Small Law Firm: Challenges, Management and Effective Marketing Strategies to Breakthrough

Do you have a small law firm and you are now looking on how to overcome challenges? Or you are looking for a good way to manage it? Or you’re looking for better marketing strategies to help you grow your firm?

Worry not!  The good news is you have arrived at one-stop center which contains all useful information you are looking for as far as a small law firm is concerned.

Basing on My experience, here I will share with you the biggest challenges which most small law firms face during startup and how to overcome them, also I will share with you how to properly manage a small law firm and best marketing strategies  to help your small law firm penetrate into the market.

What is small law firm?

When I say small law firm, I refer to a firm which has 1-9 attorneys and less than 4 years since it was established.

Why most small law firms fail?

The following are the probable reasons for the failure of most small law firm

  • Starting Up With Wrong Mindset/Mentality

why most small law firm fail-starting with wrong mentality

Most of the lawyers, when they are staring their law firm they see money on their mind. They don’t see the service, brand or reputation of their firm.

If you are a lawyer and you want to establish your law firm for the purpose of getting money, forget about that or otherwise you will fail.

Money is not the cause but the result. First, you should focus on offering the value to your clients and money will follow. More value is equal to more money.  Money is an exchange of value

According to me Focusing on money instead of value is the wrong mentality.

The fact is, you will make little money or no money at all at the beginning and if you’re not patient enough you will give up and close your office.

  • Giving up too Early

Giving up too early? Yeah!  Giving up too early is one of the reasons why most small law firms fail. 

The fact is it is takes 2 to 3 years for any business to prosper.

Most of small lawyers are not patient enough to hold on.
why most small law frm fail?- giving up too eraly
“I'm not saying it's going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy. But that's no reason to give up. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. After all, you only have one life, so you should try to make the most of it.”
― Louis Sachar

  • Starting With Wrong Team

I can’t emphasize the importance of having the right team in accomplishing any mission. When one person in a team is thinking about money, another is thinking about fame and another think about nothing you can go nowhere.

If your team does not have a common goal and vision. Your firm is apt to fail.

Make sure your entire team is on the same page.

  • Location

Location is prerequisites of any business success. Small Law firms that start in highly competitive areas fail to compete with big firms and finally collapse.

  • Lack of Long Term Vision

Having vision enhance Sense of purpose which can make you keep going and be committed to your dream.

Vision acts as road map of any organization. Most of the small law firm lacks long term vision thus they don’t know where they are going. When they face challenges they are totally discouraged and consequently they close.

why most small law firm fail-lack of long term vision

  • Area of Practice

In Lawyer and Stress, I said that “Some areas of the law are most challenging than others.”

Here I say further that, there are some areas of law have fewer clients than others and this depends on factors like location, social and economic activities and people demand.

Choosing wrong area of practice may lead to struggle and finally collapse.

Most small law firm focus on high paying area of practice, I advise you to focus on the area which your capable of rendering the best service compared to your competitors.

  • Poor Marketing Strategies

Most of small law firm lacks effective marketing strategies to help them attract the clients, build their brand and penetrate into the market.

Clients are life blood of any business, failure to attract clients means the failure of the business.

How to Manage a Small Law Firm

After having the probable reasons for the failure of most small law firm the following are the tips to help you effectively manage your small law firm.

  • Have a Well Framed Leadership, Management or Organizational Structure

organisational structure for small law firm
A good management structure is very essential in the management of your law firm. This is where the success or failure of your firm begins.

Make sure the structure of your law firm consists of legal departments and non-legal departments

Legal Departments

Managing Partner office- for arranging and making the major decision of the law firm

Attorneys- for conducting day to day legal activities

Legal assistance-these helps attorneys in their daily activities. (It is not must to have them if you’re starting but as you grow, they are very useful in firm performance)

Non-legal Departments

Office management and Human Resource – for coordinating, and facilitate office operations
Finance and accounts –for budgeting, bookkeeping, taxes, etc. This is a must department if you will not hire then outsource.

Billing and collection- for billing clients and collects money from clients

IT- for set up and maintenance of IT appliances if any

Marketing- for developing and implement marketing strategies

Once you have a well organization structure then you may observe the following to ensure proper management of your law firm.

  • Open all Necessary Bank Accounts

One among an important area which needs attention when it comes to a law firm is financial area.

Here is where the life or the death of the firm commences.

To properly manage your small law firm makes sure you have all necessary accounts separately. Don’t put all money into one account. Open client account, checking account, saving account and any other accounts according to your demand.

This can be well done and managed by Finance and accounts department.

  • Effective Communication System

Effective communication entails the flow of information from one person to another or from one department to another within your law firm.

Effective communication within your law firm will enhance coordination of all departments.

All departments must be connected with proper communication otherwise, your firm will malfunction.

  • Delegation and Automation

how to manage your law firm-delegate and automate

Technology will help you manage your law firm effectively by automatically performing some of the duties like reminders, case follow up, client profile, etc. Make use of good legal practice management software to enhance the management of your law firm. 

You may start to look for simple software you can afford and move to sophisticated as you grow.
Delegation will help you archive efficiency. Delegate every task to its appropriate department. This will enhance the smooth operation of your internal processes.

NB. Management of your firm will be easy if you have the right team, otherwise, you will fail.

Small Law Firm Marketing Strategies

Hey! I’m not a marketing agent! I am just a lawyer! In my carrier, I have seen most of the small law firms struggles to take off and most of them collapse.

As we have seen above, one of the reasons for failure is poor marketing strategies.

Why marketing is important to your law firm?

Marketing will help your law firm to reach and inform potential clients about your services. It will enhance engagement with your client and the growth of your law firm.

The question you may ask yourself now is how can I market my small law firm?

how to market small law firm

  • Observe ‘The first Impression is the Best Impression’ Rule

how to market my law firm-Observe ‘The first Impression is the Best Impression’ Rule

To observe   ‘the first impression is the best impression’ rule is a must thing for any starting business with the aim to grow.

Since you are staring, make sure you impress every client your meet for the first time.

Your client must be impressed with the general environment of your office, the professional look of your personnel, and quality service. In short BE PROFESSIONAL.

Make sure the client, you meet for the first time easily remember your firm name and hardly forget your service. This will help you with ‘word of mouth’ marketing.

The word of mouth marketing is the best marketing strategy for small law firms.

"The best marketing is word-of-mouth. I still get about half of my clients from word-of-mouth. Past clients are the best source for getting new clients!" - Jonathan G. Stein, owner, Law Offices of Jonathan G. Stein
  • Create Educational and Social Campaigns and Launch Them at Right Places

To provide education concerning the service of your law firm is the right way to attract clients. You may launch several educational campaigns in Radio, Tv and Newspapers, or participate in different social activities within your locality.

Through this people will notice your existence, understands your service and need your help.

"For our law firm, we have found that we gain the most traction through writing timely educational articles about estate planning-related issues……..”- Matthew J. Tuller, Principal Attorney, and Owner at the Law Office of Matthew J. Tuller

 Online Marketing strategies for a small law firm

Online Marketing strategies for a small law firm

The following are the online marketing strategies to help your small law firm grow.

  • Website and Blog

How to market small law firm through website and blog
According to a survey conducted by Jurisdigital in 2017, 49% of people are researching their legal issues online before finding an attorney.

With this ‘dot com’ generation having a website and blog is essential when it comes to online marketing.

Have a well designed website to showcase your service and expertise. Make sure your website is SEO optimized for organic traffic and setup ‘Google my Business listing’ to enhance the discovery of your service online. 

There a lot of IT guys to help you with this issue.

Further, you may consider having a blog going side to side with your website. On your blog publish great content that answers the user questions.  Make sure the contents are relevant and engaging.

  • Social Networks

Social media marketing is the future for lawyers. Most people perform research on their smartphones. I get one to two significant cases per year from paid marketing efforts on Facebook for a minimal investment." - Barry Walker, Managing Partner at Walker Law

Most people are now interact through social networks. Make sure your law firm has an account on every popular social network to enhance your firm visibility online. Engage with other users who relevant to your service.

Further, you may use your social networks account to promote your blog posts.

Final Remarks
Establishing your law firm is a big step. Running it might be challenging, if you're determined enough and have the courage to stand out you will make it. Quitting should not be your option. Be careful not to quit ‘three feet from gold’. 

Be patient and focus on doing the right things. You will make it.

Apply the insights you find useful in this post plus any other resources, to keep you motivated and help you pursue your career.

Kindly share this post to spread the knowledge. Sharing is caring.

Best Regards

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