Did you know that there are almost 500,000 law firms in the United States? That means if you own a law firm, you need some type of strategy to stand out. One of those strategies has to be about how to grow your law practice.
In this guide, you’ll learn many different ways to grow your law practice from setting goals that work for you to learning the types of social media strategies you should implement in your practice. You’ll learn about employee retention and how that plays into your law firm’s growth as well as the impact of networking.
Ready to grow your law practice? Get reading to learn about all of the ways to grow!
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
The first thing you need to do when it comes to growing your law practice is to set goals. And you cannot just write down random things, you need them to be S.M.A.R.T. goals.
This stands for:
A specific goal helps you get to the heart of what you are aiming for. It answers the questions of who is responsible for that specific goal and has specifics for what needs to be accomplished.
Goals need to be quantifiable. This means that you cannot say that you want to increase the number of clients.
How many more clients do you want? This is measurable.
An important aspect of making goals is that they need to be attainable. Setting a goal that cannot actually be reached will only create more setbacks.
All goals should be relevant to your mission as a company. As a law firm, your goals should all have to either do with your company, employees, or clients.
This part of the goal-making process answers the question of when. When do you want to increase your number of clients? When do you want that new organizational system put in place?
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. Goals
To get you on the right path for planning for goal setting, seeing a few examples may help. Here are a few examples that meet the criteria.
- Increase the number of our clients to 20 by the end of March 2023.
- Begin implementing social media marketing for your law firm through infographics and posts by the end of the fiscal year
These are two examples that meet all of the criteria and will set a company up for success to achieve them.
2. Analyze the Target Market
You cannot expect to grow your law firm without knowing who your target market is in the first place. You need a clear picture of who you are advertising and marketing to. The best way to do this is through a market analysis where you put all of the research into one place so that you can use it in the future.
To analyze the target market, you need to look at where you are currently. Who are your clients? What is your location?
The demographics that you are currently targeting are probably what you will continue to target. The same goes for the location of your law firm.
However, if you are looking to expand your market reach, you may need to analyze other sectors or practices in your target area (for instance, if you are an accident attorney law firm, you may want to look into moving over into the personal injury sector). Or, you could analyze locations that are near you that are not part of your current target market.
Once you know who you are targeting, you should look at your competitors to know how you can stand apart and make yourself unique so that clients choose to come to you.
3. Create a Budget
~Before you can do anything as a business, you need to have a budget that you can play around with. Without one, you are at risk of failing since you are not sure about how much money you have, where the money is allocated, and if you are bringing in more revenue than you are spending.
This budget creation will help to keep you out of debt as a company and increase your likelihood of success as a firm.
To create a budget, you need to first know how much money you are bringing in on a regular basis. Most of the time, you should calculate this on a monthly basis so you can keep track of everything else in the same time frame.
Once you know the revenue of the law firm, you can look at your current spending. Break down the spending into different categories (and no, don’t skip on the snacks you buy for the office – this is part of the spending no matter how you slice it).
Once you have your revenue and current spending categories, you can then create it to be what you think it should be realistically. This way, you know what money can be allocated toward company snacks versus marketing, etc.
4. Hire the Right Way for Vacant Positions
While it may be money upfront when you hire for vacant positions, you are setting your law firm up for larger growth potential when you make hires. However, you want to make sure you are making the right hires.
What does that mean?
That means that if you want your business to grow, you need to hire people who are able to take on roles that may not necessarily be under their job description. For example, if you are hiring a secretary that has all the required skills to be successful at that position but doesn’t know anything about budgeting, finance, or management, you may be putting yourself in a tough position when you choose to further expand.
Hiring people with the potential to grow is essential.
You don’t want to continually hire people when you need new positions, but instead want to be able to utilize the people that you already have at the company. This requires less training time and less money to be spent.
That then means you have more time and energy to commit to growing and scaling as a firm.
5. Stay Organized
Staying organized (in more ways than one) is a crucial way to make sure that you are not wasting your time and energy on systems and organization and can focus on the growth of the law firm. Here are a few things to focus on as a company.
One of the ways to stay organized is to create systems. This could be a law firm calendar, a system for finding new clients, a marketing strategy, or something else.
But the most important thing is that you have systems that work for the law firm and will continue to work as growth happens.
Implementing the right technology will make your life much easier when it comes to growing your law firm. Instead of dealing with papers, files, and flyers, you instead can manage most of that on the computer.
You won’t lose files or spend an hour looking through your desk to find a letter from a client. More importantly, you’ll use technology that makes your clients’ lives easier as well so that they don’t get frustrated.
Utilizing technology can help you to stay organized, especially if the idea of organization is not in your nature.
Know Your Employee Organization
Knowing the management structure of your company and vital components of the law firm from day one will help you to grow over time. Even if you bring on 4 more employees or even 40 more employees, you’ll know the organization and the structure to stay true to it. While it remains the same, the company can still grow.
For instance, you should have a sector for your legal practices as well as your nonlegal practices. Lawyers and attorneys fall under the legal sector. Admin, IT, Billing, and HR all fall under nonlegal services.
6. Retain Your Clients
One of the best ways to ensure the growth of your law firm is that you retain your clients in the first place. While you want new clients, you also want to continue working with old clients. This ensures that you are gaining more, not just creating a turnover.
To do this, you need to care for them and make sure they know you are there to help them. When they know that, they’ll come back. They will also probably tell others about your law firm when someone needs a referral. Keeping this word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best ways to gain new clients while keeping your old ones.
You can also make your clients happy by not only caring for them but by making their lives easier. That’s when the use of technology and streamlined services comes in. Reducing their workload will enhance their experience with you as a law firm.
You should also be sure to offer payment plans for those who cannot pay for everything upfront
In addition, be sure that you have a clean office space for when clients come to discuss certain matters. The more comfortable they feel in the space, the more clients will continue to come back.
7. Retain Your Employees
Employee retention is not only a good sign for your law firm that you are doing everything right, but it also means that your employees enjoy working there.
And the happier employees are, the more productive they are. And the more productive they are, the better the firm will do and the more it will grow! This creates a snowball effect that you want to keep going.
Here are a few ideas for how to work on employee retention.
Build Employee Engagement
If you have employees that are not engaged in what your firm is all about, they are not adding to the practice. They are most likely taking away from it and making others feel discouraged, which creates a huge loss in productivity in the firm.
So what can you do to build employee engagement? You should:
- Give employees a voice to help in the decision-making process
- Create new opportunities for employees within the firm
- Consider adding incentives for productivity or fun challenges in the workplace to engage workers
Employees love recognition. When employees don’t feel like they are appreciated, they often become discouraged and eventually will leave a company.
However, the opposite occurs when employees feel recognized. You can do this through appreciation emails, weekly shout-outs, law firm winner of the month, or something else similar.
Create Learning Opportunities
People love learning. And when you invest in employee learning, they also feel happier and more welcome in the space. This ultimately boosts employee retention.
To allow for more creativity and engagement in the workplace, set up clear times for professional development opportunities. Consider reimbursing for continuing education through school or getting certified for something in the law sector.
Allowing employees to continue to grow will push them to not only be better overall people but better employees as well.
8. Invest in Digital Marketing Strategies
One of the best things you can do for your law firm or any business for that matter, is to invest in internet marketing strategies. This doesn’t just mean investing money into the strategy. It also means investing your time and energy because it will pay off if you are consistent.
One of the main marketing strategies when it comes to growing your law firm is through social media. Over 4 billion users are on social media platforms, which means if you are not, you’re missing out on billions of users. Literally.
And these users are spread across multiple different platforms. That means while a lot of those people are on multiple, some are only on one or two of the platforms.
What does that mean for you? It means that you need to also spread yourself across a couple of platforms. While you do not need to be on all of them since there are too many for that, you need to pick between two and four platforms to invest your time in.
The best social media platforms that you want to be on when it comes to your law firm growth are Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These will reach more of your target audience and will also give you the potential for exponential growth in no time.
For instance, Instagram reels and TikTok make reaching people who do not follow you easier than ever. And if you are consistent with posting, you will continue to reach more and more people and, hopefully, get more clients.
Social Media Strategies
So what strategies do you need to implement for law practice growth?
The biggest strategy is consistency. The more consistent you are, the more that people will see you, and the more reach you will have.
Think about it. If you post once per month, you will be seen for about a day after posting. And then if you wait until the next month, you won’t be seen again until then (and in between those two posts, everyone will forget about you and your services at the law firm).
Showing up consistently will ensure that you are seen as much as you can be.
You also need a plan for your content. What kind of images do you want to post? What messages do you want to get across?
Planning in bulk at the beginning of each month may help you achieve your social media goals while also balancing your time with other goals.
Utilizing social media trends is also vital to staying up to speed on social media and making sure you are getting the maximum reach you can. That means following the current trend of short-form videos. These short videos are a great way to get a quick message across to your followers and potential clients.
In addition to social media as part of your digital marketing campaigns, you also need a web design that works for you.
For starters, this web design needs to be professional since law firms should be professional. That means you should choose fonts and colors that work for your law firm. This should be consistent with your brand identity, your logo, and how you advertise your firm on other platforms.
Along with professionalism, you want users who visit your site to feel safe. Since no one wants to hire someone who doesn’t make them feel safe as their lawyer, you need to display a message and a feeling over the website to demonstrate who you are as a firm.
Going along with the professional look of the site, you should also make sure you have easy-to-navigate pages and menus. Optimizing the speed of the website will also increase the user experience and give you a competitive edge.
You also need to make sure that the web design is optimized for mobile as well. Since so many people search on their phones nowadays, it is crucial that your website and design work on mobile. If it doesn’t, people will tend to navigate away, and thus, you’ll lose them as potential clients.
Here are a few tips to optimize for mobile:
- Use a top-down approach
- Use responsive design techniques
- Don’t use too many images as it will slow down the operating speeds
- If you use images, use image compression apps
By optimizing for mobile, you will make the user experience much smoother.
You may have heard that blogging is dead…But that could not be further from the truth. Blogging is an evergreen way to ensure that you have people consistently coming to your website through Google searches and other search engines.
For instance, if someone searches “law practice near me,” your page has a better chance of showing up if you have multiple things on your website that Google will recognize – like a blog.
So what sort of things can you put on a law firm blog to make your law firm and website stand out? Here are a few blog ideas:
- Changes in laws or laws for the general area of the law firm
- Trending high-profile cases in the news recaps
- Trial process guides
- F.A.Q.s can be longer articles as full guides
- Blogs about why to hire a lawyer
- Benefits of lawyers
- Everything you should know about going to trial
- Various cases that lawyers can handle
And there are so many more. Getting started with general topics like “What Is a Law Firm?” or “How to Find a Good Lawyer” will get your foot in the door and are still helpful to people!
Search Engine Optimization
So you have a website, you have a blog, and you are running social media accounts, but nothing is happening. That may be because you are not focusing on search engine optimization.
With search engine optimization or SEO, you can help search engines like Google find your site easier. For instance, there are various ways to improve your SEO, but one of them is by using keywords.
When someone searches like “best lawyer near me” and Google finds that same phrase on your site on multiple pages on your site, it will be more likely to rank higher on that search than it would otherwise.
Other ways to optimize your SEO and website are through:
- Using internal links to other pages on your site
- Using external links to credible sources that are relevant to your content
- Keeping your content to your niche (not writing about topics that do not have to do with law)
- Optimizing photo size and delaying loading of images until they are scrolled to
- Using keywords in headers, titles, and the meta descriptions
- Putting keywords in the introduction, conclusion, and sprinkled several times throughout the article
- Looking for secondary keywords to include as well
By using these tips to optimize your site for SEO, more people will find your site through search engines as it begins to rank higher and higher.
9. Utilize Networking
How many times when you are looking for a new doctor, lawyer, or restaurant, do you ask your friends and family for recommendations? Probably often, and that’s because you trust what they have to say to you about those places.
The same goes for a law firm.
If you want to grow your overall network as part of your law firm growth strategy, you have to get the word out into the community. You need to ensure that Client A will tell 20 people and Client B will tell 30 more people about your law firm.
Not only that, but you can network with community programs, other industries, and even schools. When you expand your network in this way, you are giving them the ability to bring up your law firm in discussions with members of the programs as well as parents of the kids in school casually. This creates genuine connections that are more likely to convert into someone becoming a client than a marketing tactic will.
The key to this is to stay consistent with your engagement in the community and your networking efforts. To this, you should make sure you attend industry conferences yearly, partner with nonprofits as a community outreach method, research publicity events to attend, and always volunteer in the community.
Doing these things and attending these events will get the word out about your law firm while at the same time showing who you are as a firm, what you stand for, and why your firm is the best.
10. Learn to Delegate
This goes for most businesses that want to grow, however, in a law firm this is especially important.
If you are the owner of the law firm, you cannot be in charge of everything. You have to learn to delegate tasks that other people can do so you can focus on the bigger things that you need to be doing as an owner.
In reality, this is why you hire staff in the first place – so that they can help you run your practice. And the more you learn to delegate, the more your practice is likely to grow.
So how do you know what tasks to delegate? Ask yourself:
- Can someone else adequately complete this task?
- Is there something more important on my task list than this that someone else couldn’t do for me?
- How much would it cost my business if I did this task?
11. Outsource Certain Tasks
While you have a staff for a reason, sometimes your staff are too busy or there is something out of the range of what your staff is able to do. When that happens, it is time to outsource.
Outsourcing means you are using another company or person to help you complete something within your company. A perfect example of what to outsource would be your marketing or social media strategy. While you may not want to hire a full-time position to do that for you, you can use a freelancer or a company to manage your social media and marketing strategies for you.
The same goes for web design. Realistically, as an owner of a law firm, do you have time to create and design a website, optimize it for SEO, and make sure it actually works? Probably not.
That’s when outsourcing is a great use of your resources and time.
12. Ask for Client Testimonials
Much like the importance of networking in person and through word-of-mouth marketing, client testimonials are just as important for your business to thrive.
Once you have a few clients, after the trials and cases are done, you can ask them to write a testimonial or review of your firm. Based on this review, you can post it on your website itself as well as on the Google reviews tab. This will help attract new clients when they look for lawyers or attorneys in the area.
Think about it. If you came across a law firm while trying to find a lawyer for your needs, would you choose the law firm that has a bunch of 5-star reviews or the one that has 0 reviews?
Most likely, you’ll be choosing the law firm that has the reviews.
That’s because reviews mean that you have built trust and rapport with your previous clients. Asking for those client testimonials will show your potential clients that they can also trust you and believe in the expertise that you do have.
13. Make Time For Reflection
Reflection is the key to growth. Without reflection, you do not know what you are doing right and what you are not doing right.
How often you reflect is up to you, but it is crucial to make reflection a part of your law firm’s growth strategy. Consider adding the reflection to meeting agendas monthly or reflecting semi-annually on your goals. From there, you can decide what you need to change and what you could continue doing that is working.
While you should do this as an owner of the law firm, you should also have each individual employee reflect as well so that you can take feedback to make the law firm better as a whole. This should be a semi-annual thing that you do with your employees to ensure their happiness, and take into account any feedback that they give you.
14. Create a Merch Store
If you really want to make your law firm stand out, you can create a merch store online. Through this eCommerce store, you’ll be able to sell products that other law firms probably don’t. Consider selling the following as part of a marketing plan:
- Pens and paper pads with your law firm name on them or logo on them
- Water bottles with your logo
- Stickers (of your law firm name or logo)
- Sweatshirts with the law firm’s name on them
This is something you should ask previous clients if they would want. If there is a resounding ‘yes’ you should get started with the store to increase your law firm’s awareness as well as build a brand identity!
15. Add Your Firm to a Directory
As great as Google and other search engines are, there are other ways to help people find your firm when they are looking for a lawyer. One of those ways is to add your law firm to a directory. Having your law firm’s name in more than one place just means that you have more of a chance to be found to grow your firm and your client base.
When people search these directories, they can find your firm and contact you. Here are a few directories that you can consider adding your firn mane to:
Here are some of the top directories for lawyers:
It is always a best practice to ask new clients how they heard about you and what platform they found you on. This way you know what is working for your law firm’s growth and what is not! You can then narrow down your focus.
16. Email Marketing
Email marketing is another great way to grow your practice. When you take time to grow your email list, this is a great way to have a list that you own. That means that you are in complete control of what you do with this list of people (unless they unsubscribe).
For email marketing, you should always send weekly or monthly updates. You can choose which one to go with, but stay consistent with your emails. Additionally, these emails should offer advice that people wouldn’t get unless on your list.
For instance, you could discuss best practices for working with a lawyer, best practices when going to court or being put on trial, and anything else you feel would be helpful for clients and people on your email list.
You should also email out promotions and deals to your existing clients and anyone on your email list! That means when Black Friday rolls around, you can offer a 10% discount (or something like that) to clients for the next time they need services (and limit that to a specific timeframe).
You can also show your clients that you care around the holidays or on their birthday by sending a personalized email to each person! This use of email marketing will make your clients feel special and seen and keep them coming back.
17. Invest in Ads
Everything we have discussed so far in this guide is organic growth. That means you are behind every move making sure you are doing all you can to grow your company.
However, there are also ways to pay for growth. One of those ways is through ads. This could be an ad on a billboard, in the local paper, or on social media.
Either way, you are paying for it so it is an investment.
18. Host an Event
Everyone loves a good event, especially if it is for a good cause. As a law firm, you have the ability to host an event that is for a good cause.
For instance, you could host an event to raise money for those that are unable to pay for services or an event for children in the community.
These events will build awareness about your law firm so that the next time someone needs services, they’ll think of you. But instead of just using an ad to get the word out about who you are, you are making a lasting impression on the community. Because of that, you won’t slip the minds of the attendees.
Here are a few ideas for events that you could host:
- A cocktail hour at the local museum
- A food and drink festival sponsored by local restaurants and pubs
- A meet and greet at the law firm itself
- Movie in the park
- A local concert in the park
There are many more ideas, but at these events, you could do the following to raise money for a good cause:
- Create a raffle
- Have prizes
- Sponsor local businesses that give parts of their profits from selling goods and services to the cause of your choice
- Take donations
By hosting an event, you will be able to grow your law practice!
Grow Your Law Practice With These Strategies
It may seem impossible to grow your law practice, but if you are reading this, you’ve most likely already created the practice and got it up and running already. That means you know how to grow your law practice!
Now, you just have to take what you have already done and make it better. To do that, you need to take the steps outlined above and begin implementing them one at a time.
While it may seem daunting that there are so many tasks to do to grow your firm, if you tackle just one at a time, it won’t seem as difficult. You can even break them down into goals to reach at specific times.
At Kelly Webmasters and Marketers, we help you with your internet marketing strategy so that you can reach new clients that wouldn’t otherwise know that your law firm exists!
If you are ready to take the next steps needed to grow your law firm and take it to the next level, contact us today to get started! We even offer free consultations to discuss your highest leverage needs, whether helping your company with SEO or taking a deep dive into your web design.
We can’t wait to help you grow!