There is no denying that we have seen a surge in the number of small law firms throughout Australia in recent years. The allure of going into private practice is strong and is not without its benefits when executed the right way. According to the Law Society of New South Wales, there were 4222 sole practitioners holding a practicing certificate in September 2017. That is over four thousand lawyers who are running their own businesses, some no doubt more successfully than others. One of the biggest differentiating factors that sets the successful law firms apart is the importance of having a defined and available support network. It is this support network that will ensure consistency in providing the highest level of service to your clients.
Legal practitioners, who run small law firms, should consider investing in relationships with people who can provide support across these key areas:
- IT Infrastructure and Management
- Practice Management Software
- Legal and Business Accounting
IT Infrastructure and Management
support is undervalued, and often overlooked, especially in small law firms. The nature of technology is that it is constantly evolving, and it is important to have someone looking out for the next technological change that could give your business an edge. It is also becoming evident that the importance of having systems in place to combat cyber-security threats is high. In recent times we have seen targeted attacks on the legal industry, due to the value of the data that law firms hold and the relative ease with which some of our law firm’s defences have been able to be penetrated. The benefits of having an IT professional actively working to assist you far outweigh the costs of doing nothing. And by having a relationship in place, you will be able to minimise any loss of productivity when things go wrong.
Practice Management Software
has revolutionised the legal industry and continues to allow small law firms to operate more efficiently, and with less support staff, every single day. The ever-evolving nature of software development requires updates and cyclical maintenance to keep up with the latest versions of Windows, Office or macOS. When looking to implement practice management software, the importance of having support cannot be underestimated. You are investing in a single piece of software that is going to be responsible for keeping your business operating smoothly. Can you imagine what would happen if something went wrong and you had no-one to turn to? Even if you only require help once every couple of months, the peace of mind that you will have knowing that a team of talented individuals will be available to help your business when they are needed is invaluable.
Legal and Business Accounting
is incredibly important, and not to be taken lightly. If you operate a Trust account in NSW, then you know how serious your legal obligations are. More legal practitioners are choosing to outsource accounting functions of their business so that they can focus on their legal work. Having an accountant that you know and trust, as well as a legal bookkeeper who can competently manage and operate your office and trust accounts, will give you the freedom to focus on running your business and dedicating your valuable time to complex legal matters. If you are not comfortable managing your own accounts, then delegating this work to a specialist who is going to be able to complete it more efficiently, and thus more cost effectively, will serve you well.
is crucial to any business’s plans for growth and cannot be ignored. Any firm who does not have a digital marketing strategy in place is giving their competitors an unnecessary advantage. Your website has become the ‘front door’ to your law firm, and first impressions go a long way towards winning new business opportunities. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) involves an ongoing commitment to bring traffic back to your site, which takes time and resources to implement. Good content and SEO together will provide answers to your existing clients and will aid in attracting new business.
Expanding your digital reach is important as consumers today search for products online. Successful modern law firms have a digital strategy to promote their legal services. Some law firms employ an internal marketing team, and others utilise a professional network or agency to implement their marketing plan. If you don’t have time to implement and continually review a marketing strategy yourself, then this could be the single most important service that you engage.
A full-service support system makes all the difference.
Modern legal practice management solutions must provide services beyond legal forms and databases. These value-add services help clients to maximise their investment and become a successful law firm.
LEAP support includes:
- The LEAP Partner Network offers Certified Legal Bookkeepers, IT Professionals and Business Partners who are familiar with the legal industry and available to consult.
- The LEAP Community provides access to online resources, FAQs and guides.
- LEAP’s Product Support Team, Helpdesk and Client Success Managers work together to provide clients with the support they need to operate successfully.
- LEAP’s integration partners: Perfect Portal, LawTap and Zaliet help our clients to implement marketing strategies to win new business.
Small law firms can compete in the market by utilising the support network at their fingertips.
About the Author: Jake Frykberg
Over the last three years at LEAP Legal Software, I have had the pleasure of helping many small law firms across Australia to work more productively. My roles at LEAP have focused on technical support, client relationships, and meeting new clients. Currently, I am a member of LEAP’s new business sales team. During my experience at LEAP, I have been rewarded by the opportunity to help small law firms to operate more efficiently.