The Business of a Law Firm is Business: Four Things Every Law Firm Must Do
This week’s Dewey & Leboeuf bankruptcy is more evidence that the law business has changed radically since 2008. Law firms that insist on doing business as usual and continue to raise their rates each year will continue to see declining profits as clients seek out smaller, regional law firms with more competitive fee structures.
To succeed today, law firms, both large and small, need to continue to deliver quality legal services, but they also need to manage their business more efficiently to avoid annual rate increases.
Unfortunately, law school does not teach budding attorneys how to actually run a law firm. While students learn the basic tenants of constitutional law, contracts and other subjects, there are few, if any, courses that teach students how to attract clients or manage business expenses.
Learning the business of law requires learning on the job, hiring the right people to run the business and reading the journals and blogs about law firm management to stay current. The business climate since 2008 is challenging the MBA’s and it is rewriting the textbooks. The post 2008 business climate is even more challenging for law firms. Below are four things every law firm must do that may help the firm succeed in the new legal landscape:
1) Training lawyers to think like MBAs. When it comes to managing a law firm, the problem with lawyers is that they think like lawyers when they should really be thinking like MBAs. To boost the business acumen of their attorneys, many firms are enrolling them in executive education business programs. Several business and law schools across the country, including Harvard University, now offer courses specifically aimed at teaching lawyers to how to apply general management skills to law firms.
2) Devoting time and money to marketing. While lawyers do not like to admit it, attracting and retaining clients involves being a good salesperson.While most attorneys are skilled in….