Your legal skills and knowledge of your field may be top-notch, but that is only one aspect of building a successful legal firm. Just as essential is focusing on your law firm’s management to ensure that your firm grows and runs in a manner that builds success over time.
Successful law firm management means putting systems and practices into place that will help you be more organized and make life easier for yourself and your associates, more marketing-savvy to help drive business your way, and more client-focused to keep, build, and expand client relationships.
If you are looking to shape up your law firm management skills but are too busy or in need of guidance on how to do it yourself, Lawyers Marketing Associates (LMA) can help. We can examine the individual needs of your firm and come up with recommendations to make it grow — or if you prefer, do the work for you. Contact us today at (919) 637-9144 for help creating a custom plan that works for you.
Keys to Successful Law Firm Management
Managing a Successful Law Firm
Management of a law firm and making it successful is a multifaceted task. Management involves trying to attract and please clients, as well as manage the organizational, financial, and administrative demands of running a business.
As a result, law firm management skills are necessary in all areas, including marketing, staff development, financial planning, strategic planning and client experience. The following are some keys to successful law firm management:
1. Marketing. The purpose of marketing is to generate leads to bring clients to your firm, but you do not want to waste your time and money on efforts that don’t bring in quality clients. Quality is far more important than quantity. To help ensure your marketing is successful, take the following steps:
- Start by working with a legal marketing team or agency to develop a campaign geared to your budget, your needs, and the clients you want to attract. Online advertising, and developing a brand name, look, and website are essential, but other, more traditional avenues such as billboards and ads in newspapers, magazines, and local TV and radio stations may also be helpful depending upon your demographic focus and geographic area.
- Track and measure the success of each marketing campaign so you know which ones work best. Ask prospective clients how they heard about your firm to determine which marketing campaign had the biggest impact on them. Utilize software options available to law firms to store and organize relevant data.
- Understand that marketing efforts take time to yield results. Don’t get frustrated by what you perceive to be an immediate lack of tangible results.
- When you find the marketing strategies that work best for you, use them frequently. Make adjustments as necessary.
2. Attracting Potential Clients. When you are contacted by potential clients, chances are they are contacting other firms as well. To improve your rate of turning leads generated by marketing into paying clients, you should:
- Follow up with all inquiries to your firm and collect information and data.
- Make the initial contact with your firm a positive experience that shows you are responsive to and care about their concerns and situation. Even if you are not the right attorney for their case, if you make the right impression, potential clients may remember you in the future and may recommend you to others.
3. Develop systems and organization. Develop policies, organizational procedures and systems for every major part of your business. Important systems include:
- Legal software for billing and accounting with payment history and invoice-sending capabilities
- Scheduling systems for keeping appointments, designating and handling workflow, and managing client interactions, legal documents, and court filings and appearances
- Case management systems –software that helps you keep track of many different aspects of your firm’s operations, such as:
- File management
- Time-management tools for keeping track of billable hours
- Calendar management for appointments and court appearances
- Workflow management
- Accounting tools, payment systems, and fiscal management
- Communication management.
4. Staff and space. As your practice expands, you may have to hire more staff. Make sure you hire individuals who fit your brand, share the same core values and culture, and work well together. Establish a routine for daily work tasks, enforce discipline and provide a positive example for lower-level attorneys and staff members. Have staff members set goals, meet deadlines, and make smart use of their time. Your office space should accommodate the staff you need without breaking your budget or holding you to long-term agreements.
5. Money management. Learn the basics of finance for small business, from reading a profit and loss statement to analyzing your cash flow. Be aware of important metrics that include monthly monitoring and measuring of . . .
- Number of leads, consultations, new clients acquired, and where they came from
- Amount of cash in the door, accounts receivable and how long overdue
- Amount of expenses, including for marketing, running the office, and payroll
- Net profit or loss
6. Client focus and development. It should beyour priority tosatisfy your clients’ legal needs. Develop a system of transparency. To this end, consider using a legal case-management software program that allows clients to view time and matter logging and to access pertinent legal documents. Make sure clients feel that you care about them and their case and that you do what you say you will in a timely manner and bill accordingly. Build relationships with clients and offer support and service during their case; continue to do so even after their case closes.
7. Self-improvement. Keep upgrading your education and skills by reading business growth books or taking professional classes or seminars. Join professional groups of successful business people and other attorneys and learn from them.
What Makes a Successful Law Firm?
Building, managing, and maintaining a successful law firm is not easy and takes time and effort. At Lawyers Marketing Associates, we can take the burden off you by helping to organize your firm in every area necessary for success. Let us show you the options available and make the recommendations to grow your firm. You should concentrate on your clients and handling legal matters. Let us worry about the rest. It’s what we do.
Contact LMA today at (919) 637-9144 and let’s get started making your law firm the success it can and should be.