10 Mistakes Law Firm Owners Are Making Right Now
10–12 minutes to read
We can’t predict the future with certainty, but we can tell you that something’s coming — and if you aren’t prepared for it, you’re already dead in the water.
The legal industry is changing in ways that many law firm owners never thought possible. If you’re stuck in your ways and don’t see a need to adapt, consider yourself a goner.
In this article, we’re highlighting 10 of the most common (and most dangerous) mistakes that law firm owners all over the country are making each day — and if you’re one of them, why you need to put a stop to them immediately.
- You aren’t leading yourself
- You’ve outgrown your vision
- You aren’t hiring the right people
- You aren’t building a lasting legacy
- You aren’t preparing your law firm for the future
- You’re resistant to trying new strategies and tactics
- You’re not maximizing your time
- You aren’t investing enough in marketing
- You aren’t measuring your team’s contributions
- You aren’t being relentless
1. You aren’t leading yourself
If you can’t lead yourself, how can you expect to lead others? The key to being great at anything is practice, discipline, and relentless execution — and you must constantly work on yourself to succeed as a leader.
Leading yourself is a matter of making the right choices that are going to benefit you and your law firm in the long run. It’s important to know when to rest and recharge because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Leading yourself could also be the difference between going out and partying with friends or choosing to stay home and get work done. It could also mean opting to read a book or listen to a podcast over watching mindless television in order to better yourself.
If you aren’t willing to put in the work to constantly invest in yourself, best serve your clients, and make the overall progress you need to in order to keep your law firm running successfully, then you don’t stand a chance against other law firm owners who are willing to do those things.
It’s important to remember to take a step back and look at the big picture. Stop feeling like you’re shorting your personal life when focused on work, and like you’re neglecting your law firm when spending time with your family. Learn how to integrate your work life and your personal life so that you don’t have to choose between the two anymore.
In short, you are the leader of your law firm. Learn to lead yourself so you can successfully lead others.
2. You’ve outgrown your vision
Your law firm is a reflection of you. Just as you are constantly growing and evolving, your law firm should be too.
When you’ve outgrown your original goals for your firm, change them to reflect what you’re working toward today.
Think back to when you first wanted to establish your own firm. What were you trying to create? What was your overall vision for the future?
Now think about it again. What’s changed? What’s different about you today? Who are you helping? What kind of future do you want to create?
The beauty of owning your own business is that you get to decide where it’s going. If you don’t have a clear vision that your entire team knows about and is collectively working toward, then you won’t get anywhere meaningful
3. You aren’t hiring the right people
You can’t do everything on your own. The team that backs you up is a direct reflection of how strong your law firm is. Can you truly say that your team is the best of the best?
If you had to think about that question, the answer isn’t good.
If you can’t take a look around your office and tell yourself that you would enthusiastically rehire each and every one of your team members, then you need to reassess what you’re even doing.
The biggest mistake that most law firm owners make is not prioritizing their people — attracting, investing in, and retaining them.
The first thing those law firm owners need to realize is that hiring is marketing. You must be selling a career to a potential team member, so don’t expect A-players to land in your applicant pile if you’re only doing the bare minimum. Develop a strategic hiring process for your law firm that empowers you to only bring on the best — not just the best available.
You’ll only be able to attract top talent to your firm if it’s an attractive place to work. People want to work in a place where they feel valued. They want to work somewhere with a meaningful mission, where they can collaborate with like-minded and capable team members who are all there for one another. They want to work somewhere where they align with the organization’s vision and contribute to making it happen.
Put in the work. Find your dream team. Do everything you can to serve them and make your firm a better place to be.
4. You aren’t building a lasting legacy
One day in the future, you will have to step down from your role as firm owner. That day might come in a year, 30 years, or tomorrow — but when it does come, your firm needs to be ready to run without you.
Will your firm outlast you?
It’s time to start thinking about succession planning. Crisp Coach is where you’re going to learn how.
Crisp Coach is a closed-door community of the highest-performing law firms, and that means yours.
Apply to join this highly sought-after growth program today.
5. You aren’t preparing your law firm for the future
Remember how we said big changes were coming? We weren’t kidding.
Rule 5.4 — “Legal services must be provided by a law firm that is owned, managed, and financed exclusively by lawyers.”
Non-lawyer firm ownership is coming to the United States. In a number of markets, it’s already here. What does this mean for your and your firm?
Countries that have removed regulations on non-lawyer firm ownership and outside partnerships have experienced an infusion of capital from various investors that is changing the legal landscape. Private equity firms are also showing interest in providing the capital necessary to create the kind of innovation the legal industry needs.
Big players and big checks will be looking for the standout firms and true game changers to bring along into the next generation of legal service providers. Are you one of them?
The only logical next step is to start running your law firm like the business it is and becoming a leader in the legal industry — there is no other option.
Your law firm depends on it.
6. You’re resistant to trying new strategies
Times are changing whether you’d like to admit it or not. What once worked is now outdated, so it’s time to get with the times.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. There is no in-between.
One way to live up to today’s standards? Utilize the latest in technology and trends, starting with emerging platforms like TikTok. If you don’t think you can build your brand by using TikTok to your advantage, think again.
The legal industry — along with society at large — is constantly evolving, so you’ve got to be open to trying new things to stay relevant. Be open to implementing new strategies, rethinking old models that no longer work, outsourcing and automation to streamline your practice, and treating your law firm as a brand to be built rather than a commodity to be sold.
If there’s something new you’ve been on the fence about trying, now is the time. Stay ahead of the pack and do what you can to stand out.
7. You’re not maximizing your time
Many leaders feel they need an extra hour or 12 in their workdays. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done.
The real issue is many law firm owners are simply not using their time effectively to maximize their impact.
There are distractions everywhere you look: a friend sent you a funny cat video, or you got pulled into another meeting, or you simply zoned out for 20 minutes. No matter how it happens, it’s evident that time is being wasted.
It’s time to take control of your day — or your day will control you.
Don’t know where to begin? We’ve got you covered.
If and where possible, it’s important to use automation and delegation to help you get more done at a faster rate. There are automated versions of many of the day-to-day tasks that you might still be doing by hand, such as sending emails, creating visual content, and even managing your accounting books.
Not only that, but many leaders make the grave error of holding onto accountabilities that are not the highest and best uses of their time. Great leaders create great leaders. Delegating tasks and responsibilities that you are not strong at to team members who are strong at them is a great way to free yourself up — and to empower your best people to step up and grow in their careers.
When you can learn how to organize your life and figure out where you’re able to save time, you can start spending more time where it really matters: on your business.
8. You aren’t investing enough in marketing
Marketing is not to be feared. Marketing is not to be ignored. Marketing is an investment to be maximized, not a cost to be minimized.
Marketing is necessary to get your brand out there and recognized, so if you aren’t being relentless in your efforts, then you won’t get anywhere with it.
If you’re experiencing a decline in incoming cases or attracting low-value cases, missing out on high-quality clients, and ready to improve your law firm’s branding, you probably aren’t investing enough in your firm’s marketing efforts.
Your ideal clients can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist.
Your dream team can’t apply to work for you if they don’t know you exist.
You’ve got to invest in marketing.
Find out where your ideal audience is spending most of their time and strategically market your brand on those channels. Put in the time and effort to research where your marketing dollars will make the most sense instead of putting your brand on blast for no one to see.
Gone are the days when a potential client sees your ad once on a billboard, or a Facebook post, or even on a park bench and immediately gives you a call. These days, you’ve got to be relentless in your marketing efforts. Even if they don’t see you on YouTube, make sure they can’t miss you on Instagram, or LinkedIn, or Twitter, or wherever else your ideal client base spends most of their time.
Take this time to regroup and re-launch and figure out how you can become the #1 law firm in your industry. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time.
9. You aren’t measuring your team’s contributions
If you want your law firm to make a major impact on the people you help, you can’t do it alone. Your team has to back you up and help you reach your goals. If they aren’t contributing to your organization’s mission, then it could be because no one (including you) knows what they’re each accountable for.
How do you solve this problem?
If you want to know how your team is contributing to your firm’s success, where they’re falling short, how to keep them focused, and whether or not your firm is on the right track, it’s time to implement key performance Indicators, or KPIs.
KPIs are strategic data used to measure success within an organization. This indicates progress (or lack thereof) toward an intended result. These will help you measure progress, focus attention where it matters most, and improve overall team performance.
If your team is working toward one collective vision, every single person should contribute to that goal. KPIs ensure that you know who is doing what, when they’re doing it, and how it’s helping you be successful.
10. You aren’t being relentless
You’re struggling to attract great people to your firm.
Your firm’s caseload has been steadily declining.
Nothing is working and you’re all out of answers.
If any of this sounds like you, it’s time to become relentless in everything you do.
One ad, one email, one social post, one article will not get you the results you need. When it comes to getting your messaging noticed, building relationships of trust with your ideal clients, and attracting more of the high-value cases your law firm needs to grow, it’s going to take much more than that.
How much will it take? As much as it takes to get the results you want.
Upgrade your marketing efforts. Educate yourself and your team members to be ready for what’s coming next. Clarify what makes your firm unique and showcase it to the world. Become the legal industry’s ultra-competitor. If you aren’t there yet, you’ve got to keep going until you do.
The legal landscape is changing — and fast. If you aren’t getting ahead of those changes, then you’re automatically getting left behind.
Luckily for you, we’ve created a law firm owner oasis for those looking to get ahead of their competition and stay there. Crisp Coach is the ONLY program where law firm owners can network with the largest group of like-minded firm owners on the planet, get insights and insider info on how to stay ahead, and become the #1 law firm in their market.
Apply to join today.