5 Lessons on What It Takes to Build a Successful Law FirmOne important lesson you have probably learned by now if you’ve been practicing law for any period of time is that knowing the law is very different from learning how to run a successful law firm. There are lessons that only experience can teach us; my experience of helping more than 18,000 attorneys learn how to build a lifestyle law firm — one that enables to do what you want, when you want — has revealed these 5 key lessons:

  1. Exceptional client service is a competitive advantage. Exceptional client service begins with doing what you say you will do. It becomes a competitive advantage for your firm when it permeates everything – from whom you hire, to how employees are trained, to how you run your firm. There is no replacement for a great client experience.
  2. Your job is to solve problems. People hire lawyers to solve a problem. But everyone’s problems, and their approaches to a solution, differ. You must help them reach their goals using the skills you have by understanding what is important to the client, not on the outcome you necessarily believe is best.
  3. Appearances matter. The minute a prospective client walks in the door, your office environment tells them a story about the level of service they can expect from you. Greet them warmly, offer them a beverage or snack, and don’t make them wait!
  4. Great people make law firms great. Nothing speaks more loudly about your firm than the people that work there. Make every hire a great one, and train your people in how you want your firm represented. Empower them to find solutions for clients and loyalty will follow.
  5. Everyone has a different definition of service. This is an important one. We have lots of clients; some want to talk to us every week, and some want their law firm marketing program to run smoothly without their direct involvement. This is why we tailor all our service offerings to each individual client. They are all important, but they are all different. Learn the differences and how you can meet their individual expectations.

As you plan for 2019, keep these lessons in mind and examine the areas that need improvement within your law firm to reach new levels of success in the new year.