of your law firm. It is important to find people whose goals in terms of personal and professional growth align with those of your firm, and trust them with their responsibilities. Invest in training your team so as to improve productivity across all departments.

Outsourcing for certain selected skills is also a great way to have access to qualified professionals without having them on your regular payrolls. What happens when one of your biggest clients needs a specialist in bankruptcy law? Instead of hiring a full time specialist, collaborating with a lawyer having experience with bankruptcy matters would work out to be more viable and cost effective.

2. Choosing the right tools for your law firm

If the right team is the backbone of any organisation, then the right tools are possibly its limbs. Do not shy away from investing into technology, licensed software and even hardware if it will add to the efficiency of your operations. Today, there exist robust tools to automate every single aspect of a legal practice, may it be the management of contract lifecycle, small law firm account management, CRM, or even law firm management software.

Remember that there is no one size fits all when it comes to choosing the right tools for your law firm; various factors like the size of your workforce, your areas of practice and the flexibility of your operations will play a role in finding the tools that work best for you. A tool might increase the efficiency or output by a hundred percent, but if it is not user-friendly, or requires too much technical knowledge, it will be as useful as a paperweight. On the other hand, the right tool will bring in Return on Investment in the form of reduced costs, shorter turnaround times, increase in productivity and better collaboration. Today, tools like Razorlex law firm management integrate all the steps in the end-to-end management of a law firm, thus enabling small law firms to scale effectively.

3. Standardizing your processes

Improvising and working without pre-determined procedures might work for a firm with 2-3 lawyers, but the minute your firm starts to grow, this lack of standardisation will create issues on a daily basis. Standardising your processes creates uniformity amongst the different functions performed by your employees, ensuring that everyone has the same point of reference.

For example, instead of offering ad-hoc pricing to clients, establish clearly defined pricing models and streamline your billing process with efficient tools for billing management and automation. Set procedures for daily and weekly meetings, the intake and storage of all relevant information, the auditing of all financial data.

Begin by listing the various tasks that your firm performs regularly, and deploy efficient systems for their completion.

Adding order to your procedures helps automate them, ensuring that your team is able to run smoothly even in your absence.

4. Improve client experience

The best way to improve law firm client experience ? Ask them for feedback and implement it. Scheduling short, non-billable conversations to simply check in with your clients is a great way to build a long term relationship. Ask them how you can make their experience better, and take tangible steps towards it. Enabling them to have access to your knowledge resources instils a greater sense of control, which will always work in your favour.

5. Invest in marketing and branding

There exist countless firms practicing law in the market; what makes you special? Your law firm needs to have a clear identity that you can market successfully, one that has great recall value. Here are some steps that you can take to increase your presence:

  • Create a sharp website: What is the first thing that every potential client does? Google. An informative and attractive website makes it easier for clients to find you and connect with you online. A good law firm website should be easy to navigate, clearly mention all your practice areas and services, and build a unique, strong brand for your firm. Here are examples of some effective law-firm websites.
  • Blogs and Podcasts: Having a content-rich blog page containing active backlinks is one of the best ways to route traffic to your website. In today’s day and age, where there is an abundance of information on every topic, show your legal expertise in the form of informative blog posts and podcasts.
  • Building an online community: LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter are great platforms for networking, where a strategically placed post can help you bring in your next client.
  • Invest in SEO and Adwords: While having a good website is important, it is equally important that your website is discoverable. Search Engine Optimisation and advertising through Google Adwords is a great way to ensure that prospective clie.

6. Risks faced by firms and how to manage them

While every organisation aims to scale up, expansion brings its own set of risks and potential issues

  • Data and security breaches: Due to the inherent nature of the information that they deal in, the threat to law firms because of data and security breaches is exponentially higher as compared to any other organisations. As they expand, firms need to invest in multiple security mechanisms, ranging from firewalls and high level data encryptions, to iron-clad confidentiality contracts in order to secure their data.
  • Physical risks to person and property: What happens if a freak fire ends up destroying 80% of a firm’s resources? Firms must switch to cloud storage in order to protect all their data, while also investing in robust insurance policies for office spaces.
  • Finding and retaining the right talent: In a highly competitive world, one of the biggest problems faced by law firms is hiring the right personnel, and ensuring that they stay with the firm. Scaling up is a function of investing into the right resources at the right time. People, procedures, the right tools and practices – each factor plays an equally important role.

At RazorLex, we help law firms reach their complete potential. Enjoyed reading this piece? Read more about how the right technology can help you reduce costs, increase productivity and streamline daily operations here.

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