There’s a lot of advice out there on how to grow your law firm. Do a search and you’ll see page after page of results telling you what you should be doing to expand. And although growth is great for business, rapid growth can be double edged sword.
This is something that Ken Hardison of PILMMA (the Powerful Innovative Legal Marketing & Management Association) found after his own practice experienced exponential client intake. In his interview on The Rankings Podcast, Ken spoke of some of the difficulties that can accompany speedy growth.
We all know that it’s important to run your firm like a business in order to expand, and the same is true for coping with growth. That’s why we’ve put together this guide so you can continue to build your business while still catering for your clients.
Focus your practice
If you find yourself inundated with clients, focus on a niche or cases that align with your firm’s goals. It might sound counterintuitive to turn business away, but it in the long run, you’ll benefit from saying no.
Focusing on cases that align with your firm’s goals will benefit you in several ways:
- You’ll reduce your workload.
- You’ll be able to concentrate your efforts on the clients you can take on.
- You’ll develop expertise
- You’ll bolster your reputation in your chosen are.
Obviously, only taking on certain cases will slash your potential workload, giving you less to worry about. And once you start concentrating on the clients you do want to work with, you’ll start to develop your expertise in that particular area.
In turn, this will benefit your clients as you’ll be able to better represent them. This also means that your brand will become more associated with the specific area of law you choose to practice. And as you become known for your niche, you’ll see less and less unrelated cases being sent your way.
However, don’t neglect those you can’t help right now. Just because someone isn’t a client currently doesn’t mean they couldn’t be in the future. If you haven’t already, start to develop a referral network so those you turn away can still get help. Just knowing that you’ve tried to assist them will keep you top of mind should they ever need your services again.
Share the load
Don’t shoulder the burden of accommodating your influx of clients on your own. If you’ve got a team, make the most of them and delegate certain tasks. Giving everyone a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities will ensure that jobs don’t go unattended and build up. For more advice on delegating effectively, check out our post about it here.
You can also turn to others to help work out further steps to manage your increased workload. You could look internally and hold strategy meetings to come up with ideas, or you could look externally to consultants.
Hiring short-term external experts or consultants won’t just benefit you while they’re with you. The insights and advice they give can be used to help train those you’ll be delegating work to, ensuring they are equipped with the best practices and procedures for carrying out certain tasks.
A great way to manage a larger number of clients is to take advantage of the technology you have available. Modern systems can help you to automate a whole range of processes, including:
- client queries
- relationship management
- contract issuing.
These are some technologies we also talked about in our article on Three Common Law Firm Start-Up Challenges And How To Solve Them, so be sure to check it out for more information.
There are a whole host of automated solutions to help you manage your client base from the very simple (online forms) to the very sophisticated (AI chatbots). A few you should bear in mind are:
- Online forms – a basic but effective data capture method allowing potential clients to fill out the required fields online, freeing up your phones.
- Chatbots – an online tool used to answer queries from a pre-programmed set of responses.
- Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) – a management system that keeps track of a whole host tasks such as referrals, client correspondence, client follow-up and more.
Keep up the hard work
It might be a wild ride now, but it’s something that you and your firm will adapt to. If you encounter any hiccups, make sure not to dwell on the problem and instead recognize it as a learning opportunity. It will only make your practice better and more resilient in the future.
Even if the growth you’re experiencing seems overwhelming, it’s important to continue whatever you’ve done to garner such interest. This means that if you’ve run a particularly successful marketing campaign, don’t ease off the gas. Marketing campaigns tend to take, at a minimum, three months to start yielding results, so pulling any efforts now won’t solve your overburdened intake system but could cause a client shortage later down the line.
And above all, even if your rapid growth is daunting, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve achieved. Realize that the difficulties you’re facing now are only temporary and that your firm will come out stronger than before.