Setting the Right Strategy for Law Firm Growth

April 18, 2022
5 min
Sasha Berson
Law Firm Growth Strategy

Lawyers often ask me: “What’s the best strategy for growing my law firm?” This comes with the territory when you run a business called Grow Law Firm.
And it’s a good, but a wrong question. A better question is this: “What is the right strategy for growing my law firm?”
The answer really depends on the type of law firm you’re trying to grow, and requires you to do some thinking before I can provide you with a good answer.
What does your dream business look like when it’s done and what’s your exit strategy?
For example, you might tell me you want to create a law firm you can sell for $10 million when you are ready to retire. That’s a dream and an exit strategy all wrapped up in one.
Once I know these, I can help you craft a strategic plan that will allow you to reach your goals.

Best Business Model

Setting Billable Hours to set the right strategy for your law firm

When plotting a course toward a dream, it’s imperative to select the right business model.
It starts with looking at what niches you serve. Your practice areas – and the demand for those types of legal services in your geographical market – will dictate how much you can grow.
Most lawyers fall into their various practice areas not by design but by default. For example, you liked studying intellectual property law in law school. When you graduate, you start working for a law firm that does IP, and you like it enough, so you stick with it.
Well, there’s not a great demand for IP law. Nowhere near as much as, for example, criminal defense, or personal injury, or family law.
How do I know? Google’s data on how many searches take place monthly for various practice areas. There are more than 10X searches for criminal defense than for IP law, for example.
This means if your objective is to quadruple the size of your firm, it’ll be that much harder to get there with IP law.
Your niche will determine whether:

  • You are looking for clients (business law) or prospects are looking for you (consumers)
  • The number of cases your firm will need to handle to reach revenue objectives (bankruptcy clients may pay $1,000-$1,500 whereas federal criminal defense cases may yield over $30,000 on average. Of course, the cost of delivering a service must also be factored in)
  • The number of leads you’ll need to reach revenue objectives

If you want to grow your firm substantially, you have to look at your services and the demand for those services.
Perhaps you need to broaden the services that you offer.
As the CEO of a law firm, you don’t have to stay married to any particular niche. Just because you’ve done it in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue doing it in the future.
You can pick and choose those specialties that best serve your growth ambitions.
It might take time to pivot in a new direction, but it’s definitely something to consider to reach your objectives.
As the CEO, it’s your job to look at those niches that will get you to your goal as quickly and easily as possible. Bring in the right associates and get the right law firm marketing and advertising going to bring in cases.

Billable Hours

Keep in mind that the various niches pay differently for the effort put in. Some forms of law are far more remunerative than others.
You might conclude that you need to get to $400 a billable hour to reach your goal.
How do you do that?
You look at those niches that will get you the most revenue per hour invested.
That’s how you have to think when you’re a CEO. What is the best and highest use of each hour?
This may not come naturally. As an attorney, you’re probably used to thinking about your cases and your interest in a practice area and not necessarily the cost of delivering the service and how it impacts the bottom line.
It’s imperative that you get accustomed to being a CEO, not a lawyer, to build a business of law (hard and highly rewarding) rather than a practice of law (easy, but more of a job than business ownership).

Your Practice Area

law firm practice area

Not only do you have to consider your business model, your niches, and the highest use of each attorney’s time, but you also need to consider what services people are looking for in your geographic area.
Growth will come from getting more – and more valuable – cases.
So, the question becomes: how do you get the most number of valuable clients for each of the practice areas you service?
Now, you’re talking about marketing and advertising.
Your growth will come from all of the aspects we discussed – your business model, your niches, the demand for your services, and the amount of revenue derived from those services – but the common denominator always comes back to marketing and advertising.
A marketing and growth expert, like those at my company, can tell you exactly what type of legal services are in demand in your area – and show you how to attract the people interested in them. In other words, how best to generate more revenue.

This is Not Easy, but What’s the Alternative?

All of this may seem daunting and perhaps outside your comfort area. Perhaps, this is beyond what you can handle.  
This kind of thinking won’t get you where you want to go.
Most successful law firm owners have started from scratch, just like you. And none of it happened overnight for them.
Building a truly successful business takes years. But once you craft the right strategy for growth, the magic will start to happen. Over the course of several quarters, your law firm will start transitioning into a valuable business asset rather than just a job you go to.
But you have to be prepared to make changes. You must be ready to challenge yourself and grow.
This is not easy for most attorneys. You have to build the right team who pursue the right niches and know what to do and how to do it without being told.
You may not want to put in all this work. You may be resistant to change.
But consider the alternative.
And the alternative for most lawyers is simply: mediocrity and its cousin, regret.
Most law firms are not profitable. They’re not valuable. And they simply close down when the principal walks away.
By setting the right strategy, you have a chance to build something lasting that you can sell when you retire. To create something very valuable.
And to reach your dream.

Contact us, if you want Grow Law Firm to help you to develop your own law firm marketing strategy.

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