We took a read at Thomson Reuters’ 2020 State of US Small Law Firms Report, to see what it tells us about the future challenges of small law firm practice.
Firms have faced some rather unique challenges in 2020. This has forced many to pivot, adapt and respond to the pandemic with new innovative solutions and strategies.
In the Thomson Reuters 2020 State of US Small Law Firms Report, 400 lawyers from small firms were surveyed about the challenges they faced this year.
We’ve analysed the report for you and identified two relevant and important challenges. We’ve then got the one perfect solution for you. n
Challenge 1 – Win Clients To Survive
Securing new clients is the biggest challenge for lawyers, according to the survey.
Respondents were asked about what the most important factor was in order to have a successful year (despite the pandemic), and securing new business again was a leading factor by far.
The most popular answer was: ‘becoming more efficient and growing existing client relationships.’
This is a challenge not just in law but across many industries. That’s why companies hire full teams to work on business development and manage client relationships.
However not all law firms can do this and lawyers need to take the client relationship management into their own hands.
If you haven’t thought much about your firm’s client acquisition or relationship management strategy, now’s a good time to consider taking action. COVID-19 has accelerated the need for lawyers to contribute more to their firm’s billing and business strategy.
By being proactive, you’ll also alleviate some of the pressure off the firm principals/partners, and demonstrate your value and initiative.
A solution here is to think about what tools are available to lawyers to help with business development. One way is implementing a client relationship management system.
A CRM will help you build and maintain your client relationships, and nurture new ones.
NEXL offers an individual and firm-wide contact management system with advance tools starting from $9 a month.
Challenge 2 – The pile-up of admin work
The administration is a part of any lawyer’s usual workday, however, effectively managing tasks is a challenge for many in small law firms.
In fact, 1 in 5 small firm lawyers says they had trouble with balancing their time with admin tasks.
It seems simple, but legal work cannot be done by anyone but a legal practitioner. So if you haven’t already, it may be worth considering delegating tasks, hiring someone extra to lend a hand, or use a digital tool to manage them better.
You can simply have a conversation with your colleagues – junior or senior – and make sure that everyone is aligned and agrees on allocating budget to a dedicated administrative staff or digital tool.
Bonus Challenge – Getting Paid on Time
Getting your clients to pay on time can sometimes be a real challenge – and this was reflected in the survey results.
Being at a small law firm it has the double-edged sword. While you can get paid more compared to a bigger firm, it also means that you don’t have dedicated billing and collections clerks.
The average US small firm lawyer has to focus on winning new business and doing the legal work. But, this means little if you’re not generating income.
Think about how you can integrate a better payment infrastructure or payment processes to ensure your firm is paid on time by your clients. You can also keep track of payments using a CRM to manage client contacts.
Try this solution to building stronger client relationships and manage tasks better
These problems can be addressed if your firm takes the right steps to optimise your business development process.
The solution is a comprehensive legal-specific CRM and referral tool that tackles these challenges.
At NEXL, you get a firm-wide CRM, list building and referral tracking tool, designed to better manage your strategic relationships and improve firm growth. You also gain access to a network of 5,000+ lawyers and firms in the the community.
You can request a free demo and learn more by visiting here.