Running a law firm is hard, and growing one is even harder, especially today. For many law firms, problems that slow growth (e.g., the costs of starting a law firm, the difficulty of getting new customers, competition with other law firms, and not having enough time to focus attention on the business aspect of things) can get to be so overwhelming. It is so important for a lawyer like you to learn how to maximize your law firm business without sacrificing your time.
Being the leader of a law firm entails making continual decisions about how to prioritize and organize your time. We are all looking for ways to be more productive and lucrative in the legal field. It is difficult to balance running a law practice and the administrative demands of the legal business. It is an even more ambitious challenge for those who want to grow their law firm businesses.
This is where the Partners Club of Richard James Your Practice Mastered, LLC comes in. We fill in the missing pieces of crucial information, so you can learn how to run a small business like a pro (just as you are as a practicing lawyer,)and learn how to maximize your law firm business without sacrificing your time. Our program teaches you how to become a wiser small business owner so you may have more income, freedom, and time to give attention to the things that count in life.
Here at the Richard James US law firm management company, we dislike seeing many lawyers crushed by the weight of law practice management without the proper tools and knowledge. This is why we are so enthusiastic about helping small law-firm attorneys in gaining control of their businesses and allowing them to:
- Achieve financial independence;
- Have time for family relationships or personal hobbies;
- Enjoy time for self-renewal without worrying about workplace check-ins;
- Create and focus on their retirement plan;
- And all the while practicing law and contributing to the community.
Check out our free masterclass today!
Ways to Maximize Your Law Firm Business
Building a successful law firm doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Here’s how to maximize your law firm business without sacrificing your time.
Outsource if You Cannot Hire
Hiring full-time employees are not the only means to support a growing business. Legal work outsourcing is delegating tasks (such as reviewing documents, non-litigation courtroom appearances, and scanning of documents) outside your staff, whether to other professionals, freelance attorneys, or other qualified individuals.
Outsourcing may alleviate your law firm's burden by taking these tasks from your plate, allowing you and your team to concentrate on your essential tasks such as preparation for litigation.
Hire When the Right Time Comes
Growing a law firm is taxing without the right people to rely on. Do not be afraid to put together a team that can help your business even as it grows. The team's ultimate goal is to build the firm while delivering exceptional legal services for your potential client.
To achieve sustainable growth, a law firm must proactively hire staff as it draws new clients. If you put off hiring until you're overwhelmed with clients and desperate for assistance, it might be too late and detrimental to the growth of your legal practice.
If you reach the point where you're so stressed out and have too much work on your plate that you have to add a person to assist you, you're simply adding something more to your to-do list that you don't have time to accomplish.
Automate Your Billing
When time-consuming tasks are automated, an attorney gets free time to help build or improve their legal practice and performance, whether through obtaining new business or spending time on more billable tasks. Automation also reduces overhead by reducing the hours required to carry out various tasks.
One of these tasks is bills preparation, and the billing procedure is critical if a law firm wants to earn as much revenue as it can for its labor. Billing is among the most arduous administrative tasks for attorneys, maybe because of its importance. According to the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, 48% of respondents named a lengthy pre-bill editing and review cycle as some of their law firm's major pain issues.
According to the American Bar Association Model Rules for Attorney Ethics, practitioners must ensure that their bills are reasonable. Lawyers must use “billing judgment” and “make a good-faith effort” to avoid charges and costs that are “excessive, redundant, or otherwise unwarranted.” Nonetheless, many billing systems speed up the time-entry process, but they seldom tackle the bill review task, i.e., cleaning up time and expense entries before sending invoices to clients.
Furthermore, many time tracking and billing systems are incapable of helping law firms ensure their bills comply with client billing rule requirements, necessitating extra time spent cleaning up billing entries before they are submitted. As a result, billing review is a crucial aspect of getting paid. In fact, according to the 2019 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, the billing review and cleaning process may make bills preparation take up to two weeks.
Cloud-Based Practice Management Software Systems
Whether this is a good or bad thing, gone are the days of forgetting paperwork at the workplace or having stacks of paper in every lawyer's office. Working from any location with a network connection is now possible thanks to the Internet. Cloud-based apps provide law firms access to this significant advantage.
The benefits of legal practice management software systems are vital to any law firm of any size, made possible solely by the instant sharing of thousands of notable pieces of information made available by cloud-based capability.
The free flow of data accessibility provides the entire law practice with real-time information access that can be modified and shared in real time. This reduces redundancy while boosting performance by ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Investing in Digital Marketing to Increase Brand Recognition
Before the Google era, attorneys relied on word-of-mouth referrals, billboard advertising, and television. When the Internet and the building of company websites became commonplace, businesses realized that being easily found by clients on Google was critical.
Today, digitally-savvy law firms recognize that clients have completely migrated online due to the pandemic. Digital-only interactions have become the norm. You are losing potential clients if your law firm does not have a presence on several marketing platforms. The same is true for the medical industry. Medical practices are not dependent on the convenience of taking a patient's insurance-company details but also on their reputation in site reviews such as Zocdoc or insurance companies' websites.
Law firms with an available budget can and should consider growing efforts in digital marketing platforms, such as LinkedIn or social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, to engage new clients. Making an investment in technologies to monitor the impact of these marketing initiatives will also be critical to reaching out to thousands of potential clients.
Accept Legal Technology's Future
Using the capabilities of legal technology is one of the most significant and immediate ways to boost efficiency. Modern legal technology can help you speed up your legal research process in several ways, including merging various apps into a single platform and utilizing AI search technology to help you rapidly identify the most relevant results. Adopting new legal technology does not have to be challenging. Indeed, one of the leading advantages of new technology is that it is often straightforward, with a short learning curve and a high potential for optimizing your workflow.
A strong emphasis on innovation must extend beyond marketing. For example, assessing your intake and case-management practices may need the acquisition of new technology, the expense of which may be readily offset by the increasing new business and revenue.
Improving your law firm's intake methods and case-management software is one strategy to maximize your law firm business without sacrificing your time. Some contingency-fee law firms may create an internal call center using available capital not dedicated to case costs. While many firms outsource this service, keeping it in-house provides benefits such as increased client engagement and the ability to streamline the process depending on your firm's capacity and law practice areas at any given moment.
Selling Your Practice or Merging with a Growing Law Firm
Many senior attorneys confront a difficult decision when developing law firm growth strategies. They can sell their practice, merge with a growing law firm, appoint the right person as a law firm successor, or keep the status quo.
Selling Your Law-Firm
Selling your law firm or law practice is one strategy to experience growth. There is a significant opportunity for law firms owned by lawyers aged 55 to 75 who have run practices employing five to 20 attorneys for 30-plus years to expand their law firms through acquisitions or mergers.
Joining a Growth-Hungry Law Firm (Merger)
Even though merging with a growing law firm may not be the first choice for many senior attorneys, it's an option that can result in more sustained growth in addition to quality service. Most attorneys enter the legal profession to practice law, provide legal advice, and serve people, not to run a business.
While it is conceivable to be in the courtroom while serving as your law firm's CFO/COO, this is not necessarily the best option for everyone. Joining a firm with the capital and resources to operate the firm like a business is a great way to approach a merger, with the premise that you and your partners do not want to wear the multiple hats of practicing law in addition to managing the business.
Merging with a growing law firm can be advantageous for senior attorneys, particularly those wishing to lighten some of the pressures and demands of operating a business while simultaneously practicing law. This is also an appealing option for the ‘buyer' since senior attorneys carry decades of expertise and experience and a sizeable book of business.
Alternative Business Structures (ABS)
The Supreme Court unanimously enacted rule amendments to stimulate business innovation in providing legal services at reasonable pricing. The Court also amended the court rules governing the practice of law, removing the provision forbidding fee sharing and preventing nonlawyers from having economic interests in law firms. The legislative framework addressing this change necessitates licensing businesses known as “Alternative Business Structures.” The modifications went into effect on January 1, 2021.
The Committee on Alternative Business Structures will review applications for a license under Arizona Supreme Court Rule 33.1 and the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration (ACJA) 7-209 and make recommendations to the Supreme Court on licensure.
What is an Alternative Business Structure (ABS)?
An ABS is a firm that provides legal services and is owned or managed by people who are not lawyers. Nonlawyers can have economic ownership (an equity stake) in the law firm, but only lawyers and others licensed or certified by the Arizona Supreme Court can provide legal advice and legal services.
What are the Benefits of an ABS?
- It will encourage further technological advancements in rendering legal services to the general public.
- More money will be infused into law firms.
- It will enable law firms to attract the right person – the finest and brightest nonlawyer partners (as they desire equity in a firm just as lawyers want to be firm partners).
- It will enable “one-stop shops” to offer legal and non-legal services to clients.
Can My Law Firm or I Apply for an ABS License?
Yes. The first step in establishing the ABS license program was taken by the Court on August 27, 2020, when it adopted rule modifications to abolish the prohibition on nonlawyers having an economic interest in law firms. In October 2020, the Arizona Judicial Council (AJC) evaluated and enacted the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration 7-209, establishing the regulatory and licensing structure for ABSs, effective January 1, 2021. ACJA 7-209(E) and (G)(1) outline the fundamental criteria for the ABS application process. The application form is available on the Alternative Business Structures website under “Licensing & Regulation” and Alternative Business Structure.
How Will Complaints Against an ABS be Dealt With?
Complaints will be accepted, investigated, and prosecuted like complaints against attorneys by the State Bar of Arizona. According to Administrative Order 2021-123, part of the yearly fee paid by each ABS will be remitted to the State Bar.
The Court Unanimously Agreed to Abolish Rule 5.4: What Does This Mean?
Lawyers partnering with nonlawyers are permitted. Nonlawyers can own, have a financial stake in, manage, or make decisions in an ABS that provides legal services. Lawyers will be allowed to split fees.
Richard James, Your Practice Mastered, LLC
Learn how to maximize your law firm business without sacrificing your time. I'll show you the process many of my members are adopting to achieve this success!
We will outline the steps to take your practice from struggling to flourishing and predictable. We won't send you out on your journey without any support. The success of your endeavors is our top priority. This is why we will be at your side throughout the whole process. We are here to help you with dedication at any stage of the process and will gladly walk you through it and answer any question you may have.
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