5 Characteristics of Highly Effective Law Firms in 2018
Law firms that are successful share many of the same characteristics. Since markets and service offerings vary, there is no single magic formula. Instead, success comes from a combination of principles. We’ll examine some of these.
1. Having a clear business strategy
Although this list is not in order, this characteristic deserves its place at the top. Firms that are armed with clearly defined service propositions and target markets have an advantage over those who do not. Once these are decided, there leaves little room for distracting incursions that may take away from the firm’s main proposition. However, a clear strategy on its own is not enough. The strategic message should be understood by everyone at the firm and be broadcasted, allowing clients and potential clients to digest and understand.
2. Putting clients first
The most successful firms go to great lengths to ensure client satisfaction. To do so, the services provided must be consistent and completed in a timely manner. Establish protocols that allow for the management of clients’ expectations, as doing so will ensure transparency. Fine tune service delivery by implementing periodic client surveys.
In today’s competitive market, client and provider alignment is becoming an essential attribute in practice. Providers have historically been comfortable with the asymmetry of information between themselves and their clients. With the significant technological advancements in recent years, clients have been shifting the legal industry into a buyers market. Clients are no longer willing to pay for work that could have been performed cost-efficiently. Certain legal tasks can be done faster and cheaper by technology or non-legal vendors, so aligning with your clients’ needs and putting clients first is key to staying competitive. However, clients will always be willing to pay for true commercial expertise and for a good understanding of their business.
3. Use technology to improve the practice
Firms that invest in new technology and modern practice management systems are the real winners. Valuable IT systems and software yield significant advantages to both the client and the provider. For example, dealcloser is designed to enhance efficiency, compliance and client relationship management. dealcloser benefits lawyers by allowing them to work efficiently while providing more value to clients.
According to Thomson Reuters’ 2017 State of Small Law Firms Study, nearly half of the 300 law firm survey respondents adopted new technology at their firm to improve quality of service and reduce costs in the last two years. Technology adoption was the largest category of change, with the second most common change being a changed marketing strategy. Technology adoption will only increase as time goes on and law firms that ignore technology will be outperformed by those that do not.
4. Be the best place to work
Organizations that invest in their people and provide an enjoyable workplace culture outperform those which do not. Engaged and dedicated people perform better. Continuously recruiting replacements for discontented employees is costly. This applies equally to lawyers and support staff. The ideal company makes its best employees even better—and the least of them better than they imagined they could be. When employees see room for growth, it gives them motivation to work harder
5. Become Recognized in Your Community
Some claim that participating in your local community, whether it’s pro bono work or more direct involvement, is a doubtful way of gaining publicity. However, there is plenty of evidence that participation in the local community is an indication of highly successful legal practices.
Involvement may include anything from local charity work to mentoring – the list is endless. The outcomes are beneficial to the local community and also to your team. Furthermore, people will tend to do business with those they know and trust. An important requirement for consistent referrals is establishing a foundation of trust. The best way to build trust is to spend time contributing to your community and displaying an interest in others.