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Your law firm has grown: now what? Keep these 6 areas in mind

Delivering growth in today’s highly competitive legal market is a major achievement – and one that law firms will understandably want to consolidate and continue. However, maintaining growth can be a significant challenge too, whether that growth has been organic or achieved via a lateral team hire, a merger or an acquisition. You want to keep the momentum going to secure more client wins or assimilate new teams seamlessly to create one cohesive entity. You want to build on that success.

That begs the question: now what? Here are 6 key areas to keep in mind: 

  1. Keep the growth mindset alive. If the prevailing thinking is “job done”, then further growth is unlikely to happen, or worse, the gains made may start to be eroded by a return to focus on “business as usual” or a sense of complacency. Keep going: instil a growth mindset within your firm and therefore within your people. They need to be encouraged and empowered to continue the good work they’ve already done in contributing to the firm’s growth so far. This may need to be led from the top, but it should cascade down throughout all layers of the firm so that everyone has a stake in the firm’s success. With this in mind, it’s important that the firm’s organisational structure and internal culture allows for growth to flourish.
  2. Focus on talent. This growth ethos should form a core part of your firm’s talent acquisition and retention strategy, demonstrating the part each member of staff can play in boosting growth and communicating how they will benefit. That may be through enhanced job satisfaction, more interesting work, an expanded career development opportunity set or via other incentives. When recruiting or identifying candidates from promotion, look for lawyers who see themselves as more than pure legal experts: seek out O-shaped lawyers who are open to opportunity, take an original approach and take ownership of business-driven outcomes.
  3. Invest in your firm’s capabilities. Enhance your firm’s legal intelligence and know-how by giving lawyers the tools they need to do the best possible job with maximum confidence and minimal frustration. Practical Law acts as a vital source of legal knowledge and delivers powerful search capabilities. With Practical Law, you can easily locate relevant cases or the right piece of legislation that pertains to your matter, access practical how-to guidance and document templates, and gain critical insight from the most up-to-date legal content, written by a team of 600+ expert legal editors worldwide. And far more. Your people will thank you for being well-equipped for any task at hand. What’s more, you need never turn away work (and so undermine growth) because you don’t have either the capacity or the capabilities to do it. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to change things. You’ve done what you set out to do: you’ve grown the firm, but why stop there? You may not want or be able to maintain the same rate of growth from now on, but a firm that keeps on striving for more in a sustainable manner is one that is likely to be continuously improving rather than stagnating. It’s therefore important to assess what has been working and what hasn’t. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but equally if something can be improved, take action.
  5. Leverage data for insight. How do you know what’s really been successful and what hasn’t? Anecdotal evidence from speaking to people involved is one way, but as every good lawyer knows, it’s helpful if gut feelings and personal observations are backed up by hard proof. This is where your firm’s data comes in. Law firms’ technology solutions contain a huge amount of data that you can leverage to identify areas of success and areas for improvement. This information can also help you spot the potential for cross-selling or other new business development opportunities that may previously have been hidden from view.
  6. Streamline processes. Growth can take more than one form: whether it’s top-line revenue growth that comes from more work or a market greater presence or bottom-line profitability growth that comes from boosting productivity. Investing in tools that make it easier for lawyers to do their jobs well and exceed clients’ expectations should have the three-pronged benefits of creating efficiency gains, keeping lawyers happy and enhancing client relationships. As a result, not only will those relationships last longer, but word-of-mouth recommendations should increase, broadening the pool of potential new clients. 

For many law firms, growth is a continuous process, rather than a journey to a particular point and no further. If you’ve recently been successful at giving your firm a growth boost, next it’s time to think about how to commit to a sustainable growth pathway going forward. Give everyone involved a pat on the back and keep going, focussing on continuous improvement and commitment. 


Learn more about growth and how law firms in the UK are handling continuing challenges and leveraging potential opportunities in the “State of the UK Legal Market 2022” report. 

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