Law firm strategy is a future-proof plan that enables firms to prioritize objectives, remain competitive, and optimize financial goals. It allows firms to differentiate themselves from the competition, reflecting both strengths and weaknesses. Law firm strategy helps firms discover their opportunities and threats, uncovering key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress and offer the best chance at success.
Solo or small law firms can build sustainable law practices by focusing on client-centric services, future-oriented technology, profit-oriented business models, and access to justice and inclusion.
As a firm, your law firm strategy should include several concepts:
- Your mission and values are clear and documented.
- You have a business model built around solving client problems in line with their expectations at an appropriate price and pricing options that appeal to those clients and work well for your firm, too.
- You study trends that will affect your firm and clients, and you incorporate what you learn into your strategy.
- You’re working on projects and short-term goals connected to your long-term goals for your firm.
- You use a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your firm’s health and help you predict your future success. Your KPIs are regularly reviewed and updated.
- You conduct a competitive analysis and adjust your strategy to win your market on at least a quarterly basis.
By looking to the future, you can build a successful law firm that stands the test of time. The best way to prepare is to create a strategy that flexes with the ebb and flow of the practice of law. This starts with the right business plan.
How to Develop Your Small Firm Strategic Plan
Your law firm strategic plan acts as your roadmap, helping you reach your goals, keeping you accountable, and acting as the backbone of your law firm strategy moving forward. Plus, every business decision will rest on your plan, alleviating overwhelm or indecision.
- 执行摘要。 本节概述了您的整个计划，包括您的使命陈述、价值观和市场优势。
- 公司概况。 该概述应再次包括您的使命和价值观、您的位置和服务领域、公司结构、所有权和公司历史。
- 市场分析。 注意您的法律利基市场的历史及其未来，包括市场规模与市场增长之间的关系。本节还应包括您的目标受众、完整的竞争分析以及您的目标受众为帮助确定服务定价而必须花费的预计金额。
- 公司的组织和管理。 本节包括有关您和其他拥有贵公司所有权的人的信息。它包括你的背景、经验和你领导能力背后的“原因”。
- 公司服务。 您的服务部分必须包括您计划为客户解决的问题、您提供的解决方案以及您的竞争概况。
- 营销策略。 你的营销策略应该解决三个P：定位、定价和促销。它应该讨论你计划如何定位你的公司，你将为你的服务收取多少费用，以及你计划如何推广你的公司。
- Finances. This section discusses the budgeting and forecasting for your firm, including capital, monthly budgets, cases needed to break even, projected profit, projected loss, and more.
Once complete, your plan will serve as a living and breathing document you and your team will follow when moving forward. Put your plan in writing. Then revisit and update it regularly.
Establish Your Firm’s Mission, Vision, and Values
The actions you take and the choices you make depend on the “why” behind your decision to enter the practice of law and start your firm. Defining your mission, vision, and values will help guide you as you create your law firm strategy.
Your law firm’s mission is the reason your firm exists, the ultimate purpose. It helps define what it is your firm does, how you do it, who you do it for and the value you bring to your clients.
To communicate your mission, create a mission statement: a short sentence describing your firm’s purpose and goal. For example, take a look at Google’s mission statement:
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Keep it simple. If you can’t define what it is you want to do in just a few words, you may not have the clarity you need to move forward just yet. Dig deeper.
Your mission statement defines your firm in the present. Your vision defines where you want your firm to be in the future. By understanding your vision, you’re able to make business decisions based on where you want to be in your business, not where you are. Your vision should inspire and direct your firm’s steps forward.
Communicate your vision by creating a vision statement for your firm. Keep it short and simple to remember, and ensure it covers your firm’s long-term objectives. For example, in contrast to its mission statement, take a look at Google’s vision statement:
“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Although the mission is to make information universally accessible, their long-term objective is to provide access to information in just one click.
There are reasons behind the choices you make and the things you do. Discover the reason you started your firm in the first place within your core values. Your values are the fundamental beliefs of your organization, the foundation you need to perform meaningful and successful work. Some examples of core values include:
Using one word to describe each value is a great place to start. As you learn and grow, you can start creating value statements that describe what each value means for you and your clients.
Place your mission, vision, and values on display where your team and clients can see them, such as on your website or in your office. But don’t consider it done until they are shared to everyone. Constantly refer to them when making decisions and work on practicing them in all of your work and interactions. Eventually, they’ll be shared by everyone. Engage your team members in the process of helping to define the mission, vision and values so that these are reflected in their daily work and their contributions to other strategy.
Define Your Ideal Clients
Not every client is the best client for your firm. As you start defining your specific services, you must consider who you want to serve and how to serve them best. By defining who your target client is, you can center your business plan around serving them to the best of your ability.
Create a Client Persona
To define your ideal client, you must create a client persona. A persona is a deep dive into your client: their basic demographics, fears, pain points, needs, and more. To start, answer these questions about your client:
- 找到您的竞争对手。 通过快速在线搜索您所在执业领域和所在地的律师，开始您的分析。通过创建电子表格跟踪您找到的竞争对手。当你搜索并试图找到大约8-10个竞争对手进行全面分析时，记住同时使用“律师”和“律师”。
- 注意他们的服务。 了解每个竞争对手专门为其客户提供的产品非常重要。将他们提供的服务添加到您的电子表格中，并讨论您的服务比较情况。
- 发现他们的优势和劣势。 列出竞争对手的优势，如多年经验、客户工作等。设身处地为客户着想，列出他们的弱点，并讨论如何利用他们。
- 专注于倾听和交流。 这些“软技能”定义了一个有效的领导者。专注于练习积极的倾听技巧，并经常交流。
- 在所有事情上都要做一个积极的榜样。 练习看到一线希望。这不仅可以帮助你以这种方式领导团队，还可以改善你的压力水平。
- Finding a mentor to learn from. Find someone you trust that has done this before. Ask questions and gain their insight about what you can do to improve your leadership skills.
- Staying solution-minded. Actively search for applicable solutions when problems arise. Your firm will continue to grow in the face of adversity when you and your team remain committed to strategic thinking.
- Delegating. You can’t do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to those who do them best.
Rounding Out Your Team with Unique Strengths in Mind
As your firm grows, you’ll need to build your leadership team to help you guide your firm towards success. Round out your team by defining your weaknesses and filling the gap. When you complete your team in this way, each member is critical to the whole, creating the cohesion you need to move your firm forward.
Set Clear Expectations and Train Often
As you build your team, set clear expectations from the outset. Define the responsibilities for each individual on your leadership team. Encourage team members to take advantage of coaching and training programs to help enhance their leadership skills.
Design for Innovation and the Future of Law Practice
To create a sustainable business, you must plan for the future of law practice. Through the technology at your disposal, it’s possible to create unforgettable experiences for your clients. By designing your firm for innovation, you’ll stay flexible as client needs evolve.
Adopt a Systematic Approach to Innovation with Design Thinking
Design thinking is an ideology aimed at applying long-established design principles to the way we build our businesses. It’s used to intentionally craft your law firm over time to deliver services simply and functionally. Using design thinking, you can approach innovation and problem-solving in a user-centered, responsive, intentional and experimental way, tolerant of failure.
Design thinking allows you to step outside the chains of perfection and create something your clients want. The process takes you from understanding and sympathizing with your client to creating solutions that enhance their experience. By adopting this approach, you’re able to foster a culture of innovation within your firm that creates loyal clients and new leads.
Take Advantage of Law Firm Technology
Beyond continuous innovation within your firm, take advantage of available technology to move your law firm forward and improve client experience immediately. As you strategize, make room for tools such as:
- Cloud-based software such as file storage
- Backup software
- Practice management software
- Accounting and billing tools and software
Using these tools, all areas of your law firm strategy will benefit from streamlined processes, including your marketing, finances, firm structure and more.
Use Your Firm to Improve Access to Justice
Within the United States and across the globe, there’s a continuing crisis: the need for access to justice. Individuals who face legal concerns should have affordable and timely access to the legal assistance they need to receive a fair outcome. Unfortunately, most don’t.
Nearly 70% of all civil cases only have an attorney on one side, usually on the side of the plaintiff.
This is just the beginning of the statistics that show the chasm. The only way to start bridging the gap between legal concern and legal assistance for all is for each firm, both large and small to contribute. There are many ways your firm can contribute such as:
- Donating to organizations focused on access to justice. Organizations such as the Legal Services Corporation and the National Immigration Law Center work to help all individuals receive legal representation.
- 为所有个人提供教育和建议。 诉诸司法的最大问题之一是：许多人根本不知道法律问题是一个问题。利用您的网站和其他渠道，就法律问题和解决方案向公众进行教育。当客户寻求建议时，尽你所能提供最好的建议。
如果您有兴趣向法律行业的领导者学习， 会议 是一个很好的洞察力和网络工具。凭借丰富的知识，很容易找到为公司制定合理战略所需的信息。
Strategize and Build a Healthy Law Firm with Lawyerist
Even the passion you have for the law isn’t enough to create a successful solo or small firm. To create a sustainable firm, you must strategize for both the present and the future. If you’d like help with creating a business strategy, updating an existing law firm strategy, or simply some advice on your next step, look to other lawyers who have come through on the other side. Become a Lawyerist Insider today- you can take the Small Firm Scorecard to help you figure out what to focus on next in your law firm.