The legal profession is one of the pillars of contemporary society, and virtually every community has a local attorney office to turn to in case of emergency. However, not all law practices are successful, and some offices languish in between cases, wondering when their next one will come. Running a successful law practice is more than a matter of having a fancy sign announcing the partners’ degrees.
There are a few key factors that must come into play to ensure the success of a law office, and it’s easy to get blindsided by other details. The following are four basic elements that come into play when setting up a successful law practice.
1. Making Quality a Priority
A relentless passion for excellence and competence when handling clients is an absolute must and should never be minimized. Regardless of the particular area of law that is being practiced, quality and being able to stick to the deliverables is of utmost importance and will set one law office apart from the pack. Excellent law offices understand that in order to produce quality work, they will need to be perfect when it comes to the technical specifics of the file onhand, as well as customer service.
Lawyers have a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges, and not being the most personable bunch. When their facility with legal knowledge is paired with a more sensitive approach and acknowledging their clients’ needs, the law firms become incredibly successful. These are measures of competence that can help the practice meet its goal of earning a solid reputation in the local community.
2. Strong Leadership
Unsuccessful leadership is usually the death knell of most law offices. Effective leadership involves dedicating the time to articulate the firm’s goals and objectives according to the specific branch of law they are practicing. This is true and implemented in several states, like Georgia Whether it is medical malpractice lawsuits, real estate issues, or so on, the senior partner at the firm must outline certain benchmarks of success, and get the team to embrace these goals and objectives.
A personal injury lawyer in Douglasville would have different priorities than an estate planning attorney in the same town, but the common thread remains a practice that encourages good communication skills and consensus-building. Leaders of a law firm who are unable to prioritize the interests of their practice and service their clients don’t end up doing well.
A good law firm needs to engender trust amongst its employees, clients, as well as members of the local community. It does this by encouraging and demanding responsibility for the members’ acts, both positive and negative. If, on the other hand, there is a lack of accountability in the law firm, it can breed apathy, laziness, anger, and just result in general sloppiness amongst people in the office. Accountability needs to be taken seriously in the office, and strict policies, standards, and a general code of ethics must be followed.
However, if a sense of accountability isn’t fairly set and equitable across the board amongst the employees, lawyers, and associates, there is no way that the practice will be successful in the long run. This doesn’t only apply to how partners would deal with internal issues, but also the ways in which successful firms can write partnership agreements and get them established, and set a fair criteria for all cases in terms of written policies and procedures.
4. Law Firm Culture
There’s a lot of talk these days of the corporate “culture” and finding ways to make it better for both its staff and prospective clients. This can seem like an amorphous idea, but essentially the law firm’s culture references its mission statement, customs, the personalities involved, everyone’s individual skillset, and the relationships between people.
These all impact the firm’s work ethic and how information is shared amongst the practice’s denizens.
If, however, the law firm’s practice is clubby or cliquey, it can negatively impact the work. Law firms that don’t have a healthy company culture tend to have a high turnover, which doesn’t engender trust in the local community. It signals that the law firm is perhaps beholden to any number of internal conflicts and generally messy business, which doesn’t bode well for the success of the practice.
Setting up a law practice that is trusted takes a great deal of work and focus. It does not happen overnight. And, any internal foibles are immediately evident to the general public, the firm’s partners, etc. To avoid this, the firm needs to be clear on its mission statement, goals, and commit itself to provide a high-quality service to its clients. These are the ingredients to success, and the formula hasn’t changed at all over time.