Put On Your Think Hat When lawyers are busy they often don’t have time to be creative and think. Now is the time to think about and plan for the firm’s future. Conduct a management review, survey your clients, and finally create that Strategic Business Plan.
Formulate Your Strategic Business Plan Successful firms have such plans and they are actively planning and managing their futures. A recent research study conducted by the Legal Marketing Association found that 59% of respondents have a formal written strategic plan, 55% have a formal written marketing plan, 87% have a marketing budget, and 61% have a marketing budget that is specifically tied to a marketing and/or strategic plan. Law firms surveyed ranged in size from 45 to 950 attorneys.
Now Is Not The Time To Skimp On Marketing Resist the temptation to cut marketing budgets. Effective marketing is now more important than ever. Most law firms are still way behind other professional service firms in their marketing investments. While the median law firm spends between 2-4% of revenue on marketing, other professional service firms are spending 10% or more. Get creative. Cut other non-essential firm expenses and increase your marketing investments.
Roll Up Your Sleeves And Use Your Slack Time Wisely Take advantage of slack time to increase your marketing and networking activities. Create seminar materials, write articles, create capability and other collateral materials. Set up a client/prospect database and newsletter template. Draft the client newsletter and mail out to clients.
Use Time To Develop New Practice Specialties This may be a good time to focus on a new specialty. Take additional CLE. Go back to school.
Develop practice area checklists, documents, and procedures.
Require Strategic Business/Marketing Plans From Each Attorney Firm level strategic business/marketing plans have had limited success. Plans should also be formulated at the practice group and the individual attorney level and be integrated with the overall firm plan.
Survey Clients Law firms must know what their clients are thinking. What are their unmet needs, concerns, new opportunities, etc. Now is the time for law firms to finally become “client-focused.”
Reduce Debt Reduce draws, increase capital contributions, and pay down bank debt.
Downsize With Care During the last recession many law firms cut staff to the point they had severe problems staffing client work when the economy rebounded.
Monitor Office Expenses and Accelerate Collection of Receivables Monitor expenses but be careful of cutting costs than are required for effective revenue generation. Do a better job of following up on past due accounts.