5 ways regional law firms can be more profitable
Pick up any legal publication and all you read is what matters for the firms in the “city”, but what about all of the thousands of legal practices around Australia outside the capitals? How can they embrace new ways to do things and be more profitable?
LawLancer will help firms everywhere tap into a national pool of researchers, but that's next year! You're wondering, what can we do today to be more profitable?
Use legal services platforms or #newlaw for overflow work
Many of the new legal services platforms are set up to assist your practice when things get busy. Have a new big file come in but no one to do the work? Use one of the new platforms and find someone perfect for this project. That could mean the difference between a profitable ongoing client relationship, and one that never returns. What about a client who asks you to do a particular advice that you have no experience with? You can find someone who does and still manage the client relationship. At the end of the day, the client wants an outcome and to maintain the relationship with you. These new platforms can give you flexibility in managing that.
Use new technology to deliver better service and cut costs
There are so many great new tools out there that can help you decrease your costs as a practice while actually improving your service (and the lives of everyone at work). Everything from practice management to document drafting to better ways of doing research.
For instance, you could use tools like Automio or Legal Gateway. These are helpful for document drafting to save you time on the repetitive work. This frees you up to do something more profitable and enjoy work more!
There are a lot of new players coming into the space, and we're always happy to give you our 2 cents if you want to ask! For now though, check out www.automio.io / http://www.plxs.com.au/legal-gateway / www.lawpath.com.au
Take advantage of new marketing channels on social media to make yourself known.
Business development changed forever once social media started to dominate people's attention. The beauty of Facebook, Instagram and other platforms is the power to build an audience.
You no longer need to have a big advertising budget to reach your clients. If you invest in great social and content creation, you can be far more targeted while growing your brand. What most people don't realise is that these platforms give you the tools to be very targeted in who sees your content. This makes it more likely they will be the right person for your service. For example, Facebook ads let you target specific geographic areas and people. This allows you to focus your messaging on the right potential client. That's much better than old-school advertising in the local rag.
Social media has, in many ways, democratised information. Think about options like podcasting, blog writing or running client webinars. Social media gives you the platform to find an audience that "old media" forced you to pay for through the nose.
Tap into the growing network of “gig” workers both in Australia and overseas.
Geography has been the biggest issue for a lot of firms outside of the cities when they are looking to hire people. The beauty of the gig economy is that there is a growing number of lawyers who are already working remotely and open to doing it for you. While this market is in its nascent stage, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to realise it will create opportunities for regional firms.
New "gig" platforms, "uber" for lawyers and other on-demand services will transform the way your firm services clients. Right now, these people are easiest found through your contacts or simply advertising. Change is coming though so keep on top of the new platforms as they develop.
Build relationships with other firms for more referral work.
Want something you can implement straight away? Building a strong referral network within the profession can be seriously profitable. The ability to collaborate can open up referral work as well as assistance when you need it.
It's never been easier to develop and maintain referral relationships with other firms around Australia than it is today. For instance, perhaps you are a construction expert. Wouldn't it make sense to have relationships with employment or project financing lawyers? Or perhaps you are great IP commercialisation lawyer. Wouldn't it make sense to have more relationships with IP disputes specialists? There's no doubt that the more connections you have, the more likely you will be able to nurture more referral work.
The rapid change that is occurring in legal service delivery will be empowering and profitable for regional law firms. If anything, you will be able to compete far more on price while being able to deliver the same service.