I’ve had my own small firm for about 15 years. I’ve learned the hard way about what works and what doesn’t. In conversations with other attorneys over the years, I’ve found they have similar conclusions about how to successfully run solo or small firms.
Here are my top five tips for solo or small firm success:
1. Hire Professionals to Do What You Can’t or Don’t Want to Do
Hate bookkeeping? Don’t have enough time to manage your webpage? Don’t spend your evenings and weekends on tasks that are necessary yet peripheral to your law practice. Pay someone else to do them. It might take you some time to find the right person, but when you do, hold on to them.
2. Save Money by Subleasing
Do you have the type of law business where it matters to clients that you have great office space? Look for a sublease in a prestigious building with other attorneys. An even better solution is to find other attorneys who have practices that are complementary to your business.
3. Have Someone as Your Sounding Board
The law business is tough if you try to go it alone. Find someone to talk to about your business. This person doesn’t have to be an attorney to understand your problems. Having a supportive, rational person who listens will help you find answers.
4. Respond to Clients Within 24 Hours
No one likes to wait for a return phone call. If you can’t return all your calls before you leave for the day, ensure you get to them the next morning. This is an easy way to build client loyalty.
5. Send Out Monthly Statements
Keep your clients informed. Send out monthly statements to both hourly and contingency clients to let them know you’ve been working on their case. Regular statements reassure clients that their case is moving ahead.
Maybe you already do some of these suggestions. If you don’t, consider whether some of my tips might help you be more successful in running your solo or small firm.
Mary Catherine Wiederhold represents residential tenants at the Law Offices of Mary Catherine Wiederhold. She is a member of BASF’s Solo and Small Firm Section’s Communication Subcommittee. She regularly writes about tenant issues and running a solo or small firm.