Use The Competition’s Failure To Your Advantage

Whether you’re on the hunt for new clients or new attorneys, it’s important to focus your efforts so that you take on only the best. Many firms have tried—and failed—to enhance their scope, and while their demise is unfortunate, you can learn a great deal from their failures. Keep the following in mind as you strive to avoid common law firm pitfalls:

  1. Look carefully for lawyers who actually match your legal approach and your firm’s culture.

Few things will destroy your firm more quickly than fighting between partners. All lawyers at your firm need to be on the same page from the outset. Be discerning in your recruitment efforts, and only offer positions to those you are certain will fit in.

  1. Focus not only on your recruiting efforts, but also the general scope of your firm.

Both clients and prospective employees are often suspicious of jack-of-all-trade firms that offer a myriad of services. In most cases, your best bet is to focus your efforts on a few specific practice areas or types of clients. Make your area of focus very obvious on your website, social media pages, and in any other marketing efforts.

  1. Realize your worth as a lawyer and as a law firm.

Many solo law firms fail because they are too desperate to snag clients. Don’t lose your integrity by offering major discounts or policy concessions when they’re not warranted. Be willing to give up a bad client or two as you search not for any client, but for the right client.

  1. Don’t play it safe.

Far too many law firms avoid potentially big cases in favor of sticking with tried and tested clients and cases. While there is definitely value in knowing your brand and sticking with it, there is also a place for calculated risks. For example, during the post-recession period in which law firms were failing left and right, the attorneys of BuckleySandler decided to take a big risk and cater to financial clients. Since opening, the firm has nearly quadrupled in size; today, it boasts an impressive team of 150 attorneys.

  1. Think long-term while hiring and promoting employees.

Succession is a big concern that many lawyers fail to think through until it’s too late. If you manage a small law firm and have yet to groom a successor, it’s time to get started. As you make key hiring and promotion decisions, think carefully about how you want your firm to look in ten or twenty years.