Lawyers have incredible skill sets, but they don’t always translate into business skills. What it takes to be a good lawyer isn’t necessarily the same as what it takes to run a business successfully. And at the end of the day, a law firm is a business.
When lawyers start their own firms, they often face challenges with costs, client acquisition, marketing, day-to-day operations, and more – all while trying to practice law. That can leave a lot of the business aspects of the firm on standby, inhibiting growth.
Turning a law firm into a million-dollar business is a challenge under any circumstances, but it’s even more difficult when it’s brand new. Going from $0 to a $1 million and zero clients to a full stack is no small feat, but with the right strategies in place, you can create a successful firm that’s bringing in new clients all the time.
Delegate and Outsource
Lawyers can sometimes be micromanagers. They tend to try to run the entire business themselves, even in unfamiliar areas like marketing or accounting, leaving little time to practice law. In addition, trying to take on too much leads to errors and things not getting done, which hurts the business on a whole.
Delegating and outsourcing are vital to the law firm’s success. By delegating non-lawyer tasks, lawyers can focus on billable hours and ensure that the right people are doing the right tasks. If this is too much for a startup firm budget, consider outsourcing some of the work to save on full-time employees. Often, outsourcing solutions can be used on an as-needed basis, minimizing the costs.
Technology has come a long way, especially for law firms. Practice management software can automate much of the day-to-day to limit the workload, such as the client intake process, time-tracking tasks, and payments and invoicing.
It’s important to choose the right technology, however. The ideal software solution will be appropriate for your firm’s needs at the start, but will have the ability to scale as your business does. Choose a solution that works now and in the future.
Systemization is an important factor in scaling to become a million-dollar law firm. Daily processes are repeatable, even if the client aspect of the law firm is unique, and systems can be put in place to accommodate everything from a few clients to tens of thousands of clients.
The firm’s founder is the one responsible for designing and implementing systems that ensure the work is streamlined and allocated to the right staff. Once those are in place, you can focus on doing your own work.
The individual casework can vary with a law firm, but legal cases have patterns for litigation, transactions, and other processes, especially with a law firm that focuses on one practice area like family law. The rest of these processes can be systemized to ensure everything runs smoothly at any level.
Marketing and Client Acquisition
Law firms have a lot of competition. If you’re not putting effort into marketing and client acquisition, you’re unlikely to bring in new clients regularly. Clients often find law firms in a predictable way, and marketing and client acquisition strategy ensures you’re getting your name out in front of the ideal audience.
Addressing Pain Points
Like any other customer, clients have a legal problem that they need a solution for. This can be anything from needing a corporate attorney to preparing for divorce or dealing with an accident injury. They know they have a problem and they’re looking for resources and solutions, including guidance on whether they need a lawyer for their case.
When this happens, these clients will likely take to the internet to find answers. They’ll search for information like “tax laws in my state” or “what to expect with a divorce case.” You can get ahead of them by offering answers to these common queries and providing as much information and value as possible, leading them to seek you out when they decide on hiring a lawyer.
Offering a Solution
As mentioned, prospective clients are looking for advice, guidance, and information about their case. Legal situations are often complicated, stressful, and anxiety-inducing, and finding the answers they need gives them some peace of mind.
Maybe they’ll seek out your firm directly because of word-of-mouth referral or because they saw your name on a billboard, but most people find businesses from internet searches. Sometimes this is by directly searching for the business in mind, like a law firm in the area. Other times, they may find these businesses by searching for information and stumbling on a blog, then learning more about the business.
Lawyers carry a lot of responsibility. The potential outcome of the case depends on the competence of the lawyer, not to mention the costs of hiring one. Most prospective clients will search for information on different law firms, including client reviews and testimonials, to see which is the right fit for them. It’s up to you to make your firm present and appealing to gain their business.
Once a client finds your law firm and signs on to your services, you must provide a positive experience. While the case may not always work out the way everyone hopes, you can still give them a good overall experience and a positive impression.
Your work isn’t finished once the case is, however. Your client then moves into the retention stage of the client acquisition process, which is when you want to provide additional value to build a future relationship. Maybe they’ll end up needing your services again in the future, or they may leave a positive review or refer you to a friend, family member, or coworker.
If you don’t provide a positive experience, either during the case process or in the retention stage, you could end up with the opposite. Your client may leave a bad review and badmouth your firm to people in their social circle, costing you future clients. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with a client after the case is complete and learn more about how you can serve them better in the future to show them they’re valued and gain good word-of-mouth referrals.
Ready to Get Started?
Building a law firm from the ground up is no easy feat – it takes diligence, strategy, systemization, and business acumen. If you employ these strategies, however, you can set your firm up for success and get on the way to becoming the next million-dollar law firm.