law firm growth strategies

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•You’re losing business because you can’t keep up with demand •You need/want to focus on certain aspects of your business rather than struggling to juggle everything Law Firm Growth Plans How to know when to hire your first employee by Charlene Jimenez in Business Entrepreneur - February 21, 2012 3. That goes for the law firm strategic planning document, too, Olmstead adds. Those are then “vetted and cross-examined, and people are being encouraged and challenged in a positive way,” Truax says. A plan that isn’t implemented is only a list of suggestions. Your law firm strategic planning process is the best way to achieve success in the long run, even if it seems like you’ve been doing just fine dealing with the day-to-day. And so, having a cadence around account reconciliation is important. Whereas stable firms, as their name implies, were relatively flat in terms of revenue growth. The need for law firm strategic planning doesn’t change,” John says. Which law firm digital marketing growth strategy are you going to start with? You can then plan the best time to do business development. All images, videos and graphics used on this website are dramatizations. “Sometimes what changes is the fundamentals and what’s going on, and what firms need to develop strategies to deal with. Our affordable lawyers are available during COVID-19 to file documents and work on your legal needs. Sign up for emails to get updates on Canadian law and tips for resolving your legal issues. Once the bill was submitted to the client, they only collected about 1.7 hours out of an eight-hour day. Posted by Jessica Haarsgaard and Ioana Good on Sep 4, 2020 12:00:00 PM Tweet . If your firm is still using Excel to categorize your leads and … This is something that wouldn’t make sense to do in December. Your access to the website is subject to our, Difference Between A Lawyer And Paralegal, How To Deal With Being Disinherited By Parents. Let’s take a look at several key steps and pillars or a quality growth strategy that any modern law firm should focus on to ensure steady growth. Now, we know not every lawyer uses trust accounting, but many lawyers do. There are a variety of different practice areas which can include administrative law, bankruptcy’s litigation, commercial, family law, personal injury, tax law, and wills and estates. That’s really bad performance and lawyers need to improve on this. Law firms are operating in a highly competitive market, which also limits the growth of most organizations. For example, your goal might be … The lawyers listing on this site, in no way, suggests or implies a qualitative superiority to other lawyers that are not listed on this site. Where are they going to spend their business improvement efforts? But how do they get there is a question that we started asking ourselves. Law firms that grow intensively can experience problems maintaining strategic focus, structural alignment and personnel balance. Until you do some things as far as operations in the short term, maybe you shouldn’t think about strategic planning,'” he says. “They have a choice to make—do we find other ways to get those dollars that we’ve lost to, or do we join that site?” he says. Related “Offer Unbundled Legal Services to Compete in Today’s Legal Market”, One current scenario that’s affecting consumer-oriented firms, in particular, is the trend toward websites that help people handle some of their own legal matters, Caldwell says. Without money in the bank, it’s hard to take on business development. That’s a problem from a cash flow point of view. “It needs to get down to the nitty-gritty, hold people accountable for some of the action items you’re going to get done. “I go off-site and hibernate. Join Other Savvy Attorneys and Download This Free Law Firm Marketing Guide. In recent years, most of the challenges firms are having are the same, everything from pressure on the economics, to resistance from clients to fee increases.”. It describes the industries you will serve, the types of clients you will target, the services you will offer and how you will position and develop your brand. A strategic plan provides “a guidebook where you’re intentionally doing things to get you to a certain point, instead of having clients or other external forces dictate to you where you’re going,” he says. In larger firms, top partners typically sit down, figure out where their practice has been growing and where it’s become stagnant, and decide whether and how to recast lines of business that fall into the latter category, Caldwell says. “You have your nose to the stone, you’re working flat out as hard as you can, and it’s difficult to step back and ask those important questions: What is my priority? Stay at the forefront of marketing. Change is among us in the legal industry. So, if revenue is one of your two goals, how you go about getting that? It’s easy for firms to lose sight of the big picture as they’re working through day-to-day matters, says Terrence Truax, managing partner at Jenner & Block in Chicago. “If you’re wanting to grow your corporate law practice, maybe it’s the snagging of three to five major accounts, something that will let you know you’re getting a little bit closer to what the plan had set out for you.”, Be sure to assign responsibility for specific planks of the law firm strategic plan, Caldwell says. But at the risk of generalizing, four non-strategic things prod law firm management into growth by non-organic methods. The courts are also now available again. Most lawyers are not utilizing most of the 8-hour workday. “The bigger challenge is getting them to implement anything. If you are an insurance law firm, for example, your business ramps up quickly all the way until the month of May. You need to grow sales and still offer top quality service to clients. Sometimes it’s a month and a half before a lawyer even bills their clients. It’s part of your monthly workflow to be prepared for those audits. A Business Growth Strategyis a roadmap for growing your firm. Many lawyers say they are overworked and that’s going be difficult for them to grow their law firm. However, you can submit the divorce at any time. “These obviously are all projected goals.”, Wilson considers his plans living documents that he revisits continuously to see how well the law firm’s strategic planning efforts are matching the vision laid out. While a larger firm might take six months from the kickoff meeting to the presentation at the end, smaller businesses can get the law firm strategic plan finished in a month—and that’s probably wise given that they don’t have the professional administrators and other support staff in place to help out, Olmstead says. This will lead to significant changes in revenue. Law Firm Growth Plans 4. 1. You do the pre-work, financial review and analysis, beforehand. You will need to do something about this. “I need to do that where the phone isn’t ringing, or I’m tempted to look at my e-mails. To progress in the legal sector and outdo other players, take note of the strategies that we’ll be briefly talking about in this short article. Shrinking firms watched their revenue drop by about 54 percent. Referral Tracking Via CRM Solutions. The best strategies encompass all three. I start soliciting some advice. That’s why the best strategies take your time and focus on one at a time. We describe four growth strategies and use benchmarks of a sample of 150 law firms stemming from all Latin America to … As a solopreneur or small law firm, growth starts with setting a clearly defined goal on what you want to achieve. “They’re not going to have the patience for a time commitment over a period of months. We love helping attorneys market their practice. “Three to five years from now, what are we going to be doing?”. Where do I want to be in 24, 36 months?” he says. Law firms on average are trying to work around an eight-hour day. New Law Firm Strategies for Growth Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and After. They just maintain the status quo and manage risk to their company. Related “Going Solo: Debunking the Top Ten Fears”, Sole practitioners face particular challenges, Olmstead says, because figuring out what they are trying to do and where they want to take their practice – and what steps they need to take to get there – ideally should not be a solo activity. “The reason it’s important is that it’s a guide for a firm to keep on topic and on goals, so we can always look back and bring it up at a monthly meeting.”, The original content within this website is © 2020. Here’s how to increase the odds that strategic planning will lead to real progress. “It requires the discipline to say, Friday afternoon, from noon to 5, we’re going to sit down, and not be billable, and work through some stuff about what we’re going to be when we grow up,” he says. I have met with many clients that didn’t think they had a real substantial difference from competitors that ‘played’ in the same space. When it comes to law firm marketing ideas, it’s important to consider that most … You need to grow the number of billable hours you collect on per day. Strategies for Growing a Law Firm: Managing Partners on Developing a Growth Strategy, Recruiting New Attorneys, and Responding to Economic Challenges (Inside the Minds): Shaw, Brian L., Axinn, Stephen, Goldfein, Fredric L.: 9780314904171: Books - If you want to learn more about law, visit our Youtube channel. This site does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and does not form any lawyer-client relationship. But it can’t be all unicorns and rainbows—it has to consider potential pitfalls, too. Your law firm is dedicated to building long-term client relationships. We love to help by providing free helpful content! I told one guy, ‘I hate to say this, but your effective rate is $45 per hour.’ It involves internal analysis and benchmarking.”. “Most of the [plans] I’ve done for 15 and 25 attorney firms and under, particularly even smaller ones, will typically be 10 pages or less,” he says. This site does not provide any kind of explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or strategies. “To the extent you can reduce implementation down to metrics that let you know how much progress you’re making, that’s critical,” he says. Our law firm also combines client satisfaction into the mix. “That will guide us as to whether we’re moving forward with respect to that strategic objective,” he says. That’s what you believe to be a success when it comes to an outcome for your law firm. Staying consistent is key to building your brand, and an integral part of this process. You should first consider if it is the right time of year to grow your practice. “It’s hard to do a long-range strategic plan by yourself,” he says. Growth Strategies for Law Firms #ClioWeb 2. “They’re fighting fires, meeting deadlines, getting things filed in court.” Plus, he adds, “They don’t have the resources to hire an expert to do it for them.”, Small firm attorneys need to pick out a time and day, on a regular interval, to pop their heads out and look around, Caldwell says. “If we decide the Internet’s the thing, let’s chase that business.”. The information provided on this site is not legal advice. Growth Strategies for Law Firms- Cash Flow Is King You need to start figuring out a way to cut these getting paid waiting times down. “We ask all the basic questions any business enterprise would be asking. The writing is on the wall. Then I come back and talk to the people I need to talk to, my bookkeeper, marketing person, other attorneys, to figure out how are we going to get there, and what do we need to do? He cautions smaller firms not to take on more than one or two significant strategic initiatives at one time. Performance measurement will lead to higher profits. Lawyerist, Lawyerist Lab, TBD Law, Small Firm Dashboard, and. Depending on the area of law that you practice, you will be busy at different times of the year. This webcast highlights key findings from Burford’s new research, the 2020 Legal Finance Report , based on 499 online surveys of in-house and law firm lawyers and 29 in-depth interviews of leading lawyers across seven countries. “Every day is filled with new opportunities and new curveballs.”. Unless indicated, individuals on this site are not lawyers. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. “He sent me his numbers, and I’m looking at the financials, and they’re terrible,” he says. Do quality legal work and make sure you collect money. Many provinces and states require both a monthly and annual trust check. The latter is more urgent. Lawyers are only billing about 2.5 hours a day. What are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Your access to the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Growth Strategies for the Modern Law Firm Growth is an imperative for any successful business. “If they’re not using technology right, and they can’t even pull any basic reports to know how they’re performing financially, they can’t pull together reports as far as what they’re paying their people, if they don’t have a website or some of those basic things – and you’d be surprised how many don’t. SEO Best Practices. “The challenges and issues are different.”. Join this online seminar and learn how to increase growth in all of these specific areas. Technology, culture, attitudes, habits—all of these evolve from generation to generation. The lawyers listings on this site are paid lawyer advertising. Address generational differences. I have my own ideas, but they’re more down in the trenches and know a lot of things I don’t know, or forgot, or need to keep in mind.”, Firms should not confuse strategic planning with crisis management, Olmstead says. Ask yourself if you are operating in a cadence that makes it easy for my clients to pay you. Here are five success strategies that leading law firms can adopt as part of that investment. For smaller firms and solos, there’s always a temptation to do nothing but react to the moment, says Bill Wilson, principal at The Law Offices of Wilson & Wilson and The Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law, based in west suburban LaGrange. “Different approaches to strategic planning [for different-sized firms] would be appropriate,” he says. Should they focus on SEO or referrals? We love to help by providing free helpful content! Your law firm growth strategy should be at the heart of everything you do at your firm to help grow your practice, so you need to make sure it is as useable and accessible as possible. For the law firms that grew, their revenue growth basically doubled over five years. Law firm managers should think of these things if they want the company to grow. In order to be set up to succeed, marketing strategies for law firms need to begin with a clear definition of a unique and valued difference. Because in that month they are going to be focused on billable work. Olmstead figures that probably three-quarters of large firms have strategic plans, while mid-sized firms in the 50-attorney range are closer to 50-50, with the likelihood shrinking to 15 percent or less of firms with 10 attorneys and fewer. It then drops through the summer and then ramps up again in October. The average waiting time is almost two and a half months. “Firms can get blindsided by getting too down into the weeds of their business. The Small Firm Scorecard are trademarks registered by Lawyerist Media, LLC. It’s so fierce that in a newly published survey of 400 law firm marketing and business development (BD) professionals, 52% said competition is the #1 barrier to law firm growth. Sign up for emails to get updates on Canadian Law and tips for resolving your legal issues. For 30 years he has closely advised law firm management and legal industry service providers. “Another recent addition to the law firm strategy team is the chief talent officer (CTO), a position that has become increasingly important since the GFC,” says Bruce Boulware, managing director at Boulware Partners. In this article, we base our information on the 2019 Legal Trends Report. As a law firm manager, you need to continue to grow your utilization rate over time. An insurance defense firm knows that they are going to be dependent upon business filed by personal injury lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers. Privacy policy // XML sitemap // Page ID: 81059. Effective Law Firm Growth Strategies - Richard Brock. It doesn’t stay the same forever,” says Craig Caldwell, department chair in marketing and management at Butler University and a speaker on law firm strategic planning at the Solo & Small Firm Institute program in Peoria. “Practice Management: Plan to Grow,” by Ed Finkel, was originally published in the March 2015 edition of the Illinois Bar Journal. When you’re a high performer, the growth is monumental. All images, videos and graphics used on this website are dramatizations. Any strategy worth its salt will explore potential risks in the marketplace and balance them against the expected upside. David Ackert, the president of Ackert Inc., advises law firms to revisit the basics with more one-to-one marketing efforts versus mass marketing strategies. “I want to know: When are we going to do it, and whose name am I putting in the box, and when is this task going to start,” he says. Solo lawyers are also more likely to be included in these spot audits. You will need to develop a communication strategy and employ it to keep the entire program honest. “It’s hard to think long term when you can’t think through the current day.”. They don’t get paid right away. New research highlights how law firm leaders—and clients—are finding opportunity to generate revenue, despite facing previously unthinkable challenges. “It’s not something you do in one sitting, and you need somebody looking over your shoulder, whether that somebody might be your spouse or your staff person.”, Olmstead worked with a solo practitioner in Iowa who did not realize he was only paying his associate of 10 years a $60,000 salary – or that he himself had only cleared $20,000 the previous year. How can law firms stay relevant and competitive in this ‘new law’ era where many firms are doing things differently, and ensure that’s reflected in their long-term strategy? “There may be all kinds of reasons why your performance deviates from the plan, but we measure that on an ongoing basis.”, Related “Strategic Planning for Small Law Firms”, What sort of metrics? For latest updates please, follow our blog. It’s necessary at times, for the livelihood and success of the firm, to pop your head up, see what’s going on in the marketplace, and see whether your firm needs to make some changes.”. They’re only being utilized as a lawyer about 2.5 hours of their day. Wilson’s strategic plans go out five years and attempt to project for each year the gross revenue, net income before taxes, the number of people he will employ, and numbers of matters he expects to handle. Law firms facing rising costs, pricing pressure, and the need to invest in staff, resources, and service delivery are finding that growth is not as easy to achieve as formerly, and that market share must be wrestled from the competition. Even though law firms might be busy at a very particular time of the year, their payment cycle is often drawn out. “In some of the smaller firms, especially, I’ve run across somewhere I’ve advised them, ‘You guys have so many tactical issues going on in the swamp; you’re trying to survive day to day. It’s difficult to know which methods give you the best return on investment sometimes. Are you keeping on top of that aging receivable? Every website should start with a goal in mind. “And then also, it’s important to get back to people in the organization with feedback about how things are going.”, Olmstead agrees. “The process doesn’t change. “To take on more is simply not tenable because there are not enough horses,” he says. Because attorneys tend to enjoy discussion and debate, the process of putting together a law firm strategic plan can seem natural and appealing, Olmstead says. Register here. “But if there are aspirations for growth or skill sets within the law firm that simply aren’t as in demand as they used to be, you’re going to find yourself in a scenario where strategic planning is going to be critical,” he says. It’s important to keep things manageable, Caldwell says. Legal research company Clio said that about 20 percent of law firms fell into the growing category, meaning the law firm is growing their revenue. This data was collected over a five-year period. For some law firms, it takes a long time to get their invoices out and then they’re waiting almost three months to get paid. Virtual Legal Assistant-Delegating to Freelancers, Law Firm Data & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Law Firm Client Reviews & Reputation Management, Virtual Receptionist, Chat & Phone Services, CRMs, Client Intake & Marketing Automation Software, Staffing Services (Virtual Assistants & Freelance Lawyers), #304: How to Discover and Lean Into Your Strengths, with Becca Syme, “Offer Unbundled Legal Services to Compete in Today’s Legal Market”, fewer people involved and fewer decisions, “Going Solo: Debunking the Top Ten Fears”, “The Importance of Long-Term Goals for Your Practice”. While nothing is guaranteed in life or law, attorneys and firm management consultants say law firm strategic planning—that is, taking a step back and looking at the big picture—is essential to know where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you will keep growing whether you’re a solo practitioner or at a large firm. “That doesn’t mean you don’t react to the moment,” Truax adds. [The plans] go into books, they go on shelves, and very little happens as a result,” he says. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and authored the 2002 book “Law Firm Strategy”. Show your clients commitment to your values while simultaneously providing them exclusive access to business growth expertise. It is part of a suite of strategies encompassing your law firm’s growth strategy, budget & marketing plan. And being prepared is important if you don’t want into trouble. Solo and small law firms are more likely to be selected for trust account audits. What do we look like today? “The most effective revenue generation strategies across lawyer and firm demographics involve a one-to-one rather than a one-to-many approach,” Ackert said. This site does not provide any kind of explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or strategies. For example, Olmstead has worked with firms who have legal accounting software but need to hire a consultant to pull reports for them. Lack of strategic planning might not negatively impact a law firm as quickly as another type of business—say, a technology firm—because of the highly regulated legal environment, which provides a buffer of sorts from economic and other changes, Caldwell says. Growing firms are constantly improving their utilization rate. “To me, if you can keep them briefer and to the point, as opposed to carrying on and making these things too elaborate, they’ve got a much better chance of implementation.”, Related “The Importance of Long-Term Goals for Your Practice”, “If you’re going to get into family law going forward, you have to have some ideas about what success is going to look like before you launch it,” Caldwell says. Law firms have a thirty-one percent utilization rate. Law firms can grow in a variety of methods. Our team has worked with law firms for over two decades. “When I say I ought to be seeing $300,000 in fee revenue per year, that’s an achievable number, and I’ve got some who are barely doing $100,000. They’re refined throughout the year; we ask people to pull together their plans and test them.”, In smaller firms, there are fewer people involved and fewer decisions to make but also less time, Caldwell says. Law firms can increase caseloads, employees, or efficiency. You need to measure everything on a monthly basis and to look at your work in progress. “If my plan is to increase estate administration and asset planning, and I see we’re putting too much time into real estate, I’m not adhering to my plan,” he says. Without them, you are probably making a series of ad hoc decisions and without even realising it, changing course and that can drastically limit your firm’s success. “But then you’re just going to work each day and letting your environment dictate to you how you’re going to manage and work your law firm,” Wilson says. “People don’t engage with the same discipline because they’re doing work,” he says. This means they need to stop operating in the same way and try something else. By Jessica Haarsgaard and Ioana Good. Law firm strategy is a future-proof plan that enables firms to prioritize objectives, remain competitive, and optimize financial goals. Are your clients out there waiting a long time to pay your firm? Below we will show you five business growth strategies for your law firm which will optimize your investments and maintain a steady flow of both business and profit. You need to measure everything on a monthly basis and to look at your work in progress. It might have to happen in a retreat setting. Throughout this time, we have advised those firms on different growth strategies. But with the right strategic focus and insight, your firm can stem the tide, raise your visibility and lock down new business. In conclusion, if you are looking for growth strategies for law firms, we suggest you look at the 2019 Legal Trend Report. A deep understanding of client needs. With the vast competition law firms face to get new clients, your law firm needs a comprehensive marketing strategy to get found by clients, find new clients, and retain your current clients.

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