Except for not-for-profit businesses, the general goal of any business is to create an entity where the business owner can provide goods and services to make a living. In a basic sense, this means that the business needs to bring in more money that is going out in expenses. It means that the business needs to have customers who frequent the business. It also means that systems need to be put in play to ensure that the business is run smoothly.
A law firm is a business like any other business. This means that law firms need to have systems in play to make sure the law firm owners and employees can make a living. it means that the law firm must have clientele who frequent the business. There also needs to be systems in play to ensure the law firm is run smoothly.
For some reason, many lawyers and law firms are resistant to the idea of running their law firm like a business. Yes, in a professional field like the legal industry, lawyers ultimately have a duty to provide quality legal services to their clients. This is a fundamental duty and comes first. However, this can be done while creating a sustaining and successful business at the same time where the owners and employees can make a living.
What are you doing to make your law firm run smoothly and efficiently? What are you doing to make your law firm run more like a business? Some questions you need to ask yourself are the following:
- Have you created a budget for your law firm that measures the financial metrics that need to be met for the business owners and employees to make a living?
- What are the vision and long-term goals for your law firm?
- Do you have policies and procedures manual for the operation of your law firm?
- Have you incorporated your law firm in the form of a legal entity?
- Do you have the insurance you need to protect your law firm?
- What type of administrative staff do you have (in addition to the legal staff) to ensure the smooth operation of the firm?
- Do you have an operating agreement or by-laws?
- Do you have payroll, tax, and accounting procedures in place?
- Do you have a marketing plan to ensure new clientele is consistently attracted?
- Do you make decisions for your law firm for the overall betterment of the business versus worrying needlessly about other outside variables?
At the end of the day, while lawyers are often resistant to this concept of understanding that they need to be a good business person in addition to being a quality lawyer, a law firm is a business. If you want your law firm to succeed, and you want to succeed as a lawyer, you need to develop your business skills.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.