The average waiting time is almost two and a half months. Our law firm also combines client satisfaction into the mix. “From that, we would also try to back in the number of new clients we would get each year,” he says. “It needs to get down to the nitty-gritty, hold people accountable for some of the action items you’re going to get done. But how do they get there is a question that we started asking ourselves. That’s why the best strategies take your time and focus on one at a time. “He sent me his numbers, and I’m looking at the financials, and they’re terrible,” 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. New Law Firm Strategies for Growth Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and After. 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. That’s what you believe to be a success when it comes to an outcome for your law firm. “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. I have met with many clients that didn’t think they had a real substantial difference from competitors that ‘played’ in the same space. Wilson finds it very important to “disconnect” when he creates his strategic plans, “meaning I get off premises,” he says. Ask yourself if you are operating in a cadence that makes it easy for my clients to pay you. For the law firms that grew, their revenue growth basically doubled over five years. Most lawyers are not utilizing most of the 8-hour workday. What are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Law firms can increase caseloads, employees, or efficiency. 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. Automate Processes. Our team has worked with law firms for over two decades. Your law firm is dedicated to building long-term client relationships. This site does not provide any kind of explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or strategies. That goes for the law firm strategic planning document, too, Olmstead adds. “I go off-site and hibernate. So, if revenue is one of your two goals, how you go about getting that? You need to start figuring out a way to cut these getting paid waiting times down. “That will guide us as to whether we’re moving forward with respect to that strategic objective,” he says. “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. 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. 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. 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. Managing Partner’s new report on Growth Strategies for Law Firms provides clear advice on the growth options available and expert guidance on the key factors you need to consider in order to tailor an effective strategy for your firm. 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? Our affordable lawyers are available during COVID-19 to file documents and work on your legal needs. But it can’t be all unicorns and rainbows—it has to consider potential pitfalls, too. What was once standard operating procedure for Baby Boomers or even Gen-Xers can now seem completely obsolete or anachronistic to Millennials. Shrinking firms watched their revenue drop by about 54 percent. They don’t get paid right away. If your firm is still using Excel to categorize your leads and … We love to help by providing free helpful content! Focus On Gathering Data A Business Growth Strategyis a roadmap for growing your firm. This site does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and does not form any lawyer-client relationship. It might have to happen in a retreat setting. Another 20 percent fell into the shrinking category. Law Firm Growth Plans 4. “The process doesn’t change. SEO Best Practices. You need to measure everything on a monthly basis and to look at your work in progress. 1. “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. 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. For example, your goal might be … It’s important to keep things manageable, Caldwell says. We love helping attorneys market their practice. Those are then “vetted and cross-examined, and people are being encouraged and challenged in a positive way,” Truax says. “And then also, it’s important to get back to people in the organization with feedback about how things are going.”, Olmstead agrees. “They may only have one shot at doing it,” he says. Technology, culture, attitudes, habits—all of these evolve from generation to generation. The best strategies encompass all three. A deep understanding of client needs. It also helps you to make more money. Unless indicated, individuals on this site are not lawyers. Growing firms are constantly improving their utilization rate. When you break down by those cohorts, though, between growing stable and shrinking firms, there is a big difference. Every website should start with a goal in mind. For 30 years he has closely advised law firm management and legal industry service providers. Posted by Jessica Haarsgaard and Ioana Good on Sep 4, 2020 12:00:00 PM Tweet . You should first consider if it is the right time of year to grow your practice. We describe four growth strategies and use benchmarks of a sample of 150 law firms stemming from all Latin America to … Stay at the forefront of marketing. When it comes to law firm marketing ideas, it’s important to consider that most … 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. “Different approaches to strategic planning [for different-sized firms] would be appropriate,” he says. “They’re not going to have the patience for a time commitment over a period of months. “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. “If we decide the Internet’s the thing, let’s chase that business.”. Now, we know not every lawyer uses trust accounting, but many lawyers do. This is called by Clio the utilization rate. Not an Insider yet? Every sector in the legal industry has felt the effects of COVID-19. 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. Growth Strategies for the Modern Law Firm Growth is an imperative for any successful business. Where do we want to be in 12 months, and in five years?”, The plans are revisited throughout the year iteratively, Truax says, which “requires focus and discipline, making sure everybody stays on message. That’s a problem from a cash flow point of view. 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.”. 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. In this article, we base our information on the 2019 Legal Trends Report. “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. Topics covered will enable you to: Develop a simple model for defining your firm’s growth objectives; Here are five success strategies that leading law firms can adopt as part of that investment. The motivation of any firm in the pursuit of a particular growth strategy requires a study of the firm, its management’s challenges and its overall needs. In the legal services market, growth has stalled, corporate clients are taking their legal needs in house and independent law firms are losing their share of the market. “I need to do that where the phone isn’t ringing, or I’m tempted to look at my e-mails. Lawyers are only billing about 2.5 hours a day. “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. Download your FREE strategy guide below. “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. “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? So, there is certain work that they can undertake in January in terms of firm improvement. 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. As a law firm manager, you need to continue to grow your utilization rate over time. “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 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. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and authored the 2002 book “Law Firm Strategy”. For example, Olmstead has worked with firms who have legal accounting software but need to hire a consultant to pull reports for them. Referral Tracking Via CRM Solutions. “Three to five years from now, what are we going to be doing?”. This site does not provide any kind of explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or strategies. Depending on the area of law that you practice, you will be busy at different times of the year. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. We are in the process of transferring our clients to our lawyers. You need to be separated for a year before the divorce is approved. For latest updates please, follow our blog. Define your law firm’s growth strategy Define your expected profits per partner over the short & long term Continuously monitor business performance and productivity metrics. Growth may mean more clients or fewer clients with bigger projects. And so, having a cadence around account reconciliation is important. “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. You also need to think about annual planning requirements for trust accounting. 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 - You will need to develop a communication strategy and employ it to keep the entire program honest. “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. Join this online seminar and learn how to increase growth in all of these specific areas. Your access to the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. “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. Any strategy worth its salt will explore potential risks in the marketplace and balance them against the expected upside. Even though law firms might be busy at a very particular time of the year, their payment cycle is often drawn out. This article proposes a process through which management can plan a law firm´s future, by defining a strategy and choosing a growth avenue. You talk about client relationships at partner meetings and in business development training, but applying the concepts to client interaction can be challenging. 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. Your access to the website is subject to our, Difference Between A Lawyer And Paralegal, How To Deal With Being Disinherited By Parents. “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. The number one definition of growth for law firms is revenue. “The bigger challenge is getting them to implement anything. [The plans] go into books, they go on shelves, and very little happens as a result,” he says. Solo lawyers are also more likely to be included in these spot audits. 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. We know in some jurisdictions that they give you a couple of day’s notice, but in other areas, it may be a surprise. Are you keeping on top of that aging receivable? You will need to do something about this. Show your clients commitment to your values while simultaneously providing them exclusive access to business growth expertise. Are your clients out there waiting a long time to pay your firm? You want more revenue. “The process doesn’t change. 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. New research highlights how law firm leaders—and clients—are finding opportunity to generate revenue, despite facing previously unthinkable challenges. 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. His talks aren’t tailored to large firms because “they have a lot of their own educational systems—they hire some hotshots and bring them in and pay them a lot of money to walk them through the strategy,” he says. Law firms that grow intensively can experience problems maintaining strategic focus, structural alignment and personnel balance. McDougall gave the example of an accounting firm. Each strategy has certain advantages and when executed deliberately can ensure consistent growth in the law firm environment. “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. “The world is complicated. 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. Law firms are operating in a highly competitive market, which also limits the growth of most organizations. Many provinces and states require both a monthly and annual trust check. Law firm strategy is a future-proof plan that enables firms to prioritize objectives, remain competitive, and optimize financial goals. We can help you figure out which methods would be the best for your business. Law firms can grow in a variety of methods. Learn The Best Law Firm Marketing Strategies For BIG Growth . First, management wants to appear dynamic and aggressive rather than passive. Without money in the bank, it’s hard to take on business development. They’re only being utilized as a lawyer about 2.5 hours of their day. He measures his marketing success in terms of numbers of articles published, newsletters contributed to, seminars delivered, and new contacts and referral sources. 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. It allows firms to differentiate themselves from the competition, reflecting both strengths and weaknesses. The Small Firm Scorecard are trademarks registered by Lawyerist Media, LLC. Sign up for emails to get updates on Canadian Law and tips for resolving your legal issues. You do the pre-work, financial review and analysis, beforehand. Effective Law Firm Growth Strategies - Richard Brock. Growth can be intimidating and mean a lot of different things to legal professionals who’ve just hung out their shingle. “To take on more is simply not tenable because there are not enough horses,” he 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? 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.”. Solo and small law firms are more likely to be selected for trust account audits. 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. I start soliciting some advice. “We ask all the basic questions any business enterprise would be asking. All images, videos and graphics used on this website are dramatizations. (It's free!). 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. If they’ve got 14 or 15 attorneys and don’t have an office manager in place,” they should take care of that first, he says. 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. Join Other Savvy Attorneys and Download This Free Law Firm Marketing Guide. “Sometimes what changes is the fundamentals and what’s going on, and what firms need to develop strategies to deal with. Throughout this time, we have advised those firms on different growth strategies. © ClearWay Law 2020 – All rights reserved. “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. And being prepared is important if you don’t want into trouble. Lawyerist, Lawyerist Lab, TBD Law, Small Firm Dashboard, and. As the role of legal operations in a post-pandemic world remains somewhat hazy, one thing In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for change is at the forefront of our agendas as law firms, lawyers, legal marketers … But with the right strategic focus and insight, your firm can stem the tide, raise your visibility and lock down new business. He cautions smaller firms not to take on more than one or two significant strategic initiatives at one time. But at the risk of generalizing, four non-strategic things prod law firm management into growth by non-organic methods. 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. However, you can submit the divorce at any time. 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. If you are an insurance law firm, for example, your business ramps up quickly all the way until the month of May. Staying consistent is key to building your brand, and an integral part of this process. The most common law firm strategic planning issue facing firms in recent years has been how to respond to the economic shift in the legal market since the Great Recession, with fewer clients and a tighter bottom line, says John Olmstead, principal at St. Louis-based consultancy Olmstead & Associates. And that meant that about 60 percent of law firms operate in a stable environment. Performance measurement will lead to higher profits. •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. “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. You need to grow the number of billable hours you collect on per day. Oakville Family Lawyer | Hamilton Family Lawyer | Scarborough Family Lawyer | Kingston Family Lawyer | Burlington Family Lawyer | Edmonton Family Lawyer | Mississauga Family Lawyer | London Family Lawyer | Ottawa Family Lawyer. Until you do some things as far as operations in the short term, maybe you shouldn’t think about strategic planning,'” he says. It is part of a suite of strategies encompassing your law firm’s growth strategy, budget & marketing plan. The writing is on the wall. Where do I want to be in 24, 36 months?” he says. If we are growing our revenue, but clients are not leaving 4-5 star reviews, there is a problem. You need to measure everything on a monthly basis and to look at your work in progress. The lawyers listings on this site are paid lawyer advertising. Law firms on average are trying to work around an eight-hour day. Many lawyers say they are overworked and that’s going be difficult for them to grow their law firm. “People don’t engage with the same discipline because they’re doing work,” he says. 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. When you’re a high performer, the growth is monumental. And then we lock ourselves up for a day or two in a retreat-type setting and basically work through the whole process.”, To measure law firm strategic planning success financially and otherwise, Jenner uses a range of metrics and compares performance throughout the year against the strategic plan, monthly, biannually, and annually, Truax says. By Jessica Haarsgaard and Ioana Good. “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. Whereas stable firms, as their name implies, were relatively flat in terms of revenue growth. It’s part of your monthly workflow to be prepared for those audits. Which law firm digital marketing growth strategy are you going to start with? Download The Visible Firm … Unless indicated, individuals on this site are not lawyers. Privacy policy // XML sitemap // Page ID: 81059. If you want to learn more about law, visit our Youtube channel. It then drops through the summer and then ramps up again in October. “It’s hard to think long term when you can’t think through the current day.”. Jenner has its practice broadly divided between litigation and business transactions groups, with several disciplines in each, and at the beginning of each year, each group develops its own strategic plan. I told one guy, ‘I hate to say this, but your effective rate is $45 per hour.’ It involves internal analysis and benchmarking.”. This means they need to stop operating in the same way and try something else. In conclusion, if you are looking for growth strategies for law firms, we suggest you look at the 2019 Legal Trend Report. ClearWay Law is transitioning from being a law firm as of March 2020. They just maintain the status quo and manage risk to their company. “Firms can get blindsided by getting too down into the weeds of their business. Ask yourself if you are operating in a cadence that … The most common law firm strategic planning issue facing firms in recent years has been how to respond to the economic shift in the legal market since the Great Recession, with fewer clients and a tighter bottom line, says John Olmstead, principal at St. Louis-based consultancy Olmstead & Associates. Law firm managers should think of these things if they want the company to grow. It’s difficult to know which methods give you the best return on investment sometimes.
2020 law firm growth strategies