If you have your own law firm, you probably know how it feels to be a jack-of-all-trades and to struggle with cost management, the poor acquisition of new clients, low profitability, a highly competitive environment, and insufficient focus on the business side. Managing all these challenges that might hinder growth can be exhausting.
The good news is that you are not alone. Even the best attorneys face lots of challenges without organizing proper financial, HR, business, and marketing management. Growing a law firm is all about having a thoughtful plan for every step; it’s not about mastering all these skills.
If your main goal is to grow your legal business in 2022, it’s time to be proactive. So, we have included the most essential steps and innovative strategies that you will need to successfully scale your law firm.
How To Plan Growth
Before you take any decisive steps toward growing your legal business, the first things you will want to know are how to grow a law firm and the best ways to do it. You will want to ensure that your growth strategies can sustain your legal business.
Any business growth starts with the initial investment of a carefully thought out business plan. You might launch your company without a business plan, but a plan will be necessary to scale. With a clear strategy, you can ensure that your firm will grow at the right pace with sufficient resources at every stage. Include the following in your plan:
- Your business mission and goals;
- Unique service offerings;
- Analysis of the market;
- Financial projections;
- Organizational overview; and
- Business development plan.
The number of new steps and strategies involved in an expansion can feel overwhelming, but every step will be manageable if you have a solid business plan at your fingertips.
How To Grow a Law Firm: Essential Steps
Law firm growth never happens by chance. Growth is the result of a systematic approach. It’s not about the power of every step but about how these essential steps work together.
Define smart growth goals & priorities
Everything starts with a clear vision. As a business owner, you need to set attainable milestones and ensure that all the growth goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). With SMART goals, you will be more likely to hit your targets efficiently. Some examples of SMART goals include the following:
- Specific—I want 15 percent more clients each month.
- Measurable—I will measure my progress by tracking weekly revenue and the number of new leads.
- Achievable—I would like to increase the number of monthly new leads from 30 to 35.
- Relevant—I want at least 35 new leads every month, so I need to work with different marketing channels to give my firm enough resources.
- Time-bound—I will add at least eight new clients every week to meet my monthly goal.
Be sure that each goal aligns with your ultimate purpose. For instance, if your ultimate growth goal is client acquisition, every small goal should focus on this overall goal. After defining your SMART goals, narrow down the core tasks that your firm should focus on and set priorities. Remember that you have a limited number of hours every day, so spend those hours on tasks that really help your firm to grow.
Create efficient systems to delegate tasks
After you define key SMART goals and priorities, you will need to ensure that there are efficient systems in your firm to achieve your goals. Every legal process and all legal work should be optimized with every person in the right place. Also, by planning a structure for your firm’s operations that will remain balanced at all sizes, you can avoid the need to reorganize and reassign managers and responsibilities every time your firm increases in size.
Knowing which task you can delegate to which expert is only half the challenge. The next step is to create efficient systems or choose which staff member to entrust specific tasks. Although management structures may differ from company to company, the same basic format exists with legal, non-legal, and part-time or contractual departments.
While studying your company’s chart, ensure that there is a balance in all areas. For instance, there might be a gap in non-legal areas that can be detrimental to growth. For those who need to know how to grow a small law firm, the structure can be different. However, for a firm of any size, each employee must understand his or her responsibilities and duties. A well-organized firm functions like a well-oiled machine. Every element of the system plays a vital part.
Build your branding with a unique selling proposition
All growing law firms should invest both time and finances in building their brand. First, determine your vision statement. Think about which core values are central to your firm and your brand and turn those core values into a single-sentence summary that you will use for describing your business. When you have your vision statement, think about your unique selling proposition, which will be a short statement showing clients what makes your business unique (e.g., using innovative legaltech, special referrals, immediate solutions, etc.). To define your unique selling proposition, concentrate on your competitors and find any underutilized niche that your firm has. Then, focus on conveying this value to potential clients.
Invest in different marketing channels
As many as 80 percent of law firms already maintain some form of social media presence. However, effective marketing is about more than just social media. You can find lots of full guides with marketing tips and marketing campaigns. However, we recommend focusing on the following channels:
1) Innovative marketplaces for lawyers — An essential tip to skyrocket your business is to join marketplaces for lawyers, such as Lawrina Match. This is a cutting-edge way to create a perfect match between a lawyer and a client. All an attorney needs to do is create and verify a profile, fill in all the necessary information, and wait for new leads for the firm. People trust popular marketplaces.
2) SEO-optimized pages — Three-fourths of people never click past the first page of Google search results. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is required. You can optimize not only blog articles but also the content on every page of your website. There are many innovative tools to help you yield more traffic. However, especially early in your firm’s growth, you may want to outsource a professional SEO specialist.
3) Valuable content for blogs — Content with general legal advice on different legal matters is essential for your business. Creating in-depth, unique content that answers the common questions that your potential clients might have can help with your overall growth goals. Adding infographics to blog articles will make the content even more accessible and shareable. People like getting freebies before choosing services. Also, think about adding promotional videos that can introduce your firm to your potential clients.
4) Client-centered law firm website — Make sure people can find answers to how-to questions when they visit your website. Also, make it easy for people to schedule a consultation in just a few clicks. Creating a client-centered experience from the start is always a winning strategy.
Build strong networking
The right networking takes time, but it can yield great results for years to come when done correctly. Networking within your community and beyond allows you to have personal interactions with people who may be potential clients or who may recommend your firm to others. The right networking is all about consistency and commitment over time. For law firms, examples of building networking might include:
- Attending industry conferences;
- Organizing business brunches;
- Partnering with non-profit organizations;
- Participating in webinars; and
- Other opportunities to make connections.
Implement tech and follow innovative trends
Sometimes, the best strategic delegation is about leveraging technology to automate or streamline repetitive tasks. Firms that take advantage of technology see increased growth when compared to those that rely solely on manual efforts. Also, the right tech is all about an improved customer experience. You can answer client calls from virtual receptionists in a matter of seconds, proceed with payments, and provide impeccable contracts with specialized software that identifies gaps and mistakes in your documents and provides legal analyses.
Client testimonials and reviews
About 95 percent of customers read reviews before making a purchase. This tip is about credibility in terms of new leads and is a good way to foster confidence that you’re doing things right. Create a separate page for testimonials, client reviews, and case studies. Highlight the successful cases that you’ve handled, making the text powerful yet authentic.
Always reflect and measure your success
The key to any successful growth is tracking the success of every activity, from hiring new people to using new marketing channels. You might properly identify which metric to measure and the ways to measure expenses. For instance, if you want to track the effectiveness of a new landing page, you can monitor the number of generated leads coming from that page.
Other Law Firm Growth Strategies That Really Work
What follows are some other growth strategies that will serve as helpful tools in your law firm’s growth journey.
Be empathic and responsive
Always remember that your clients are humans—dealing with legal issues is often very stressful. Empathy and strong client relationships will help your firm to stand out. Be responsive to clients and potential clients. Always return calls and answer every email based on the client’s needs. Just give a quick answer. Your clients will appreciate it and recommend you to others.
Build a strong culture
A strong culture with professionals that you trust in a positive environment is essential for law firm growth. It’s always about the right combination of people working together for the shared end goal. Everyone in the firm should adhere to the same values and feel like they are an essential part of a team.
Believe in yourself & your employees
First, you will need to have confidence in yourself and stay focused on your firm. Be open to receiving and learning from criticism. Any growth takes time and effort, and there will be mistakes. Your employees should also be inspired by your confidence in them, encouragement, and ongoing positive feedback.
Have ongoing business trainings
Once your firm begins to grow, you will need to know that all your employees have the skills necessary to delegate tasks and manage new growth tools effectively. It’s a good idea to complete business courses on training and implement what you have learned to create internal training programs for professional development. Also, once you’ve identified your key employees, have them complete online management courses before giving them leadership responsibilities.
Becoming a success story takes strategies, hard work, and even shifts in perspective. It’s vital to take a systematic approach with different ways to grow a law firm and put the right relationships, legal technologies, and practices into place. However, the results will be worth all the effort. Never be afraid of mistakes — you will either win or learn. The strategies mentioned above can equip you with the answers to how to grow a successful law firm and ensure your firm’s success in 2022 and beyond.