An effective solo law practice is the sum of several different parts. Not only does it depend on the amount of profit you bring in, but it is also dependent on your marketing techniques, client interactions, and time tracking habits. To earnestly promote the success of your law firm, it’s vital that you take an objective look at each individual area of your practice in order to identify areas for improvement – and then make the necessary changes. Read on for the top five ways to ensure that your solo law firm is running effectively.
- Revamp your website
What’s the use of paying for and maintaining a website that is not attracting new clients or providing value to existing ones? That defeats the whole purpose. Take look at your website from a client’s perspective, and ask yourself some questions:
- Is it visually attractive?
- Is the information current?
- Is it easy for visitors to navigate?
- Does it persuade visitors to secure your legal services?
- Does it provide any evidence of your legal knowledge or skill as an attorney?
If your answer to any of these questions is “no” then it is time to make some serious changes to your website. Start by looking at your content. Gone are the days when a legal website only needed location and practice areas to be effective. Consumer expectations have increased dramatically, and they expect to receive some value from your site.
If you do not already have one, consider a blog… and then keep it regularly updated. You can write about significant court decisions in your practice areas or brag on your recent accomplishments. Just make sure your content is informative and current.
Next, look at the visual appeal of your website. If you haven’t changed things around in the last 10 years, you probably need to get on that. Make sure to include vivid pictures. Videos are even better. Consider your color scheme. If you’re not sure what changes to make, solicit help from a website professional or take some cues from other law firms with amazing websites.
- Spend your time wisely
Time is a precious commodity in life, but especially within a law firm where it has a specific dollar value. When working within your practice, pay particular attention to what you spend your time on and who is spending time on what. Most of your hours should be spent on billable tasks that bring profit into the firm.
Delegate non-billable responsibilities to support staff. Attorneys who can bill at hundreds of dollars per hour should not be handling mail runs or making copies. Not that these tasks aren’t important to running the office, but they are not conducive to increased profitability. As the sole billing attorney in your practice, you should be spending the majority of your time handling billable items.
It’s also important to keep track of your time. How will you know whether you are spending time wisely if you do not adequately track your time? You can best achieve this goal by utilizing an effective time tracking platform system like TimeSolv. With this software, you and your administrative assistant can quickly and easily track your tasks by accessing the convenient on-screen timer or opening a mobile application. Review your tracking records periodically to identify any potential for improved efficiency.
- Value your clients
Never forget that your clients are the core of your firm’s continuous success. Treat them as such by providing stellar service and legal expertise at all times. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Flat fee billing – Clients today appreciate firms that offer fixed billing options. Not only does it provide them with a clear understanding of what your legal services will cost, but it also prevents the type of backend financial surprises that can lead to complaints and strained attorney-client relationships.
- Honesty – Clients appreciate honest relationships with their attorneys, even if the information you offer is not what they want to hear. Unfortunately, the legal profession has a reputation steeped in duplicity. Fight against that undeserved stereotype by providing your clients with the legal representation they can trust at all times.
- Keep them informed – Clients want to know what’s going on with their cases. In fact, lack of communication is one of the most common complaints made against law firms. Keep your clients informed about the status of their matters and what’s being done. With TimeSolv’s client portal, your clients can independently log in online to see updates on their cases. They can also view their invoices and pay their bills right from the portal.
- Get paid for your services
An effective solo law firm is adequately compensated for the services it provides. You work hard to ensure that your clients receive proper representation, so why wouldn’t you get paid for your efforts. Promote timely payment from your clients by sending timely bills.
Make invoicing a regular part of your monthly firm tasks and make them effective by including detailed descriptions of completed tasks. Don’t use generic explanations like “phone call” or “meeting.” Let your clients know who you were talking to and what the subject-matter of the meeting entailed.
It’s also important to ensure that your billing statements are accurate. Nothing threatens an attorney-client relationship more quickly than an invoice that over-charges or bills for work not completed. TimeSolv’s legal billing software makes accurate billing a breeze by allowing you to easily import tracked time into customizable invoices.
- Enjoy yourself
A happy lawyer is an effective lawyer. Never forget to care for yourself and take time away from your practice to do other things that you enjoy. Whether it’s physical activity, spending time with family, traveling, or all three – try to invest in your own well-being, so that the benefits show up in your legal practice.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.