How to Solve Root Issues in Your Law Firm
7 minutes to read
Owning and operating a law firm isn’t for the faint of heart. You’re busy trying cases, hiring new team members, managing the team you have, sourcing new business, optimizing processes, planning new initiatives, and much more. When you’re busy running your firm and putting out day-to-day fires, you could be missing out on chances to identify deeply-rooted issues within your practice — and that could quickly lead to trouble.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
At Crisp, our main goal is to help committed firm owners like you eliminate potential threats, and that’s exactly what we’re going to show you how to do in this guide. Prepare to finally solve your greatest root issues once and for all.
In this guide, we’ll go over:
- How to Identify a Root Issue in Your Law Firm
- How to Solve a Root Issue in Your Law Firm
- How to Prevent Root Issues From Returning to Your Law Firm
How to Identify a Root Issue in Your Law Firm
Every organization has experienced their fair share of challenges — yes, even Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and more. But in most cases, market leaders like these are able to get ahead of any potential threats and solve them quickly and efficiently. This is exactly how you should run your own law firm.
The first step is clearly identifying those internal threats. Has your law firm ever experienced any of the following issues?
- Team misalignment
- High turnover
- Financial difficulties
- Lack of new clients
- Decreased productivity
When your firm experiences problems like these, it’s important to get to the root issue of where they’re coming from before you can solve them.
The first step in this process is getting crystal-clear on what happened.
- When did it occur?
- Who was involved?
- What were the immediate consequences?
- Who or what was affected by it?
It may require gathering information from team members and other outside sources. Once you know where the problem hails from, you can move onto the next step in the process.
Is there a pattern?
After you’ve identified the source of the problem, it’s time to examine the trends over time. Analyze everything at play, including your policies and procedures. It could be that there was a missing link that somehow got overlooked along the way.
Identifying a potential pattern will help you gain clarity over the big picture of your problem. Don’t forget to comb through every detail to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
What factors contributed to the pattern?
Organizational structure refers to the formal framework that defines the roles, responsibilities, and relationships within an organization. This can include the reporting structure, division of labor, policies and procedures, and communication channels. Organizational systems refer to the processes, procedures, and routines that guide how work is done within the organization.
Bearing this in mind, it’s important that you take the time to identify areas of operational contributions to the issue you’re seeking to solve. These are opportunities to improve and devise strategies to shift the structure and systems in a more positive and productive direction.
What assumptions or belief system is perpetuating the issue?
Mindset can be defined as the set of beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions that shape how we view the world, ourselves, and others. These beliefs and attitudes can either move forward or hold back our ability to solve problems and achieve our goals.
In short, when you change your team’s mindset around an issue, you change the way you approach it. This is often the source of the root issue in your law firm.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to identify a root issue in your law firm, it’s time to go about solving those issues.
How to Solve a Root Issue in Your Law Firm
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
Identifying an issue within your law firm is just half the battle. Solving it is another beast entirely.
As our friend Albert Einstein made clear, you must change your thinking if you want to solve the problems that have been plaguing your law firm. You cannot get somewhere new if you aren’t thinking differently than you were originally thinking.
Let’s say the biggest problem your law firm is currently facing is misaligned accountability. In other words, no one is taking ownership for the results they should be getting, therefore the team as a whole is falling behind.
The first question you need to ask yourself is:
What possible solutions exist for your law firm’s root issue?
What can you do to bring alignment back to your team?
Before putting any plans into action, you should have a solid understanding of what possible solutions exist. Brainstorm a variety of different ideas, weigh the potential costs and benefits of each, and identify which has the best chance of success in your law firm’s unique situation.
Once you’ve assessed potential solutions, it’s time to move onto the next stage:
What people are needed to solve your law firm’s root issue?
- Who is needed to carry out the solution?
- Do you need to hire additional personnel?
- Should someone on your team be shifted to a new accountability?
- Who owns the project?
Once you identify who you need to go to in order to make your solutions possible, that’s when you can start making moves and changes within your team.
As soon as you know who’s involved, you can move onto the next step:
What processes need to be implemented to solve your law firm’s root issue?
Your next considerations are:
- How do you implement the solution you identified?
- How long will it take?
- What information or data is missing?
Make a plan. Do your research. Set guidelines and parameters for everyone involved so that you’re all on the same page. Hint: If you and your team aren’t on the same page, nothing is going to change.
Think you know what processes you have to go through? Then you can move onto the final phase:
What resources and investments are needed to solve your law firm’s root issue?
- What resources are needed to execute?
- What permanent changes will be made to prevent this from happening in the future?
Don’t be afraid to invest in new resources, tools, and technology when they will help solve root issues in your law firm. Ultimately, they are not costs to be minimized, but investments to be maximized. If a new investment speeds up your processes, saves time where you need it most, or improves your team’s effectiveness — it’s worth it.
Implement structural improvements to keep your law firm’s root issues from persisting in the future, whether it’s hosting a bi-annual review of accountabilities, KPIs, or anything else that would affect this moving forward.
Now that you know how to solve a root issue, it’s time to ensure that your solutions stick in the long term.
How to Prevent Root Issues From Returning to Your Law Firm
Long-term solutions require two things: fixing root issues and any damage they have caused in your law firm, as well as proactive steps to ensure they never happen again.
Here’s how to do it:
Establish a culture of open and transparent communication within your firm. Encourage team members to share concerns, report conflicts of interest, or seek guidance when needed. Regularly communicate updates, changes in policies or procedures, and encourage feedback to foster a collaborative and informed environment.
Quality Control Measures
Establish quality control measures — such as peer reviews, case file audits, and reusable checklists — to ensure work quality and compliance with the firm’s standards. Regularly review and monitor your firm’s performance to identify any systemic issues or areas that require improvement.
Effective Risk Management
Implement a robust risk management program that identifies and mitigates potential risks and vulnerabilities in your law firm. This may involve conducting risk assessments, implementing appropriate safeguards, establishing comprehensive client intake and conflict-checking processes, and maintaining adequate professional liability insurance.
Regular Performance Evaluations
Conduct regular performance evaluations for all team members to assess their competence, adherence to policies, and professionalism. Identify areas for improvement, provide constructive feedback, and offer necessary support or training to address any deficiencies.
Continuing Education and Training
Provide ongoing education and training opportunities for your team to stay updated on innovative developments, best practices, and effective teamwork. Regular training sessions can help prevent issues arising from professional negligence, outdated practices, or misunderstandings.
There will inevitably be issues in your law firm as it grows. View these challenges not as obstacles, but as opportunities for growth.
Think you need help identifying — and solving — your law firm’s root issues? We would love to partner with you. Contact us today and let’s get you moving in the right direction.
A brighter tomorrow awaits. All you have to do is take action.