When it comes to taking the business to a new level, some law firms seem to be struggling too much. Law firm business development is not an uphill task. It only needs a commitment by the concerned parties to a business development strategy that works. This article will, therefore, highlight the best practices as far as law firm business development is concerned.
Importance of Branding in Law Firm Business Development
A brand actually possesses some form of power. It occupies the consciousness of the minds of the constituents of the firm. Branding is essential for business development. The value it adds is immense as it is what differentiates your law firm from others.
Well, many business development experts agree that it is a cumbersome experience to differentiate between law firms especially from the side of the customers. The reason is that many law firms offer the same services. But all in all, how can a law firm stand distinct from other law firms? The secret is viewing things from the perspective of the client. For example, clients may not necessarily be conversant with legal jargon thus, when addressing them, it might be well if you toned down on the legal jargon.
Viewing things from the perspective of the customers indeed builds your brand. If you promise to have soft skills, then, by all means, have them. The delivery of legal services to the client has to match the promise that the law firm makes. If you deliver as promised, then your brand is enhanced, while, if you do not deliver, you tarnish your brand.
Market Positioning for Law Firm Business Development
Legal firms have for some time been left behind in aspects of marketing. For law firms to develop, there is a need for them to shift from the backward and traditional approaches to marketing. The law firms have to create a niche for themselves. This involves re-enforcing their position in the market. Market positioning involves informing clients and also prospective clients that there is a new way of doing things which is more advanced and progressive.
Embrace Thought Leadership
This is by far the most powerful tool that a law firm can leverage on for business development. It serves to benefit the law firm in the following ways:
- It builds awareness of the brand
- Focuses on service
- Facilitates law firm business development
Improving the Bottom Line
For law firm business development to occur, strategic decisions have to be made in order to improve the firm’s bottom line. This applies to all businesses. One of the most workable ways of improving the bottom line is cost-cutting. Thus, internal assessments should be made to reveal activities that have high expenditures. In addition, cost-cutting initiatives should also be initiated. For example, activities that do not relate to legal affairs can be outsourced. Such activities could include:
- Information Technology, and others
In this way, the law firm can be better placed to improve its bottom line which is a prerequisite for business development.
Importance of Networking in Law Firm Business Development
Networking is an essential aspect of law firm business development. Most law practitioners, however, have failed greatly while implementing a viable and strong networking strategy for their law firms. This is normally due to the enormous commitment required in time for networking. With proper planning though, networking can bring great value to law firm business development. To be effective in networking:
- Have a list of organizations and events that relate to your core business and niche area. Join them and commit to attending the events.
- Develop a database of contacts. These contacts should be of virtually everyone who would add value to the law firm. These may include clients, prospects, acquaintances and key industry players. A simple way that a law firm can do this is by transferring all contact information into an excel database or spreadsheet. You can add reminders and notes to a specific contact in the spreadsheet. It makes tracking quite easy in case you need to follow up on a specific contact. This helps to enhance the networking process.
- Embrace the Virtual World to Network. Networking does not have to be rigid in today’s modern day world. Connect with clients, prospects, and persons of interest via the internet. You can reach more people this way. As you embark on online interactions, always strive to end them with a face to face meeting.
Make Continued Investments
A good agenda for law firm business development is expansion and growth. What better way to do this than through continued investments! Many law practices have a common Achilles heel; weak organizational structures. This could be a basis for additional investment in the structure to enhance growth. The following are some ways to get you started:
- Hiring additional employees. This could either be on a part-time or full-time basis.
- Delegating duties. This will foster a sense of responsibility amongst employees, which is a stimulus for growth.
- Provide enabling resources to your workforce. This could either be in the form of user-friendly software, humanistic procedures and enticing technology. This will have a positive effect on their productivity.
Understanding Industry Knowledge
An essential component of law firm business development is acquiring and understanding the industry knowledge. Sources of this knowledge could be through the press, websites, conferences and reading research reports that track trends and developments in the industry. This knowledge gives a firm insight into the unexploited potential of the law firm and also identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the industry.
Imperatives for Law Firm Owners in Law Firm Business Development
Business development is a process that requires commitment and support, especially from top management. This is because they have the influence and resources to carry it out effectively.
At first, they should elevate the importance of business development skills amongst individual lawyers and attorneys. When the skill sets and mindsets of all people in an organization are focused on business development, then it becomes the norm.
Secondly, top management should lead the business development narrative and gather support from all members of the law firm. This involves getting everyone in the firm on the same page through programs, plans, systems and processes that support business development.
In conclusion, the above-discussed aspects can be applied contextually to foster business development in law firms.