Discover some of the most common (and completely avoidable) mistakes that plague most small and solo law firms.
If you own or work in a small law firm, you’re probably accustomed to the messy, lacking organization vibe that it can sometimes send. The problem is, clients will also pick up the scent of a not so successful company.
Besides having to face constant changes in laws, legal market, you must also face the downsides of a small business – fewer resources, less manpower, employees asking for high salaries and the list goes on.
You are a lawyer first, so no one expects you to know everything about running a business and dealing with its incidental problems, so to help, here are five mistakes most small law firms make and tips on how to avoid them.
1. Don’t Sell Yourself Short
One of the most common problem attorneys who work for small firms have is that they always end up working for lower costs or even free. That can happen because the client decides to pay less in the end or because the attorneys themselves feel they need to get more experience in a certain area and therefore, they accept taking jobs that are non-paying.
Unfortunately, this strategy has two downsides: first, it tells the client that it’s okay not to pay for the fair work and second, your business isn’t growing. A solution is to set your fees from the very beginning and don’t back down an inch along the way.
However, your clients need to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. to avoid this, make sure they are aware of all the steps you are taking regarding their legal matter. Also, do one thing that you certainly are good at: create a written client agreement.
2. Hiring Quickly and Firing the Same Way
You’re in the business of practicing law, and things can get rough. But if run the firm, then you can’t escape burdens like hiring people. Due to the time expense, many small firms choose to go through the hiring process quickly, not taking their time to test and verify their choice. But, this type of approach will cost you more time (and money) in the long run.
Next time your practice needs to make a shift, take the time and plan a strong strategy. You should pay close attention to the interviews and make sure that the people hired will match the style and vision of your firm.
3. It’s About Your Clients, Not About You
Being a small firm, you might not be taking advantage of the benefits of digital marketing (yet). One mistake many lawyers make with their digital marketing is focusing on their firm, and less on their targeted audience.
That usually happens when you talk a lot about your company’s years of experience, the client portfolio and so on. Undoubtedly, some people will be attracted by those things and choose your firm because of that. Most clients want to know “what this personal injury law firm can do for me.” So, get in the saddle and start connecting with potential customers, asking them about their needs and showing them how you are what they need.
4. Get Your Security and Hardware Straight
As mentioned above, no one expects you to be an expert on everything. However, this is not an excuse to ignore other important aspects that intertwine with your legal work. You don’t necessarily need to hire an IT consultant to deal with all those software and computer issues that seem to appear every other day. You can manage this problem by using software that is cloud-based and which will take care of all those complicated problems.
5. Change The Pricing Strategy
Gone are the times when clients accepted payment by the hour without even cringing a muscle. Nowadays clients are too well informed not to know that a better option is paying proportionally to the results achieved. For example, you may want to incorporate different payment plans. Essentially you need to start adapting your fee’s structure.
Have you made any of the above mistakes? How did you handle them?