Face it--if you're running a law firm, you're also running a business, meaning that you're prone to making mistakes just like business owners in every other industry.
The only real differences are the ethical constraints under which you operate and the tendency of small firm and solo practitioners to focus too much on the law and not enough on the business.
For this reason, lawyers tend to make the following big mistakes--all practices that are generally frowned upon by the business community.
1. Financing a client's case.
You are not a bank, therefore you should not provide free loans.
In very few industries do companies offer a product or service knowing that the consumer may not be able to pay. This is because there's a high likelihood of never receiving compensation.
The same goes for the legal industry--regardless of the facts, you can't depend on a judge or a jury to side with your client.
2. Lack of communication.
Communication is not only your ethical duty, it's great customer service. And if recent studies have proven anything, it's that a poor customer service experience will drive consumers away.
Running a law firm is a lot of work, so you may not have time to talk to a client on a personal level, but you need to make time to speak to the client about the case.
Keeping a client updated and answering pertinent questions will earn you repeat business and referrals.
3. Not using effective marketing tools.
While networking is a valid cause, the goal of marketing is to connect with prospective clients. Many attorneys make the mistake of not accomplishing this directly.
It may be necessary to try different mediums, or to use a combination of print, television and internet ads, but when you finally determine the best way to reach your prospective clients, the end result is worth it.
The takeaway here is that it's time to stop running law firms like lawyers, and instead start running them like entrepreneurs.
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