Guiding the growth of your law firm takes a disciplined approach to law firm development. While you may not have learned much about the business of law as your pursued your JD, you will need to master certain business disciplines — planning, hiring, financial management, technology, and marketing — to make your firm successful. There are 5 keys to effective law firm development that demand your focus:
#1: Make a plan.
To start and run any business, you need to focus on the big picture, but you can’t let that blind you to the importance of detailing the steps you need to take to make your firm a success. Having a plan helps you keep on track to achieving your goals and make important adjustments along the way.
#2: Develop a team of Superstars.
You need to create a team that will make your business successful, bringing the best people onboard in the different disciplines you need for financial management, marketing, sales, etc., and ensuring they succeed by investing in the latest technologies to support their efforts. You have a limited number of positions to fill in your firm and you can only afford to retain superstars in every position. If you find a position filled with someone who is “good enough,” either eliminate the person or eliminate the position.
#3: Take care of business first.
Too many times lawyers focus solely on their clients without focusing on the bottom line. The result is devastating: not sending out invoices on time, not raising your rates for years, not actively cross-promoting other services your firm offers, and not staying connected with former clients. Be sure to put processes in place for each of these important disciplines so nothing falls through the cracks.
#4: Invest in technology.
Can you imagine practicing law without a computer or the Internet? In 5 years, you will be saying the same about financial management and marketing technology. For the 21st century law firm, you must take advantage of advanced technologies that make you more efficient and effective.
#5: Track the ROI of all your marketing programs.
With the increased competition and level of sophistication in the legal marketing industry, to get ahead you must be faster, smarter, and more effective than your competitors. Your ability to leverage digital and social media marketing and automate your marketing system will allow you to dominate larger firms with bigger budgets; however, every dollar must be accounted for and every effort must be measured for ROI.