Especially starting as a new law firm, you face unique challenges compared to larger law firms. In most small law firms, the burden of administrative tasks falls on the lawyers and the paralegals, which can gobble up your time to do more important things.
You must stay on top of various challenges like staff delegation, client relationships, oversight, and changing law office processes. So let’s take a look at how to increase your chances of success.
Don’t Use Reduced Prices as a Long-Term Crutch
Lowered prices can drum up business, but you must consider it a short-term solution to stirring up a long-term client list. Don’t set prices only to race to the bottom. You can quickly fall into a trap where everyone keeps lowering prices to compete. The biggest law firms with the most resources and profit margins will benefit the most from this.
Instead, look to differentiate your services and give clients a reason to return. When you provide great legal services, your clients will return because of great service, despite the price. You want to arrive at that point because it increases your chances of success and profitability.
Consider Payment Plan Offers
Based on information from Clio, 72 percent of clients prefer to pay legal fees with a payment plan. In addition, getting a payment plan system in place often increases revenue because you spend less with collections and more time raking in actual money.
Furthermore, you open up your pool of potential clients. Clients who may have looked elsewhere because they couldn’t afford your legal services can now consider them seriously.
To succeed as a small law firm, you want to improve your services’ quality continually. The flexibility of a payment plan can elevate the client experience. Happy clients leave positive reviews and steer new referrals to your law firm. Do this long enough, and 50 to 75 percent of your business will come from referrals.
Use Technology to Compete
Using a filing cabinet in today’s world by itself has become obsolete in a world where document management systems help you to pull up information much faster. If you want to know how to manage a small law firm with the utmost expertise, relentlessly improve the client experience.
Document management systems lower the time spent searching for essential documents and work a lot like Google keywords to pull up information.
If you don’t use technology to compete against the bigger law firms, you will automatically start at a disadvantage. Some of the essential technologies to utilize as a law firm besides document management systems include:
- Online access to client portal
- e-Signature tools
- Time tracking and billing solutions
- Legal research tools
- Quickbooks integration
You want to keep your ear on the technological pulse because technology continues to improve with time. Today’s technology can give a small law firm a huge competitive advantage when used correctly.
Set and Manage Appropriate Client Expectations
Getting a negative review, especially in the beginning, can eviscerate your law firm’s prospects. Clients who feel unhappy with your services due to poorly managed expectations can become a liability.
Learn your client’s expectations from the start and define the scope of your work from the beginning. Tell them how long you expect the work to take and the potential legal obstacles.
You also want to establish a relationship with the client and tell them how the fees and payment work at the first meeting. Again, doing this increases the chances of a happy client.
A small law firm can strive to be successful by developing a culture of excellence. A law firm’s culture is only as strong as its people’s. Regular meetings are essential for establishing a successful firm culture. These meetings can be a time for social gatherings and an opportunity to discuss the firm’s goals and objectives.
Remember that small law firms may face a significant number of challenges, but they have one advantage that big law firms lack—agility. Small law firms have a more elegant structure that lets them move faster to seize opportunities that a big law firm often requires more time to analyze.