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Law Firm Management: Top 5 Challenges Solos & Small Firms Face

Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group recently completed a survey of solos and small firms (less than 30 attorneys) to identify the biggest challenges these firms face and what they are doing to address them.

The top five challenges in order of importance include:

#1: New business development

#2: Too much time spent on administration

#3: Dealing with increasing complexity of technology

#4: Controlling costs

#5: Rate pressure from clients/clients demanding more for less

One of the most interesting insights was how solos and small firm attorneys spend their days. Attorneys in small firms report spending just 61% of their time on practicing law, while solos spend only 55% of their time practicing law. The rest of their time is spent on managing the firm and clients.

So how are small firms and solos dealing with these challenges? Unfortunately, most are not:

Challenges Faced By Solos and Small Firms

 

Implemented changes to address issue

Have plan but have not yet implemented

Do not have plan

New business development

37%

22%

41%

Too much time spent on administration

19%

40%

41%

Complexity of technology

28%

36%

36%

Controlling expenses

46%

25%

29%

Rate pressure/more for less

34%

24%

42%

So let me summarize and then throw something else out there from the survey that will shock you. According to the survey:

When it comes to new business development, 63% of solos/small firms either don’t have a plan or have done nothing to implement one.

When it comes to reducing the time spent on administrative tasks, 81% of solos/small firms either don’t have a plan or have done nothing to implement one.

When it comes to dealing with complex new technology, 72% of solos/small firms either don’t have a plan or have done nothing to implement one.

When it comes to cutting costs, 54% of solos/small firms either don’t have a plan or have done nothing to implement one.

When it comes to dealing with rate pressure from clients, 66% of solos/small firms either don’t have a plan or have done nothing to implement one.

That’s a whole lot of doing nothing to solve some pretty big problems. YET… according to this survey…85% of solo or small firm lawyers consider themselves to be successful or very successful! And their #1 measure of success is overall profits!

Many of these problems have a simple solution: putting systems in place to improve efficiency and reduce lawyers’ time spent on administrative tasks and cutting costs. The competitive edge that small firms have is the ability to give clients more personalized attention, yet you are unable to do this unless your firm is truly efficient.

© The Rainmaker Institute, All Rights Reserved

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About this Author

Stephen Fairley legal marketing expert, law office management
CEO

Two-time international best-selling author, Stephen Fairley is the Founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in marketing and lead conversion for small to medium law firms. Since 1999, he has built a national reputation as a legal marketing expert and been named, “America’s Top Marketing Coach.” He has spoken numerous times for over 35 of the nation’s largest state and local bar associations.

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