Here, I highlight some overlooked ways to increase your firm’s revenue stream. This information was gathered from experience at a large-size firm, research, and reaching out to solos, small and mid-size firms.
- Use Legal Practice Management Software – Don’t rely on your memory when sitting down at the end of the day or week to enter time.Track and easily capture time using practice management software. For instance, SheriaSoft offers Time Tracking Technology where time entries are linked to matters keeping them organized enabling bills to be generated more quickly.
- Use less paper – Using less paper saves the firm money by cutting costs on supplies, storage, labor, rental space and equipment. Although these savings speak more to profit, the improved efficiency and timed saved can result in increased opportunities in marketing and networking to land clients and boost revenue.
- Bill on Time – Tracking time and achieving an optimal billing realization rate is important, but what matters most is how much you collect. And delaying billing is the biggest culprit. It’s like giving away free money. By not sending your bills out on time you are essentially offering interest-free financing and performing your services at a discount. Less cash flow results in lost opportunity to invest in efforts to help your firm grow.
- Leverage Professional Support Lawyers (PSLSs) and Paralegals – Hire PSLs and paralegals to perform billable work that you routinely do and can offload. This frees up your time to work on matters with a higher billing rate and to create opportunities for new clients.
- Use a variety of fee structures – Flat Fee or Hourly Billing? Retainers? What about Contingency? No one billing method fits all situations and an imbalance can cause a cash-flow dilemma. Be aware of the different types of fee agreements and understand them thoroughly in order to effectively explore the options and select one that best fits each situation. Remember to be clear with the client about which fee structure you’re using to avoid surprises, delays and write-offs.
- Consider co-working spaces – Avoid high rents and zero flexibility by considering a co-working space. Rents are much cheaper which increases your profit margin. And you’ll have the added benefit of networking opportunities right outside your door, a potential for new clients and revenue.
- Transparent client communications – Be up front and clear about your service, process, and fees during client intake and throughout your handling of the matter. This creates realistic expectations and less haggling over unanticipated bills.
- Marketing – Marketing’s barrier to entry is lower than it’s ever been. Anyone with access to a laptop can create Google ads, Social Media Buzz, and YouTube videos. But go beyond the usual, to the not-so-obvious. Host a webinar, write an E-Book. Get exposure by recording a CLE session for a national provider.
- Get CLE accredited – Wait what? Yes, it works. I was involved with a CLE accreditation initiative at a law firm and it proved very effective in attracting potential clients and referrals. Put on a conference, webinar, or series of events around your niche practice and offer attendees CLE credit in your jurisdiction.
- Use Freelance Advocates – One of the biggest expenses in law firms is payroll. Small firms can avoid turning down work – and revenue – by employing freelance attorneys on an as-needed basis.
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