How to Grow My Law Practice: Tips for Success
By Morgan Martinez
If you’ve ever Googled “how to grow my law practice,” you’re not alone. With 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, according to the American Bar Association, many lawyers are searching for a way to beat the competition.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about law firm growth, including:
- The various forms of financial business success
- Questions to assess whether your practice is ready to scale
- How to grow a law firm using seven straightforward steps
What Does Law Firm Growth Mean?
At the most basic level, growing your law firm comes down to increasing revenue and profits. This can take several forms, such as:
- Closing more cases
- Closing the same number of cases but increasing average case value
- Acquiring or merging with another firm
Positive financial growth, in turn, can lead to:
- Greater profits per partner
- Hiring more attorneys and/or staff
- Expanding into new, scalable practice areas
- Serving additional demographics
- Growing into additional locations
Questions to Determine Whether You Should Grow Your Law Practice
Before we discuss how to grow your law practice, let’s talk about whether that’s the right choice. After all, attempting to scale at an inopportune time can do more harm than good. If you’re unsure whether to grow your law firm, ask yourself the following questions.
Do I Know How to Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
Before scaling, every lawyer should know how to assess their firm’s current baseline and measure changes. You may be thinking “I just want to know how to grow my law practice. Is this really necessary?”
In short, yes. You can’t thoroughly assess law firm development without tracking data, such as the number of leads converted into cases this year compared to the year prior. Additionally, quantifying progress can be difficult if you don’t have your firm’s baseline metrics.
Fortunately, tracking KPIs and producing data-driven insights are simple with the right tools. Check out our article about improving your law firm’s performance to learn which KPIs to track and how to use technology to do it quickly and easily.
Is There Enough Demand for My Services From My Target Audience?
The last thing you want is to expend resources trying to grow your firm, only to realize that your client base doesn’t exist or the landscape is too competitive. Conduct a market analysis before allocating assets to expand your law practice. Resources like this market research guide from HubSpot (a software company specializing in marketing and sales) can help you identify realistic growth opportunities and challenges.
Am I Scaling Too Quickly?
A growing law firm that scales too fast won’t succeed in the long run. This is easy to understand in theory but often difficult to see in practice.
For example, let’s say that a personal injury firm works hard to intake 50% more clients compared to the previous year. They’re probably doing well financially, right? Not necessarily. Personal injury lawyers are typically paid on a contingency basis, and they only receive payment if they achieve a favorable outcome for the client. The legal team could work for months without seeing a penny.
Meanwhile, the firm still has to pay expenses, such as attorney and staff salaries, rent, utilities, software costs, insurance, and more. This can lead to major cash flow problems, despite the firm being busier than ever.
Scaling too quickly drains your law firm’s coffers. Only enter growth mode if you’re prepared to scale steadily and build a rainy day fund that can get you through rough patches.
Is Everyone on the Same Page About Growth?
Everyone has to agree about goals and priorities in order to optimally develop your firm. If some partners, attorneys, and support staff aren’t on board regarding your firm growth plans, achieving success will be difficult.
What Steps Should You Take for Growing Your Law Practice?
Are you ready to take your law firm to the next level? Below we’ve outlined how to grow a law firm in seven simple steps.
1. Decide Which Tasks Can Be Delegated
If you have a full plate, odds are you’re tackling tasks that could be delegated to someone else. Shifting work elsewhere allows you more time to focus on highly impactful priorities that generate growth. Determine which tasks you can delegate by following this seven-step process.
- For one to two weeks, use legal time-tracking software or manual timekeeping to determine how you spend your time.
- Immediately remove any unnecessary tasks from your to-do list.
- Organize the remaining tasks into four categories based on complexity and importance: high complexity and high importance, high complexity and low importance, low complexity and high importance, and low complexity and low importance.
- Delegate tasks of low complexity and low importance to staff.
- Teach team members how to complete work of low complexity and high importance. Then, delegate this work.
- Simplify the processes of high complexity and low importance tasks. Then, delegate these duties.
- Personally handle tasks of high complexity and high importance. Keep in mind that you may need to keep certain tasks that you’d prefer to delegate to remain compliant with ethical guidelines.
2. Hire the Right People at the Right Time
Your growing law firm needs a capable team to succeed. The key is to hire proactively—before you get too busy. If you wait until your team is overworked, you’re likely to burn out existing employees.
As your firm gains more clients, add new team members (attorneys and support staff) to keep the workload steady. Our guide to managing your legal professional team can help you build a productive workgroup and keep them engaged for maximum productivity.
3. Develop Systems for Increasing Efficiency
Organized systems promote efficiency and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. If firm growth is on the horizon, formalize workflows that team members use every day. For example, create a systemized client intake process for every new lead. Here’s what that could look like:
- Use MyCase client intake forms to customize form templates and easily embed them into your website.
- When a lead submits a new form, it automatically syncs to your MyCase dashboard—eliminating manual work.
- Make one or two team members responsible for immediately reaching out to qualify new leads.
- Once retained, the client’s intake information will sync to the case file to avoid duplicate entries.
- If you need to gather a consultation fee or retainer, MyCase legal billing and payments software can help you create automated invoices in minutes.
4. Adapt to New Technology
Technology tools can help you grow your law firm quickly and with fewer employees. Below are some tools that can minimize administrative work for greater productivity.
- Time-tracking software: Streamline timekeeping, generate accurate invoices, and record more billable time with MyCase time-tracking software. Lawyers who used MyCase Smart Time Finder (a feature that tracks all activities done in MyCase) recorded an extra 25 hours in 2021, according to the MyCase Benchmark Report: How Work Gets Done in Law Firms.
- Legal workflow automation: MyCase workflow automation streamlines repeatable tasks—including case document generation and deadline creation. Create unique triggers to set a workflow in motion, such as calendaring a case after retaining a new client. This can save hours of administrative work so you can focus on billable tasks.
- Payment processing software: Make billing and collections easy with LawPay, the legal payments processor of choice for more than 50,000 law firms. With the MyCase-LawPay integration, your growing law firm can accept credit and debit cards, eChecks, and electronic payments while ensuring compliance with ABA and IOLTA guidelines.
- MyCase legal financial software: Get a holistic view of your firm and its growth and performance with robust reporting. Measuring financial growth has never been simpler.
5. Invest in Law Firm Marketing
The finest attorneys and systems are useless without a steady stream of clients. Law firm marketing is the best way to reach the prospects that can grow your firm’s book of business. Read our guide, Marketing for Lawyers 101, to learn how to create a comprehensive legal marketing strategy—that includes SEO (for your online presence).
You may also benefit from our library of attorney marketing blog articles, including:
- Personal Injury Google Ads: Best Practices—read it here
- How to Use ‘Google My Business’ for Lawyers—find it here
- Law Firm Email Marketing 101—read it here
6. Leverage Blogging
Create engaging content for prospects and clients with content marketing. This strategy enables your firm to become a thought leader. It can also increase brand recognition, generate website traffic, and build trust with prospects and clients.
One of the most common forms of content marketing is blogging. Typically, lawyers create a blog on their firm’s website and produce informative articles on a regular schedule. This could be several times a week, once weekly, twice monthly, etc.
They also share these articles on social media, within the firm’s email newsletter, or across similar marketing channels to increase readership. The purpose is to provide valuable information that lures prospects in (and ideally, prompts them to contact the firm).
Learn more about how to get started in our comprehensive guide to content marketing for lawyers.
7. Try Social Media Marketing
Nearly 4.5 billion people use social media around the world, according to Backlinko, a website that provides SEO training. That’s a lot of potential clients ready and waiting to hear from you.
The good news is that getting started on social media is free for most platforms. If you’re willing to set aside a social media budget, your firm can also take advantage of paid advertising to reach targeted audiences.
Learn more about social media marketing in our article, Facebook Advertising for Lawyers: Your Guide to Targeting the Right Clients.
Grow Your Law Practice Today
Now you know how to grow your law practice. What if we told you that you could increase your caseload by 38% and gain at least three billable hours per day? With MyCase, you can.
Take advantage of our suite of attorney-friendly features, including:
- Automated intake processes
- Streamlined case management
- Faster billing and invoicing
- Easy, integrated payment processing
- MyCase Accounting with three-way trust reconciliation
Get your 10-day free trial of MyCase now. There’s no need to provide a credit card or commit to a contract.
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