Mike Bandar
8 mins

How to Manage and Grow a Legal Practice: The Definitive Blueprint

The question “how to grow a law firm” is a common one, and it’s no wonder—running a law firm is tough, and growing a law firm is even tougher, especially today.

For many firms, the challenges that hinder growth—like the costs of starting a law firm in the first place, struggling to acquire new clients, competing with other firms, and having no time to focus on the business side of things—can become so overwhelming that law firm growth becomes stagnant. If this sounds like your firm, you’re not alone.

Whether you want to drive revenue growth, meet growing demand, or simply afford to hire support to better manage our new reality, we’ll walk you through advice for growing a law firm.

  1. Why Law Firms Fail
  2. Systematyzing is the answer: let's dive into the world of streamlined efficiency
  3. Delegating: time to loosen that superhero cape
  4. Embrace the mighty power of teamwork – because growing a law firm is like cooking up a delicious feast, and you definitely need a crew in the kitchen

Why Law Firms Fail

Buckle up for a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs of running your own show, because the world of practice management is like a drama-packed reality TV show, minus the script!

1. "Who's the Boss?"

You start your own gig to be the master of your universe, but guess what? Universe has its own plans. Ever had to ditch a family vacay, wave goodbye to a special meal, or break the heart of a loved one on their big day? Reality check: Your schedule sometimes plays hard to get, and you're not always in the director's chair.

2. The "Other" Lawyer

Remember that client who seemed to be clicking with you like a perfectly tuned guitar? Then out of the blue, they're shipping their papers to another lawyer's port? Ouch! It's like watching your favorite show get canceled.

3. Buddy Betrayal

You thought you and your buddy were inseparable, but then they pulled a switcheroo and sent their BFF to another lawyer. It's like being left out of your own secret handshake club. Ouch!

4. The Bouncing Check

Ah, the sweet sound of a bouncing check notification from the bank. It's like dancing two steps forward, then getting caught in a boomerang whirlwind. Convince the client to send in a new payment? Time for some serious Jedi persuasion skills.

5. Client Breakup

Getting dumped is never fun, even when it's a client. The mental replay of every moment is like a never-ending movie marathon of "What did I do wrong?" No silver lining here, just a plain ol' punch in the gut.

6. Review Roulette

Yay for the glowing reviews, but oh boy, the not-so-great ones sting like a swarm of bees. They buzz around your reputation, making you worry about what everyone's thinking. You can fight back, but some bad reviews just stick around like that one song you can't get out of your head.

7. The 180-Degree Turn

Picture this: Everything's sunshine and rainbows in your client relationship, then BOOM! Suddenly, you're their favorite target for blame. It's like a plot twist that leaves you questioning your scriptwriting skills.

8. Farewell, Friend

Saying goodbye to a team member feels like parting ways with a trusted sidekick. You've relied on them for everything, from superhero support to secret intel. Now you're left searching for the missing puzzle piece.

9. The Associate Exodus

When your associate drops the "I'm outta here" bomb, it's like having your heart ripped out. You've poured your mentorship mojo into them, and now they're off on their own adventures. It's like sending your kid off to college, but with more legal jargon.

10. The Grievance Nightmare

Imagine a never-ending bad dream where you're drowning in grievance notifications. It's like a dull, persistent ache that just won't go away. Fingers crossed, it all blows over eventually.

11. Just Pay Everyone… Except You

Ever signed checks for your team while your own wallet gathers dust? It's like throwing a party but staying home. It's a painful symphony of not-quite-right notes.

12. Playing Catch-up

Watching others sprint ahead while you're left huffing and puffing is like a reality show where you didn't get the memo. You're in the race, but the finish line keeps moving.

13. The Payroll Panic

Ever played payroll roulette? It's like teetering on the edge of an icy cliff, one step away from free-falling into a pit of financial chaos. A sleepless night’s worst enemy.

14. The Wrong Role

Sometimes, you realize you've been cast in the wrong show. You're just not feeling the script, and everything's a struggle. It's like trying to salsa dance when you're more of a waltz person.

15. The Dream Funeral

At some point, you might have to let go of that dream you held onto like a security blanket. It's like saying goodbye to a best friend, and yeah, it hurts. But guess what? After the tears, you'll find a new dream, waiting to whisk you off on a new adventure.

Systematyzing is the answer: let's dive into the world of streamlined efficiency

Imagine your law firm as a well-oiled machine, humming with productivity vibes and zipping through tasks like a champ.

So, picture this: You're the maestro orchestrating a symphony of operations. You've got your secret sauce – a brilliant workflow that's smoother than butter on a warm biscuit. You take charge of the intake strategy, like the captain steering the ship into the right harbor. Once clients hop on board, you play matchmaker, pairing them with the perfect associate who takes the reins from there.

When your systems are in place, you're ready to rock the show – snagging new clients left and right, and even roping in new associates to keep the momentum rolling.

It's like creating your very own automation conveyor belt, where tasks glide effortlessly from start to finish. So, gear up, because with efficient systems in place, you'll be cruising through your law firm journey like a pro.

Time to turn those invoices into cold, hard cash – because what's the point of doing the dance if you don't get the prize, right?

So here's the scoop: Once you've unboxed the astonishing sum that's owed to you, it's game time. Let's talk about crafting your very own superhero process for rounding up those elusive payments. Mary's got the golden rule: it's not just about logging hours and sending bills into the abyss; it's all about getting those coins jingling in your pocket.

Imagine this scenario: Your invoice is chilling in a client's inbox, and time's ticking. At the 30-day mark, you hit 'em with a friendly reminder email. Like, "Hey there, remember that awesome legal work we did? Yeah, it's time to settle the score!" And if the email doesn't spark any action, guess what? You make a friendly phone call at the 90-day checkpoint, just to make sure they didn't accidentally stash your invoice in the Bermuda Triangle.

Now, we get it – the idea of collection agencies might not be a lawyer's favorite bedtime story. But Mary's got your back on this one. For those extra stubborn payments that are playing hide-and-seek, don't hesitate to give those collection champs a chance to work their magic.

So there you have it, a brilliant plan to turn your billing system into a cash-collecting masterpiece. It's like orchestrating a symphony of reminders and calls, all with the grand finale of sweet, sweet payments rolling in. You're not just an ace at legal work – you're a pro at getting what's rightfully yours!

Embark on a time-tracking adventure – think of it as your very own time audit.

Trust us, what you measure, you can totally manage. So, let's dive into the rabbit hole of how your precious hours are dancing away!

First up, think of yourself as the ultimate time-tracker, like a superhero with a stopwatch. You wanna know where your time's partying, right? Start by noting down every single thing you do in your day-to-day hustle. Got a client call? Jot it down. Wrangling invoices? Yup, that too. And of course, your shining moments of serving clients.

Now, here's where the fun kicks in. Create your very own task museum – could be a fancy spreadsheet, nifty software, or even a good ol' whiteboard with a rainbow of Post-it notes. Categorize your tasks into three VIP sections: the New Client Safari, the Time Traveler (hello, admin tasks!), and the Client Whisperer.

Once your tasks are on display, take a closer look. Are some tasks hogging the limelight a little too much? Is your time all dressed up with no efficiency place to go? Time for a reality check: If you're lost in the administrative maze more than you're raking in the dough (thanks, 2017 Legal Trends Report for the heads up), it might be time to summon a trusty paralegal or a tech-savvy legal assistant to the rescue. Let tech lend a hand, and your efficiency tune-up is good to go!

So, there you have it – your time map to success. Track, tweak, and turn your hours into the ultimate power play. Suit up, time traveler!

Let's flex those process muscles and dive into the world of client onboarding – you know, that magical journey from "Hey, that lawyer seems cool!" to "I'm officially a client now!"

So, think of yourself as a trailblazer, mapping out the adventure your potential clients embark upon. It's like crafting a treasure map, leading them to your legal wonderland. But here's the twist – while they're exploring, you're doing some detective work too, like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. You're sniffing out conflicts and roadblocks before they become a time-sucking black hole.

Let's add a dash of role-play magic to this mix. Picture Sam and Mary, our dynamic solo lawyer duo. Sam's in the spotlight this time, and as he takes center stage, he has an epiphany. He's been inviting everyone to the party, but not all of them are sticking around for the dance. Meetings galore, but not every handshake turns into a client signature. A lightbulb moment, right?

So, here's the deal – just like Sam's "aha" moment, take a step back and give your client onboarding process a loving gaze. Is it doing a cha-cha in the right direction? Or is it more like a funky chicken dance? Taking that objective peek can be like a secret potion revealing what needs a little shake-up. And hey, it's not just client onboarding – any process in your legal realm can benefit from a fresh set of eyes.

Bottom line? Embrace your inner detective and your treasure map-making skills. With a sprinkle of role-play and a dash of introspection, you'll be rocking that client onboarding like a pro. Time to turn those "interested" nods into full-blown client high-fives!

Put on your process-improvement hat and unleash your inner guru!

Here's the golden rule they're sharing: You've gotta make a conscious effort to be the process ninja your law firm needs. Think of it like this – every hero's journey starts with a single step, and yours begins with carving out that precious time to dive into the nitty-gritty.

Imagine you're crafting a recipe for success. First ingredient: time. Set aside a weekly hangout on your calendar, a little get-together for you and your awesome team. It's like a process pow-wow, where you're all brainstorming ways to make things even smoother. And no need to clear your schedule for hours – just an hour-long coffee break should do the trick.

So there you have it – your secret formula to becoming a process-improvement master. Grab that calendar, rally your team, and start this exciting journey of refining and supercharging your law firm's operations. Time to show those processes who's boss!

Delegating: time to loosen that superhero cape

We're diving into the awesome world of law firm succession planning, and trust us, it's all about working smarter, not harder.

Now, we totally salute your workaholic spirit, but hey, let's talk growth strategy. Imagine this: You're busier than a beehive during pollen season, but are you maybe missing out on potential clients? Or skipping the chance to flaunt your services? Yep, we get it – you're the legal maestro, but not every note needs to be played by you.

Time for some delegation wizardry! It's like summoning a magical clone (well, almost). Take a good look at your to-do list and play detective. Which tasks are like VIP backstage passes only you can use, and which are like open invitations to the party? To make this detective game even more fun, we've cooked up a list of brain-teasing questions for you. Jot these down, tattoo them on your brain, do whatever works:

  1. Could another bright mind handle this task without breaking a sweat?
  2. Is there a speedster who could zoom through this task even before I say 'legal eagle'?
  3. Crunch time: How much gold from my treasure chest (read: time) does this task demand? What about a trusty sidekick's time?
  4. Any ethical alarms ringing if I pass the baton for this task?

So, there you have it – your secret recipe for deciding when to wield your legal wand and when to let your delegation genie work its charm. Happy planning!

Embrace the mighty power of teamwork – because growing a law firm is like cooking up a delicious feast, and you definitely need a crew in the kitchen.

Alright, picture this: You're all hyped up, starting your law firm like a champ. You might think you've got all your ducks in a row. But hold on, there's a secret sauce you can't forget – your team! They're not just employees; they're your wingmen, your partners-in-crime in this epic legal adventure.

Here's the twist: They need you, but guess what? You need them just as much. Their energy and dedication can turbocharge your law firm to success, so it's time to roll up your sleeves and master the art of building the ultimate dream team.

Ready for some action steps? Here's the playbook to build your dream squad:

Step 1: Set Your Sights on Goals

You know those dreams dancing around in your head? Time to turn them into words and share them with your team. It's like having a roadmap – your goals are the destination, and your team's your fellow explorers. So, spill the beans, communicate those dreams loud and clear.

Step 2: Seek Superstars

Quality over quantity, my friend. You're not aiming for a full house; you're hunting for rockstars. True, luring top-notch legal eagles might be a challenge, especially when the big shots are flashing cash elsewhere. But hey, seek quality over quantity. A few amazing minds can outshine a crowd of average ones.

Step 3: Play to Strengths

Every hero has a superpower, and your team members are no different. Assign them tasks that let their strengths shine – it's like playing a symphony where every instrument adds magic to the melody. Putting square pegs in round holes? Nope, that's a recipe for meh results.

Step 4: Nurture Team Spirit

Let's talk vibes – the magical thing that turns a bunch of folks into an unstoppable team. It's like creating a mini-world where everyone feels at home. Make them feel valued, encourage their growth, and boom – you've got a team that's ready to conquer the legal universe!

Step 5: Keep the Chatter Going

Imagine playing a game without knowing the rules – chaos, right? Well, it's the same at your firm. Keep those lines of communication wide open. No more secret handshakes or insider lingo. Everyone should be on the same page, and that calls for some good ol' transparency.

Step 6: Show Some Love

Remember, a little goes a long way. Just like a sprinkle of seasoning can turn a good meal into a gourmet feast, a heartfelt 'good job' or a thumbs-up can make your team's day. It's like fuel for their motivational engines.

So, now that you've got your A-team by your side, it's time to ignite that rocket and blast off into a future of law firm awesomeness. Ready to flip the page and dive into the next chapter of firm domination? Let's roll!

Streamlining your business game with the right software is like finding the perfect groove for your dance moves

Software-savvy chat here, my dear lawyer.

There's a galaxy of options out there, all singing their siren songs of efficiency. But fear not, because we've got the lowdown on how to pick the ultimate software sidekick for your small law firm. Let's dive in!

Step 1: Check Their Credentials

Just like you'd ask for a reference before hiring a new team member, peek into the software's resume. Have other law firms taken it for a spin? If it's been a hit with the legal crowd, you're on the right track. Trust us, you want a software with street cred.

Step 2: Keep It User-Friendly

No one likes a tangled mess of buttons and options. Your software should be like a good friend—easy to hang out with. After all, the goal is to simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Free trials? Yes, please! Test drive that software and see if it's a smooth ride.

Step 3: Get a Support Squad

Even superheroes need backup sometimes, and your software is no exception. What if you hit a roadblock? Will they swoop in to save the day? Check their customer support game—reading reviews is like peeking behind the curtain to see if the wizard is real.

Step 4: Flexibility Is Key

You're unique, and so is your law firm. One-size-fits-all might work for socks, but not for software. Look for a system that lets you add a dash of customization. It's like tailoring that perfect suit—it should fit you like a glove.

Step 5: Stay Ahead with Updates

In this fast-paced digital world, software needs a little nip and tuck now and then. You want a system that doesn't sit still. Constant updates mean your software is a living, breathing thing—always evolving and getting better.

Step 6: Fortify That Castle

In the age of cyber ninjas, security is the knight guarding your kingdom. Your software should be like a digital fortress, fending off any unauthorized intruders. Cloud-based is the buzzword, but make sure it's got a shield of top-notch security.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the software smorgasbord? Well, guess what? We've got your back! In the next chapter, we're unveiling a software that'll have your law firm dancing to the tune of efficiency. Yeah, you heard it right—no more software blues! So, stay tuned and get ready to up your game! 🚀

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