If you run a legal firm you’ll most likely come across many hurdles and obstacles, but from our experience, it usually comes down to the basics and how you built your company in the first place. If the base is weak, the whole house will crumble down. That’s why you as an entrepreneur have to be a super strong personality and entrepreneur first, and a lawyer second.
More than in any other industry, legal entrepreneurs and law firm owners get caught in getting too many clients and feel obliged to take their cases personally. This happens mostly for companies that focus all the marketing efforts on their CEO and create a personality cult, rather than sell the service itself. When the CEO of the firm is on every page of the website, as well as in every ad, people will want them to be the lawyer representing them and nobody else from their perhaps equally good employees. This creates a social pressure that prevents the team from doing the actual work.
Simply said, the Company Director and the Head Lawyer shouldn’t be the same person. The Director’s job should be purely in charge of the management of the company, HR, wages, business development, personal development of the employees, and have a general overview of what happens within the company. Otherwise, the company may not only struggle to grow and find new opportunities but may also miss on a lot of internal problems, the happiness of the employees, the mission, and vision of the firm.
How to avoid these common mistakes as a Legal business owner?
1. Hire the right people and make sure they are happy and busy enough.
2. Coach the people you have hired to do the job as well as you would.
3. Delegate additional work to the best of your employees and get them to help you hire similarly skilled and motivated people.
4. Don’t be afraid of your employees getting better than you in solving legal matters. In fact, that should be your aim.
Every business should have these 5 parts covered:
Leadership – Operations – Service – Marketing
Leadership – every company needs a proper structure of who is in charge of what and who reports to whom. This sounds like common knowledge, however in many law firms, this is not the reality. Lawyers, being usually very smart people expect their common sense to trickle down to their employees. This may happen if they surround themselves with smart employees and are lucky enough that they don’t take advantage of them. And this is not about micromanagement, it’s about leading their team and communicating the way the company is being led and where it’s heading. This leads to our next point.
Operations – If the head lawyer and CEO is the same person, they should hire an Operations Officer. Someone responsible for staffing, work hours, workloads, allowances, expenses etc. The first thing they’ll teach you in business school is to hire your own boss. If you are the best lawyer (or simply love practicing law), but not good at managing people, especially. You also need to rely on the structure you have built in your absence. If there is no solid structure in place you’ll run into a million problems.
Service – You have to make sure you offer the best service in the market, or you differentiate yourself from your competition. Your service needs to be easy to digest and understand for an average Joe. This brings us to:
Marketing – It’s a great puzzle for most law firms, however if you don’t get it right on most fronts, you may be invisible to potential clients. Your marketing has to be spotless and ever-present, from your online presence to funnels, landing pages, branding, to PPC ads, Display ads, etc. This is why we are here, unless you are an expert in Marketing, you’ll end up wasting your budget on things that don’t work well and wasting your time as well.
Written by Andrej Mchantaf