Many areas of law are competitive. If you’re just starting out, keeping up with well-established law firms can feel like a big task to take on. However, you do have one particular advantage at this stage, in that you have the ability to build your law firm the right way from day one. Below are a few suggestions for getting started.
1. Keep your area of practice narrow.
It may seem counterintuitive to only take certain kinds of cases, but specialization will set you apart from jack-of-all-trades type law firms. Focusing on one area that you’re passionate about will allow you to become the best at it. You will learn the ins and outs of the law surrounding those matters, which will allow you to eventually take on even the most complex cases with total confidence.
It may be tempting to be a “family office” type of law firm that can help anyone with anything, but your narrow focus will be more of a benefit to the people who need representation in that area. Moreover, prospective clients know that they have one shot to resolve their legal matter as successfully as possible and that it would be smart to choose an attorney who practices only in that area of the law.
2. Think toward success and client service when building your team.
This is an important step to make from day one. Your success depends on the success of your cases and the satisfaction of your clients. When hiring, think about the job positions and personnel you’ll need to deliver the best legal representation possible. Experience is critical, as are qualities such as trustworthiness, enthusiasm, and excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. Take your time with the interview process, so you can work carefully toward building your dream team.
The same advice extends to you law firm’s marketing efforts. You know your firm’s mission, and your brand should reflect it well. Having a strong online presence will not only attract more clients, but it will also attract high quality prospective employees.
3. Build a reputation for delivering consistent, excellent service.
Once you’ve hired the associates and staff you need, consider how you want to train them to deliver signature customer service. What features should be the hallmark of your firm? Is it a certain level of responsiveness? What should the client experience look like from beginning to end, and how does each employee fit into that process? As you teach them the ropes with your client management system and the day-to-day at the firm, it’s also a great time to share expectations for how they will conduct their part of the practice. Discussing these attributes on day one will create consistency moving forward, which is something your clients will remember.
Why is a reputation for consistency important? For one, clients will review you online and make note of how they felt about your team. With online shopping being a primary method people use to select an attorney, those reviews are critical in future prospective clients’ decision-making process. The same thing goes for word-of-mouth; past clients may refer other people to your firm someday, and when they do, they’ll rave about your amazing team.
If another law firm receives a case in your area of practice and needs to refer it out, their recommendation to the client is a direct reflection on them. So, they will choose a firm with a reputation for providing excellent representation and above-and-beyond customer service.
At the end of the day, it’s all about carrying out your firm’s missing through everything you do – choosing your practice areas, hiring staff, and marketing your business. When you’re intentional with every move, you will set yourself on the track to success.