Small Law, Big Problems: 5 Common Mistakes Small Law Firms Make (and How to Avoid Them)

If you own or work in a small law firm, you are probably accustomed to the messy, lacking organization vibe that it can sometimes send. The problem is, clients will also pick up the scent of a not so successful company.

Besides having to face constant change in laws, legal market, you must also face the downsides of a small business – fewer resources, less manpower, employees asking for high salaries and the list can go on.

Having so many problems to face and so little or limited time, you are usually in the situation of having to choose only some of them for fixing. You are a law practitioner, so no one expects you to know so much about running a business and dealing with its incidental problems, so here are five mistakes most small law firms make and tips on how to avoid them.


Don’t Sell Yourself Short

One of the most common problem attorneys who work for small firms have is that they always end up working for free. That can happen because the client decides to pay less in the end or because the attorneys themselves feel they need to get more experience in a certain area and therefore, they accept taking jobs that are non-paying.

Unfortunately, this kind of practice has two downsides: firstly, it educates the client that it’s ok not to pay for the fair work of a person and secondly, your business isn’t growing at all. A solution to this hurdle is to set some legal fees from the very beginning and not back down an inch on them along the way.

However, your clients mustn’t feel like they are not getting their money’s worth, so make sure that they are aware of all the steps you are taking regarding their legal matter. Also, do one thing that you certainly are good at: create a written client agreement.


Hiring Quickly and Firing the Same Way

You’re in the business of practicing law, and things usually get rough. But if you also happen to run the firm, then you can’t escape burdens like hiring people. Due to the lack of time, most small firms choose to hire rapidly, not taking their time to test and verify their choice. But, this type of approach will cost you time and money.

Next time you have to do new hirings, take the time and plan a strong strategy. You should pay close attention to the interviews and make sure that the people hired will match the style and vision of your firm.


It’s About Your Clients, Not About You

Being still a small firm, you probably don’t understand the benefits of digital marketing yet. So one mistake you risk making is leading the focus on your firm, and less on your targeted audience.

That usually happens when you talk a lot about your company’s years of experience, the client portfolio and so on. Undoubtedly, some people will be attracted by those things and choose your firm because of that; not many, though. Most clients want to see a portfolio called “what this law firm can do for me.” So, get in the saddle and start connecting with potential customers, asking them about their needs and showing them how you are what they need.


Get Your Security and Hardware Straight

As mentioned above, no one expects you to be an expert in anything else than law. However, this is not an excuse to ignore these important aspects that intertwine strongly with your legal work. You don’t necessarily need to hire an IT consultant to deal with all those software and computer issues that seem to appear every other day. You can manage this problem by using software that is cloud-based and which will take care of all those complicated problems.


Time To Change The Pricing Strategy

Gone are the times when clients accepted payment by the hour without even cringing a muscle. Nowadays clients are too well informed not to know that a better option is paying proportionally to the results achieved.

Also, employees will be more inclined to do a sloppy job if they are paid the same amount of money for hard working or a more relaxed approach. Essentially you need to start adapting your fee’s structure.

Have you made any of the above mistakes? How did you handle them?

Author Bio: Hugh Howerton, injury attorney Houston TX.

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