Is your firm struggling to increase revenue per lawyer?
Revenue per lawyer can be an indicator of a firm’s overall financial well-being. By developing an internal culture of business development, your firm can begin to generate more revenue. Nevertheless, not all employees find it easy to build client loyalty, manage expectations, and generate client referrals.
Client satisfaction alone does not translate into future business.
Lawyers must be proactive in at least two areas: (1) explaining legal services of the firm; and (2) providing value where other legal services have failed.
First, clients, in order to make referrals, need to know the breadth of services available at a law firm.
For example, a firm may have provided a client with labor and employment legal services to a technology start-up. This start-up may have a business partner in need of intellectual property legal aid, but not realize the same firm also offers this service.
Prep your lawyers on how to identify and maximize cross-selling opportunities. This may require a script prepared in advance for your lawyers to read to clients about the range of your legal aid. It should also include background research into the business needs of your clients and their industry.
Second, clients, in order to remain loyal, need to know the breadth of customization of services available at a law firm. So, for example, your firm may be willing to offer alternative fee arrangements, such as a fee deferral system.
Fee deferral systems or contingency arrangements are especially important today amid the growth of technology start-ups.
“Think about it. You’re basically saying you’re going to stand behind your client and you’re going to hope that they can succeed and if they don’t succeed, you’re not going to get paid,” explained lawyer Debbie Weinstein of her client-focused business strategy at LaBarge Weinstein LLP to Law Times.
“That builds a lot of trust, a lot of integrity, and it also builds a common bond. The client says, ‘You know what, these professionals actually think I can make it and they’re not looking to get paid before anyone else.’ That builds long-standing, great relationships, and we have multiple entrepreneurs who come back to us every time they start a new business.”
Not all firms are willing to take such risks. But, if your firm is among the few, it may carve out a niche of competitive advantage that is desperately needed to get ahead in the legal services industry.
Finally, don’t let your clients out-tech your firm. Learn how to utilize technology to support and accelerate key client development activities.
For some specific ideas and resources, listen to C4CM’s audio guide “Increasing Revenue Per Lawyer: Creating a Healthy Culture of Business Development.”
Time to target better business practices, in addition to better legal ones. Innovation is the first step in increasing revenue per lawyer.