6 operational strategies for a successful 2023
The effectiveness of your law firm relies almost entirely on the daily habits of your team. Every law firm will have a combination of business habits that either help them to run a successful firm aligned with their goals, or habits that are hindering success and damaging performance.
Our CEO, Chris Pucci, says that building better business habits “helps you to establish a foundation of seamless and effective processes designed for maximum output. These habits – especially when adopted by everyone at your firm – will be hugely beneficial for your compliance, client satisfaction, employee motivation, profitability, and much more besides.”
Shaun Jardine, managing director of Big Yellow Penguin – which helps law firms achieve long term success by adopting practices that will make firms’ futures more secure – agrees: “A fundamental element of supplying legal services that win five-star reviews is to demonstrate the value that lawyers and law firms bring to the client. Adopting a value-based pricing model is a key way to operate that is fair to both parties and delivers countless benefits, including increased profits, better client relationships and retaining talented lawyers.
“A change in mindset and operational practices is needed to build a more secure and long-term future. Importantly, I believe that if there is one way you can build better relationships with clients it’s by changing the way you charge for the service. Relationships are not built on charging for time.”
How to create an environment for long-term success
To set your firm up for long-term success you need to create the right environment that enables effective habits to flourish while reducing inefficient ones, which can be achieved through:
Having complementary goals helps you to focus on what is it you want to achieve. If you know what you want to achieve, and how to go about it, you’ll be able to design the most effective processes for the job, monitor performance, and communicate the plan to your team for firm-wide support.
Setting individual / team targets
If individuals or teams aren’t held accountable for their daily responsibilities, they won’t necessarily be motivated to complete the required tasks. Pucci recommends that firms “set specific targets so that individuals, and teams, are held accountable for adopting new processes to meet the wider goals, which will help to ensure that old, ineffective habits don’t return.
“When implementing the improvements to your team’s daily habits and processes be sure to consider how they relate back to your wider values and goals. Are they helping you to be client-focused, empower employees, and innovate?”
Pucci adds that leaders should look at ways to quantify the results so that success can be measured right across the firm.
Implementing effective tools
It’s important to consider whether you have the right technology, infrastructure, digital tools, legal software, and people skills to achieve what you’re aiming for. A simple audit will enable you to establish whether you can utilise your existing resources or whether you need to look at investment for your long-term success.
Regardless of the extent of the digital tools you require it’s crucial that leaders make it easy for teams to adopt them, to enable them to be more productive, accurate, and effective.
Being client focused
Providing a high-quality client service is the vital ingredient in a law firm’s success. A key benchmark of the value you have delivered for the client is how timely, convenient, and personal the service is – regardless of the legal support you have offered.
Jardine highlights how offering a value-based pricing model “provides reassurance and transparency to clients that builds trust and enables your firm to clearly define that value and the benefits you’re providing, rather than simply the time spent. It enables clients to understand the benefits of collaborating with experienced lawyers and sets our expectations at the start to improve the experience for all.”
Leaning on digital tools can help to make a client-focused mindset and a value-based pricing model operationally efficient and profitable long-term.
Re-evaluating your pricing model
Jardine points out that law firms need to question whether the billable hour is the most effective pricing model for law firms, their employees, and clients: “Is the traditional pricing method helping you meet your goals and stay competitive? Consider whether a value-based pricing method could offer a better foundation for long-term success.”
He explains that “a value-based pricing model benefits your financial performance and long-term success, as it empowers your employees, provides your firm with a competitive advantage, and pleases clients.
“For lawyers, you can preauthorise fees, avoid discounting work and remove the pressures of billable time and targets. This enables you to attract proactive lawyers and improve team morale. It also improves transparency for clients to build trust and honesty for a stronger relationship.”
Leading by example
As the saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest member, so ensuring your team has the right mindset for improvement to manage change, and for optimisation, is crucial to building the right environment for success.
Help motivate your staff by fostering an open-minded, experimentation mindset rather than one that focuses solely on outcome.
Build effective operational habits to stay competitive
To set your business up for long-term success it’s important to create the right environment for effective business habits. Pucci concludes: “By adopting the right mindset, efficient tools, and aligning your goals, you can be confident the foundations are set for streamlining operations and improving the effectiveness of your firm.”
For further help and guidance, download our guide to creating the right environment to foster good business habits.