It is common for law firms to measure their attorney’s billable hours, but the most successful law firms not only measure much more, they hold themselves and their teams accountable to achieving a well-defined success.
The legal industry has become saturated with former attorneys converted to law firm consultants who want to show you how to grow a seven-figure firm:
“We have cracked the code!”
“Use this tried-and-true method!”
“Download our formula for law firm success!”
“Trust me, I did it and you can to!”
All of this sounds great, but at the end of the day, there realistically is no secret formula for law firm success.
Small businesses in America have been finding success for centuries now. Law firms have just been late to adopt some key business best practices, and as such, have remained behind the times.
Utilize the following business best practice in your law firm and you will find success.
Lawyers & Legal Staff Want & Need To know What Is Expected
If your law firm doesn’t already have organizational goals, create them ASAP! And we don’t mean some revenue number that you have in your head that you maybe wrote down on the back of a napkin one day.
Goals should not be just top-line financial in nature, but should entail things such as total leads or potential clients interested in your firm, total cases to retain, revenue and profitability by practice area, lawyer retention at your firm to cut down on turnover costs, etc.
Once you have defined what your goals are, break those down into individual attorney and legal staff goals. This might mean revenue, billable hours, client retention rate, client satisfaction scores and more.
With Goals Defined, Regular Reporting & Progress Meetings Are Critical
Defining goals is simply not enough. The best of performers will track their own progress and achieve success without great leadership. The average performers, which are most of us, need accountability, feedback and professional development to assist with the achievement of goals.
Set monthly goals in addition to annual ones and check-in on the progress with your lawyers and legal staff on this same cadence.
When goals aren’t being hit, there will be plenty of direct feedback time to course correct going into the next month of performance. Perhaps the lawyer isn’t all that organized and needs better structure. It might be that the firm has too much administrative processes that don’t allow for maximized billing and fill their time with non-billable activities. Maybe the technology of the firm isn’t advanced and processing time is lengthy to get the legal work completed. Or perhaps the lawyer needs a legal assistant to help with the cases because they have too much legal work and simply cannot get to all of it.
Whatever the reason, removing roadblocks early on in the year will allow your lawyers and legal staff to achieve goals more effectively before wasting too much time before changing their circumstances.
Recognizing Success Drives Engagement & Motivation
Don’t forget to recognize and reward lawyers and legal staff when they are hitting their goals. Everyone wins, including the firm and its owners, when individuals hit their goals.
Sometimes a simple email recognition, firm meeting shout out or personal call from a partner recognizing goal hitting can make all the difference in an employee’s continual achievement of their goals.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of legal work and forget to celebrate success. When the firm gets a big win, throw a party or give everyone a special gift. Celebrating as a team is also critical to on-going engagement.
What To Do When Goal Setting & Accountability Isn’t Natural
Partnering with a consultant like Legal Back Office can actually prove to cost far less than you gain by having them partner with your law firm on strategic planning and goal setting.
A consultant that has in-depth industry experience but is not a lawyer can add a lot of value to your firm through on-going coaching and an outside perspective.
LBO has taken on interim and fractional executive roles to help hold teams accountable when you simply don’t have the time or when this skill doesn’t come naturally to you.
If you know you need to a strategic and/or operational business partner, but simply don’t know where to start, contact LBO today to schedule a consult and explore how we can assist you.
Be sure to join us for our bi-monthly Law Firm Leadership Collaboration Circles every other Tuesday at 10 a.m. CST. Register here to attend future ZOOM meetings: https://share.hsforms.com/1QDbiUIiQRruATLWBOOvlwA2r472