Small Law Firms Achieve Success Due to Setting of Specific Goals, "Purposeful Nature"

By Trisha Cerdena | Mar 09, 2017 11:13 AM EST

With the legal industry experiencing constant change, there has been a great need for small law firms to make the necessary adjustments and survive. A new study has found that firms comprised of one to 29 lawyers are strongly familiar with the issues they are facing.

According to a Thomson Reuters survey, winning new clients has been identified to be one of the most common challenges experienced among 300 small law firms. However, only 37 percent of the groups that recognized this challenge actually responded to it. While 62 percent of the participants said that they were not experiencing enough economic damage to bring on change or that their clients were not demanding change, another 23 percent pointed out that they do not have the resources in making the proper changes.

Furthermore, even when plans are developed to bring on the necessary changes, these often decline during the implementation stage. “Even when those plans are blueprinted and put in place, the execution and fulfillment of those plans are very, very spotty,” Vice President Brian Knudsen of the Thomson Reuters Small Law Firms explained. “Many times the implementation of those plans is less than robust and the individual attorneys in those firms end up going back to what they had been doing.”

On the other hand, Above the Law states that small law firms can have a major advantage when dealing with big issues, such as handling administrative tasks and bringing about new business. According to Knudsen, small groups are quick and sharp when it comes to implementing strategies for practice and business. In particular, the Thomson Reuters’ study pointed out that small firms approach circumstances with a “purposeful nature” that enable them to achieve success.

“Successful firms have agreed on a common purpose,” Knudsen said. “Whatever that is, everybody in the firm has agreed upon it and identified with that common strategy, and then they become very purposeful about living that strategy…”

As a result, small law firms become more capable of making their workflow more efficient and investing in technology as a means of differentiating themselves from competitors. In particular, efficiency is maximized by setting specific bottom-line goals. With such focus, the maximum value can be provided to clients. Aside from keeping their current clients satisfied, a purposeful approach to doing business also helps attract new ones, reduce clients’ worries about costs and eases the administrative workload.

“Firms that have a great brand and great reputation, particularly around a given practice area, are going to be the ones that can command premium rates and avoid the downward rate pressure that firms not doing that face,” Knudsen added.

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