The Happy Lawyer:
Create A More Cost-Effective Practice [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s not easy being a lawyer. Practicing law is, in and of itself, stressful enough. Between the non-stop deadlines, contentious opposing counsel, and the pressures of bringing in business, it can sometimes get the best of you.

And for solo and small firm lawyers, the demands of running your own law practice only add to the stress you experience day in and day out. You know there are steps you could be taking to cut costs, increase efficiencies and improve your law firm’s bottom line, but reviewing your law firm’s expenses and processes always falls by the wayside.

The good news is that our 15-part blog post series, “15 Way To Become The Happy Lawyer You Were Meant To Be” was designed to help you alleviate some of the stressors you face daily, so you can practice law on your terms. Throughout this series, we’ve explored different ways to improve your state of mind and streamline your law practice in order to reduce stress. Today, we’re going to explore ways to reduce the back end costs of running law practice. Because by reducing costs, you increase profits–and your level of happiness.

First, let’s take a look at the costs of a typical rural law practice. The infographic below illustrates how much it costs to run a solo practice in Downstate Illinois. (As always, we encourage you to share and blog about our infographics. You can grab an embed of this infographic from Slideshare here).

Cost-of-SmallPractice-FINAL

So let’s examine this law firm’s costs. You’ll notice that many of the initial costs relate to the office itself, such as furniture and monthly rent. One way to avoid these expenses is to consider the benefits of a virtual law practice. For some lawyers especially those with transactional law practices, virtual law firms are feasible and are a great way to avoid the costs associated with a brick and mortar law office. You can learn more about the benefits and practicalities of setting up a virtual law practice from Stephanie Kimbro in this blog post (including free access an ebook and a webinar recording). And you can learn firsthand how one lawyer runs her law firm from a virtual office here.

You’ll notice other costs relate to technology expenses, including computers, software and legal research tools. The good news is that by carefully researching your technology options and making the right choices, you can reduce these types of costs and ensure that the technology you choose saves your firm both time and money, essentially paying for itself. This blog post will help you to do just that and includes access to a free ebook about cost-saving tips for solo and small firm lawyers.

Choosing the right software for your firm can make all the difference as well. For example, the cost of the law practice management software used by the law firm above is on the higher end for the industry. By switching to a different system, the lawyer could save money each month. So make sure you choose the right software at the right price. Our ebook, “Choosing the Right Law Practice Management Software” can help you do just that.

Finally, you’ll notice that the law firm above spends a good amount of money on legal research fees each month. It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, you can easily reduce legal research costs by using free online resources. To learn how to do this, watch a recording of this webinar, Legal and Investigative Research on a Budget.

These are just a few tips to help you reexamine your law firm’s expenses. Running a law firm can be stressful. But the more you get your firm’s costs under control, the more your stress levels are reduced accordingly. So make today count and take steps to reducing your firm’s costs, effectively decreasing your firm’s bottom line along with your stress levels. What more could you ask for?

–Nicole Black

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