How to Conduct a Law Firm Leadership Health Check
7–9 minutes to read
Recent industry statistics estimate that there are over 430,000 law firms in the US as of 2022. The legal market currently records cumulative revenues of nearly $127.1 billion and is expected to grow to over $200 billion by 2023.
It’s no secret that the legal marketplace is extremely saturated and competitive, with new firms opening up every year. To set yourself apart from the competition and foster internal growth, law firms need to focus on strong leadership.
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- Elements of Healthy Law Firm Leadership
- Qualities of Strong Leaders
- Ways to Align Your Law Firm Team
- How to Level Up Your Leadership Skills at the Game Changers Summit
Don’t be afraid to check in on your law firm’s leadership health. Every law firm owner has to at some point. We’ll show you how to do so in the clearest, most effective way possible.
Elements of Healthy Law Firm Leadership
A Competent Leadership Team
Highly competent leaders do more to perform at a higher level. Competence can determine whether an organization respects and follows its leaders, and if the leaders in your law firm don’t have your team’s respect, you’ve already lost as a leader.
The following are some of the most important characteristics to cultivate in your leadership team:
- Accomplish more than expected: Highly competent leaders go the extra mile. For the most reliable leaders, good can never be enough. Encourage all your leaders to do more than expected and be better than yesterday.
- Inspire others: Apart from performing exceptionally well at a high level, competent leaders seek to inspire and motivate their team. They leverage relational skills to take their firms to a new level of excellence and influence.
- Keep improving: Highly competent leaders always look for ways to learn, grow and improve. They do this through training, reading, and attending industry workshops and seminars.
- Follow through with excellence: Getting quality results is never an accident. It comes through skillful execution and sincere effort to follow through. Every member of your law firm’s leadership team should follow through and follow up when entrusting your people’s accountabilities to execute.
Clear Long-Term Vision for the Firm
Great leaders are visionary in their planning and strategies. For a law firm, a visionary leadership style inspires teams to boldly aim for and achieve new heights.
Visionary leaders often find potential and opportunity in a time of change and see what is not there yet. They embrace innovation and experimentation and pioneer new possibilities in the law firm. These leaders are team uniters who bring their entire firm together and guide them to take one giant leap forward.
Most importantly, however, you can’t be a visionary leader without a vision to guide you and your law firm. Get clear on what you’re working toward, why it matters, and who it will impact.
A vision is an aspirational statement made by an organization that articulates what it would like to achieve. Think about it as a guide for your law firm; if you have some goal in particular that you want to reach, then it needs to be written down for you and your entire organization to align with.
When you take the time to craft a compelling vision for your law firm, you’re ensuring that it will motivate, align, and inspire people toward that shared vision, both internally and externally.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement
Your law firm can’t grow, improve, and develop without a strong leadership team committed to doing the same. The people in power at your firm should be driven to expand their own skills and capabilities as well as their teams, because they know that an organization can only grow as long as those steering the ship are growing as well.
A successful firm isn’t afraid to invest in anything their team needs to excel. Whether training, programs, software, classes, or anything else that will help the team succeed together, true leaders won’t hesitate to make it happen.
If you’ve noticed a lack of fresh insights, expanding knowledge, or motivation around your firm, it could be that your team is in need of improving their mental nutrition. Just as our bodies need fuel to keep performing at our physical peak, our minds need the same — and as the leader, it’s up to you to recognize when that needs to happen and address it before stagnation becomes a problem.
Leaders That Create and Empower Other Leaders
True power only comes when we seek to empower others. Everyone in your law firm wants to feel like they are contributing to the overall vision, and you have to elevate key players to lead and contribute in their respective areas of expertise.
A recent Gallup study found that employee engagement improved from 9% to 73% when organizations focused on individual strengths. One of the most effective ways to empower your team is to acknowledge their strengths, appreciate them for their efforts, and entrust them more responsibility so they can rise to the challenge.
Empowering other leaders helps build confidence in their capacity to execute their mission and goals. It fosters trust and loyalty in a firm and creates a secondary leadership level to delegate duties when you are not present for crucial decisions. This ensures your law firm continues running smoothly.
Qualities of Strong Leaders
Strong leaders value integrity
Good law firm leaders are committed to strong ethical and moral principles. They demonstrate a consistent and uncompromising commitment to honesty and truthfulness even when no one is watching.
Leadership experts classify integrity as the most necessary skill for effective leadership. This is because integrity is a trait that others value in their own lives. When potential clients see firm leaders as people of integrity, they will view the entire law firm through the same lens.
Strong leaders possess good communication skills
Excellent communication skills are integral to the success of law firm leadership. Leaders engage with many people inside and outside the law firm and should have the skills to communicate with teams at various levels.
Effective leaders effectively express ideas and crucial information to the people they lead. They also learn to listen to foster mutual trust and respect through their communication style.
Strong leaders practice sound judgment
Sound judgment is a critical skill in every law firm leader. Judgment is the ability to think through problems and challenges logically while weighing the facts and consequences before you take any decisive action. Decisions that law firm leaders make can impact countless people and must be well thought out.
As a leader, you will face many unknown facts, and you should strive to guide your law firm through difficult situations by evaluating multiple perspectives and making informed decisions for the entire firm.
Strong leaders value collaboration
One of the most valuable traits of a successful leader is the willingness to collaborate. Successful law firm leaders seek collaboration and contributions from other team members.
For your law firm to excel in the highly competitive legal landscape, you must be willing to combine and utilize the potential of all your team members. Without excellent collaborative skills, it becomes challenging to identify the potential of others, meaning you miss crucial skills that could better your law firm.
Strong leaders foster creativity and innovation
Creativity is an essential skill for law firm leaders to demonstrate. A recent IBM survey of leaders reveals creativity is now the most sought-after trait in leaders.
Creative leaders are more receptive to innovation and will seek to implement unique methods to get things done. They go out of their way to encourage innovative thought amongst firm members and provide creative insights into tasks and problems.
Creative leaders are also good at inspiring those around them, which ultimately leads to a more productive team.
Strong leaders are client-centered
Successful law firms are client-centered organizations. Your leadership needs to focus on meeting the ever-changing needs of your clients. This requires a continuous interrogation of who your law firm clients are and what they actually expect.
When you get a clear grasp of client wants and needs, it becomes easy to provide your team with proper guidance to meet those expectations consistently.
Ways to Align Your Law Firm Team
The most successful leaders have aligned teams backing them. The following are some of the tips to run an aligned law firm:
- Lead by example: Team members and clients alike look to leaders for guidance. To align your team, be a leader on the front lines who guides your organization through challenges and adversities rather than becoming a bystander on the sidelines. It is your job to keep the ship steady and on course.
- Shape your culture: Core values are integral to the success of your law firm. They help attract and retain the right team while aligning how each member operates in your law firm. Core values eventually create a robust culture for your law firm. Team members who are great culture fits tend to stay longer in your law firm.
- Share your vision: Setting the right vision can be a great way to align your team toward a common direction. Develop a clear and compelling vision that will attract A-players to your firm. When your team aligns with the law firm’s vision, they will go out of their way to ensure success.
- Instill accountability: Accountability is crucial for fostering a successful growth-oriented law firm. Undoubtedly, the best strategy fails when there is a lack of accountability. Accountability is not only a powerful alignment tool, but it is also a great empowerment tool.
How to Level Up Your Leadership Skills at the Game Changers Summit
The Game Changers Summit will help you learn more from experts in the legal industry and beyond about how to level up your leadership skills and so much more.
On the field of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium this November 2-3, the Summit will offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to network with other successful law firm owners who have built successful businesses by strengthening their firm leadership — and if you’re not there, you’ll miss out on valuable information.
Don’t let this powerfully valuable opportunity pass you by! If you still haven’t secured your tickets to the Game Changers Summit 2022, there’s only a little bit of time left to do so before this event is sold out for good.
Lock in your spot today before it’s too late!