This December marks the end of the 2010s, which makes it a perfect time to take a quick look back at where we’ve been, as well as where we’re going. The advances of the past decade in particular have had a dramatic impact on how we practice law and how we serve our clients. Before taking a look forward, let’s review some of the most notable trends in law firm management that we’ve seen take shape over the past ten years.
Smaller Is Better
It used to be the dream of most law school graduates to work their way up the ladder and eventually “make partner” at a huge law firm. But that dream may be in the midst of a shift as a growing number of attorneys are trading the corporate ladder for entrepreneurship, starting their own smaller firms rather than joining a big one. Parallel to this trend is an increased tendency toward smaller law offices in general—meaning fewer employees and reduced square footage. Not only do smaller offices require less money to maintain, but many lawyers are finding they can focus better on serving clients with a minimal, streamlined approach. When business starts booming, instead of expanding their existing offices when needed, many law firm owners now prefer to expand to multiple locations so they can continue to serve clients in a more intimate setting.
How can smaller law offices serve clients (and attorneys) with the same efficiency as larger offices? The answer may lie in our next trend—the move toward agile working. The advent of high-speed Internet, more automation, online databases and cloud computing have made it much easier for all sorts of businesses (including law firms) to work remotely from anywhere via laptop. In fact, these days, many law firms start out with nothing more than a “virtual office” with the attorney processing cases from home or coffee shops, or perhaps taking client meetings in a local coworking space. When lawyers are no longer limited to a brick-and-mortar location, then when they do grow into a physical office, they can keep things small and streamlined.
More Client Focused
One driving factor behind the more streamlined approach over the past decade is a growing desire for law firms to more client-centric. Like customers of other businesses, law firm clients these days tend to demand exceptional value for the money they pay us. They don’t just want us to know the law—they want us to serve their needs. We’re seeing more emphasis on faster response times, improved hospitality and easier client access. Law firms are now beginning to implement client portals where their clients can access status updates and important paperwork at any time, day or night—all of which is great for business in general.
As a firm that coaches entrepreneurial lawyers, we make a point of keeping up with the latest trends in law firm management. To learn more about how we can help you reach your goals, give us a call at 888-207-2869.