Naturally, every practice owner wants to know the fastest and easiest methods for how to grow a law firm. The reality is, it’s different for each type of practice. While unfortunately there is no silver bullet, you can definitely learn from those who have been before you.
For the last seven years, I have worked alongside practices of varying sizes and have observed a number of key elements that have contributed to them growing law firms they are proud of (and that also love them back!).
When I say ‘love them back’, what I mean is it’s not only about having a growing practice, but one that is consistently financially successful and can allow you a good lifestyle as well. The two do not always match up, which is why I decided to write this article.
This article is a reflection of what I have observed in legal practices as well as being a business owner myself. These are my observations distilled into my top 5 recommendations to help you grow a practice that you are proud of, and that loves you back, whatever the size.
1. Avoid Taking On All The Roles
Most business owners start off as solo practitioners. What this means is they end up doing all the roles. They become the project manager for the logo and website design, they are responsible for content creation for social media while also responsible for billing. Then of course there is the need to do client work and meet with potential new clients.
My recommendation here is to hire support staff to do the low value tasks. You have to consider your hourly rate compared to the hourly rate of someone who will be doing these tasks and determine where your time can be best spent. Getting support staff to do administrative tasks and sticking to what you are getting paid to do is the best way of getting the most out of your time and growing faster.
When you do hire someone to do administrative tasks, the fastest way to get things done in the future is to create your processes as you go and document the steps. How I do it in my business is document these processes in an audio recording, and have staff transfer that into some process documents. Alternatively, put them into a project management tool, like Asana or Trello, so other people can step into that role more easily. It will also reduce the time that you will be called upon to help out.
2. Get Financial Smarts Guidance
If you want to grow your practice with a degree of speed, you need to start by ensuring that your firm is financially successful. While that might seem very obvious and straightforward, the reality is when you are doing all the things, it may look or feel like you’re doing well financially, but in fact, are not. The best place to start is to get a great accountant and have them guide you.
If the accountants that you hire already have other law clients, they are going to be really well-versed in the milestones required to help your business grow. If they have an advisory arm to their business, I strongly recommend that you get that support. These financial support and financial insight is incredible in helping you expedite the growth and financial success of your practice. Lawyers are not often great at business, so it’s ideal to invest in getting the support and insight you need to become one of the fastest growing law firms.
3. Seek Marketing Smarts
People often start marketing their practice using social media platforms they really enjoy using. For instance, Instagram is currently prolific with lawyers. While it is a great platform for those starting out, it is ideal to have someone who can give you direction and feedback on the social media that you are creating so that you can get a better result from it.
Oftentimes, I know that lawyers cannot identify when their content may not be hitting the mark. There are a whole range of ways in which social media posts don’t hit the mark but generally speaking, it starts with the language you tend to use that not all people can understand, unless they are in the process of working with a lawyer or have done, before. The goal should always be to avoid using legal terms and keep it super simple and straightforward.
DIY in social media is completely fine, but I highly recommend giving your business the best shot at results by seeking out guidance on a strategy to begin with. Having a marketing coach or a marketing strategist to support you will make the world of difference.
4. Get Solid Online Foundations
If you want to know how to market a law firm on the Internet, having a website is an important consideration. However, the key element to growing your law firm is not just having a website, but having a technically excellent website. Your website does not need to be pages deep or particularly superior visually, but it definitely needs to be technically excellent. If you want the opportunity to boost your local rankings, then Google needs to see that your website is technically sound.
Many times I see lawyers starting out on a tight budget who build their own website. While they develop fantastic skills in developing their own websites, what ends up happening is that at some point they need to get that replaced because they’re not able to make the progress or ranking gains they would have liked to. All because they don’t have good solid website foundations.
Another mistake I see is failing to consider some key elements to include in your website. Good websites aren’t only an online brochure for your services, they can be a tool that can be leveraged to do incredible tasks that allow you to connect with prospective clients and follow them up as well.
5. Don’t be an Island
Keeping connected is not just exclusive to lawyers and the creation of law firms or boutique practices. Asking for advice and seeking support from others is never a bad thing. Connect with others who have been there and done that, as there are many people who are willing to share their wisdom. Tap into groups like The Club – Happy Lawyer Happy Life, a community of people who are focused on living a happy and healthy life in law, many of whom are business owners at varying stages of business growth. That way, you also get the opportunity to learn from a faculty of experts who work in finance, marketing, accounting and law.
Joining communities that are designed to support, can be incredibly helpful in connecting you to people who are open to sharing their knowledge and their insights.
Now That You Know How To Grow A Law Firm…
The first few years of running a business are the trickiest, as you are required to wear multiple hats and navigate what it takes to adjust to being a lawyer and a business owner. I hope that when you follow these five steps on how to grow a successful law firm, you will be in a better place than so many before you.
Ensure that you get administrative support so that you’re using your time wisely, get yourself a good accountant and marketing coach, build a good website from the get-go, even if it is light-on in content. And, don’t be an island and isolate yourself. You will be off to a far more successful first few years if you set up your business to support yourself well, from the start.