Being a law firm owner, one of the biggest aspects is to balance practicing the law while running the whole business.
Managing is a huge challenge; however, you can get far into your law firm management journey with the right approach and elements.
While law school prepares you for the practice, management still needs to be discovered by many lawyers.
Hence, this guide covers providing client experiences, managing a team, tracking goals, and aiming to become the best law firm possible.
But first, what exactly is law firm management?
Law firm management incorporates implementing effective strategies to run a law firm successfully.
Many things go into the management, From paperwork, time-tracking, and team management, to payments and client satisfaction; these are some things that law firm managers have to deal with.
A law practice manager is responsible for law firm management.
It can also be called law office management because they are the same thing.
For law practice managers, a lot is on their plates.
This includes controlling the firm’s financing and budgeting, developing a business plan, implementing various marketing strategies, legal case management, improving the team, measuring progress and KPIs, and much more.
Moreover, there are many law management best practices, which we will talk about today.
As technology evolved, effective law office management became a challenge.
In the older times, everything was offline, from attendance management to case files.
However, to manage a big or small law firm, we must break free of tradition.
It comes with a lot of challenges.
Law firm management also encompasses everything needed to manage a law firm’s business side.
From marketing, client relations, payroll, budgeting, collections, and compensation structures to trust accounts, a lot of complexity comes with it.
You also have to hire, manage staff, and work with vendors.
So, what is the best way to manage a law firm?
Managing a law firm doesn’t require many rules of thumb.
It’s because it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing.
The best approach depends on the practice type, staff members, firm size, goals, and vision.
However, we’ve compiled a list of law management best practices that you can follow and apply to your firm.
📈 1. Craft your Focus, Goals, and Vision
The first rule of business is to name your destination.
You can’t reach anywhere unless you have clear and concise goals.
You need to define your firm’s goals and focuses.
You need to have the firm’s vision, values, mission, and something that you stand for.
A great vision provides a sense of purpose and a pathway that you can follow to take your law firm to where you want it to be.
Freestyling barely works in our competitive world, and only a few are lucky enough to reach somewhere without focusing on it.
You should also set goals that will excite the entire team.
When you have your focus and goals set, it is easier to move at a faster rate by taking small steps.
You should ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is our target audience?
- What services will we provide?
- Who can we generate “X” amount of revenue in the next few months?
- How many billable hours do we need to sustain our firm?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Success comes to those who ask themselves the right questions.
Very early on; you should start strategic thinking, leverage any tech that makes it easier for you to start a business, and get to the pinnacle of productivity.
🖋 2. Craft a Business Plan
Once you have the vision set, you must start a law firm business plan.
Managing a law firm is no easy task, and even if you have goals, dreams, and aspirations, you need to set other things like financial profit plans, how you will be different from the competitors, and your approach to providing the market with value.
You need to create a business plan, make a budget, and create a marketing plan.
Law firm managers are the key here, but you should focus on getting help from professional marketing teams so they can set up your firm for success.
Here are some of the things that go into the business plan for a law firm:
- Executive summary.
- Information about the firm.
- Analysis of the current market, including the market trends.
- Rules and regulations on firm management and organization.
- Details about your services.
- The marketing plan.
- Financial plan and launch budget.
📢 3. Marketing 101
Marketing is one of the strongest tools for any law firm.
As industry trends change, law firms have also changed, and in your business plan, you must include a full marketing plan.
Your marketing plan should include making a user-friendly law firm website where potential clients can contact your lawyers.
You should also look into things like SEO, allowing you to provide visibility to your law firm on the web. Moreover, you can also pay ads to target the right clients on different social media platforms and search engines.
Law firm marketing is one of the most essential parts of management.
Even if you, as a lawyer, want to spend most of your time practicing law, you should invest in marketing because it can scale your business to six figures alone.
There are many books on law marketing that we have mentioned in our other blog.
You can check out our 17 must-read law firm management books.
In the blog, we have mentioned the book called “Lawyers Guide To Creating Systems, Getting Clients, & Becoming A Legal Rainmaker by David Britton.”
It is one of the best books for creating systems and setting up your law firm for success.
After marketing and getting clients, you’ll need to focus on one simple thing; building relationships with clients.
👨💻 4. Prioritize Clients and Customers
Customer experience is one of the most powerful tools in the world.
Even if you sell the best service, you won’t retain a client if you don’t have good customer service.
They wouldn’t want to do business with you again.
Your clients have hundreds of law firms to choose from, and that’s where you differ.
You need to provide a service to clients that they will not forget.
Speed is one of the most important things for law firms.
But don’t sacrifice quality for speed.
You should give your clients a great experience so they will make referrals, come back to you for future cases, leave reviews, and give your brand a chance to grow its reputation.
The online presence is strong and can be the main differentiator between you and your competitors.
Your sole brand should revolve around your clients.
What do you do that benefits your clients?
What is your focus that would bring clients close to their goals?
Your client should be a frame of reference for everything you do in your law firm.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize clients and customer service:
- Build healthy relationships with your clients so they can return to you.
- Maintain those relationships by staying in touch and following up with them even after a case has been solved.
- Take client feedback and always focus on improving your service and internal matters.
- Be fast, communicative, result-oriented, and responsive to clients.
⏳ 5. Using a Time Tracker for Management
Team management is the hardest part of a law firm.
Because you also have to consider your clients, team, their communication, billings, and results, it’s a lot of headaches if you’re following the traditional management channel.
We also have a guide on how lawyers track billable hours, so if you want to see that in detail, you can check that blog out. The traditional methods of managing a law firm are slow, and the modern day is about speed.
You must optimize everything, from workflow, team management, client acquisition, and more.
The traditional management methods included using registers, emails, phone calls, calendars, sheets, and many other things.
However, things have changed.
Automation has changed the managerial side of things, and now it’s productivity software that helps companies move at a faster rate without having to stress a manager till their last breath.
Hence, you can use a time tracking tool such as Time Analytics to manage your employees and clients, generate billable hours, and start paying the employees at the right time.
A manager, attorney, or law firm manager has a lot of things on their plate.
And the last thing they want to worry about is how they will track their employees’ time.
That’s where Time Analytics comes in.
Time Analytics allows businesses to do a variety of tasks.
The possibilities are limitless, from tracking each employee’s hours and generating billable reports to charging the clients for the right amount. The tool also contains online timesheets, which give you a unique insight into things to improve in the firm.
Time Analytics provides some of the following benefits for law firms:
- The ability to generate billable and non-billable hours without both of them clashing.
- Great team management options to track time and know the status of a case.
- Charging clients the right amount by billing them automated invoices.
There are five parts of a successful law firm, and they are a general rule of thumb for any firm looking to succeed and make its name one of the highest-quality firms ever.
Every successful law firm and practitioner uses these five parts: commitment, competence, community, communication, and client value.
So, let’s cover each of them individually.
You should always know what you want.
Remember when we talked about setting goals and your focus?
Well, that’s exactly what brings vision to your law firm.
Commitment means that you create a goal and you stick to achieving the goal.
It can be for several client acquisitions, a financial indicator for a law firm, or even a reputation.
Hence, the first step is to build the strong practice of a clear goal in your mind.
Once you have the goal, you can move to competence.
Being competent is another feat that is just as important as commitment.
You should be competent enough to handle all the client problems, which will separate you from other law firms.
To be recognized as the best in your field, you need to master many communication skills, but in the end, your team’s operations matter the most.
As a law firm, you should build a community of clients.
They should be more than your clients. People want to do business with businesses that they know.
And they even refer to other people once they get a positive experience from your firm.
Hence, building a community of lawyers, clients, and people can create a loyal customer base that will go a long way. The best way to do that is to create social media presence and educate people.
Communication is key and the most important thing for your service.
You need to communicate effectively and always have a clear message. From your branding to your clients, talking to them personally gives them the value they deserve.
The last C of a successful law firm is client value.
Having a satisfied client is the best indicator of your success. Higher client satisfaction incorporates communicating with them, focusing on their cases, and exceeding their expectations.
The highest role in a law firm is Managing Partners.
They are the highest officials of the firm, and they contain senior-level lawyers, founders, or directors.
This is the position that most aspiring lawyers vouch for. However, obtaining the role takes time, effort, and years.
Managing partners have the most authority, are responsible for showing their strategic visions and crafting objectives, and are mainly in a law firm for making decisions.
Get Started with Time Analytics
Managing a law firm comes with a lot of stress.
However, using a tool like Time Analytics will be perfect if you want to minimize managing stress and focus on important tasks. It features all the managing tools for lawyers, like client time billing, invoicing and reporting, team project management, and time-tracking.
Saad started his Content Writing journey in 2019 on Fiverr, where he catered to over 100 businesses in different niches like SaaS, Crypto, Meta, Gaming, Entertainment, and more.