4 Law Firm Growth Trends to Focus on in 2024
Growth is a common goal for many businesses, especially law firms. Investing in resources and strategies that will scale with your firm is crucial to growing a successful law firm, not just in 2024, but for the years to come as well. If you desire to grow your law firm, it is important to understand growth is not just about increasing numbers, but also about enhancing the quality of services, improving client satisfaction, and building a strong team to help your practice achieve success. Before you can begin growing your law firm, you first need to set yourself up for growth. Establishing a foundation supporting expansion, adaptation, and long-term success will be essential to growing your firm. Before we explore the five law firm growth trends to focus on in 2024, you need to make sure you’re set up to grow.
Setting Yourself Up for Growth
Regardless of how you hope to grow your law firm, it is crucial to make sure you’re in a place where you are ready to embrace growth. Having a plan in place so you’re ready to go when your phone starts ringing with new leads will be a very important part of your growth process. When preparing to embark on the journey to grow your law firm remember these three steps before doing anything else:
Get Into the Growth Mindset
Getting into the growth mindset is key to the development and success of a law firm and something our CEO, David Crum, is extremely passionate about. This mentality has translated into success for him in the realm of divorce and family law, where he leads US Legal Groups—a firm with multiple offices spanning three different states. This mindset encourages embracing challenges, learning from feedback, and persisting in the face of setbacks. For a law firm, this means fostering a culture where continuous learning is valued, innovative thinking is encouraged, and staff is supported. By nurturing a growth mindset, law firms can adapt to changing market demands, stay competitive, and better serve their clients. Once you’ve gotten into the right mentality, you need to make sure your team has the appropriate technologies and sales process in place to be able to continue growing without any interruptions.
Invest in a Technology Stack Made for Law Firms
Technology plays a pivotal role in modernizing law firms and setting them up for growth. Investing in a technology stack specifically designed for law firms means incorporating software and tools that streamline operations, enhance client communication, and improve case management. This includes legal practice management software, client relationship management (CRM) systems, document automation tools, and secure communication platforms. A tailored technology stack helps law firms manage their workload more efficiently, reduce errors, and provide better service to clients, all of which are critical for growth and client retention. The CRM you choose can make a big difference in your growth efforts. If your law firm is using Salesforce, you should really reconsider. While Salesforce is an amazing CRM, it’s simply not designed for law firms, and that’s okay because there are platforms that are created specifically for law firms. Within US Legal Groups, we actively utilize Clio and Lawmatics, and we consistently endorse these CRM systems to all our clients. The majority of them have chosen to transition to these platforms if they weren’t already using them. The integration of Clio and Lawmatics allows us to streamline and automate the intake of new leads, which is just one part of how we have been able to perfect our sales process.
Perfecting the Sales Process to Acquire Even More Clients
While having the appropriate technologies in place to streamline the intake process will help your practice ensure you are getting in touch with each potential new lead that contacts your firm, refining your sales process is what will help you close the deal. Perfecting your law firm’s sales process requires a deep understanding of your target market, your business goals, and the ability to effectively communicate the value your firm will add to clients dealing with difficult situations. This involves clear messaging, strategic marketing, building strong relationships with potential clients, and having your intake team aligned from start to finish. It’s extremely important that the first person to interact with a potential new client listens to their needs and preferences, builds trust, and offers personalized solutions, demonstrating the value and expertise your firm will bring to their case. Once you’ve acquired the client, communication will be key and this is where having the right CRM in place will help.
Taking the time to make sure you’ve done these three steps shouldn’t be overlooked. It is important to know that doing one of these alone, won’t help you push the needle as far as you could if you do all three together. These steps go hand in hand and work the best when done together. Getting prepared to grow isn’t any easier than the growth process itself, but having a plan in place is pivotal. As the old saying goes, “a failure to plan is a plan to fail”. Don’t plan to fail. Cardinal Concepts doesn’t just specialize in law firm marketing, but we also specialize in law firm growthand we’d be thrilled to help achieve your law firm growth goals.
1. Strengthening Your Law Firm’s Digital Presence
In the digital age, a strong online presence is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for law firm growth in today’s competitive legal landscape. Your law firm’s digital footprint can be the key to attracting and retaining a diverse and engaged clientele. From optimizing your website to be easily found by Google to utilizing social media, we’ll uncover the essential steps that can set you on a path to success in 2024.
Invest in Your Website
Investing in a high-quality website is the cornerstone of strengthening your law firm’s digital presence. Your website is often the first point of contact for potential clients, and it serves as a virtual representation of your firm’s professionalism and expertise. A well-designed and user-friendly website not only establishes trust, but also enhances your online visibility. It provides an opportunity to showcase your legal services, attorney profiles, case successes, and informative content, positioning your practice as a credible authority in your practice areas. Additionally, you’ll want your website to be responsive and mobile-friendly so you’re easily accessible to clients across various devices, further expanding your reach. A website optimized for search engines and various devices can help your firm rank higher on online search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find and choose your services. Your website is the backbone of your online presence, making it a worthwhile investment for long-term success in the legal industry.
Getting Found on Google in 2024
Ensuring your law firm’s visibility on Google is a vital part of the law firm growth process. With the majority of potential clients turning to search engines to find legal services, an effective online presence is key to staying competitive. To easily be found on Google:
- Focus on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies tailored to current trends.
- Invest in a mobile-responsive website that loads quickly and provides a seamless user experience.
- Optimize your site’s content with relevant keywords and phrases to match phrases a potential client might search for.
- Consider local SEO techniques to target your specific geographic market.
- Embrace the power of informative and engaging content on your website, including blog posts, articles, FAQs, and videos that address common legal questions and concerns
- Encourage client reviews and manage your online reputation to build trust and credibility.
Social Media Matters
Social media is an indispensable tool for any business aiming to boost their online visibility and connect with a broader audience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer unique opportunities to engage with potential clients and fellow peers, showcase your firm’s expertise, and build a reputable brand presence. Creating informative and shareable content, such as legal insights, blog posts, and videos for social media, will help your law firm establish itself as an authoritative source of information in your respective legal niche. Social media also facilitates real-time interactions, enabling you to engage with potential clients directly, address their concerns, and build trust. Additionally, with advanced targeting options and advertising capabilities, social media platforms allow you to reach a highly specific and relevant audience, maximizing the impact of your digital marketing efforts. A well-executed social media strategy can be a game-changer, helping your law firm strengthen its digital presence and stay competitive in the legal industry.
Video marketing has also emerged as an engaging tool for law firms aiming to bolster their social media presence. Video content offers a unique and inviting way to connect with potential clients, effectively conveying legal expertise and building trust. In an era where information consumption is increasingly visual, attorneys who embrace video marketing can stand out from the competition. Whether it’s informational videos explaining complex legal concepts, webinars on recent legal developments, or client testimonials showcasing successful case outcomes, videos can humanize your firm and highlight your attorneys’ expertise. Furthermore, search engines like Google favor video content, often ranking it higher in search results. An optimized video strategy can help attract a wider audience and improve your online visibility, ultimately leading to more qualified leads and a strengthened digital presence in the legal field. Engaging with your audience on social media and harnessing the power of video content will help propel your firm forward.
2. Focusing on Law Firm Marketing to Attract More Clients
Marketing is a key part of attracting new clients. Having a proper marketing strategy in place will allow you to showcase your practice and get in front of individuals that are in need of your services. Marketing enables law firms to target specific demographics, tailor their messaging, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.
Digital marketing and traditional marketing represent two distinct approaches to law firm marketing, each with its unique strengths, yet both are vital in attracting more clients. Digital marketing harnesses the power of the internet and technology, enabling firms to reach a broader and more targeted audience through strategies like SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media engagement and is necessary for growth in this day and age. On the other hand, traditional marketing methods, such as billboards and print advertisements, can be highly effective when tailored to specific types of law practices, as they allow for precise targeting of the right audience. By combining the strengths of both digital and traditional marketing, you can cast a wider net while retaining a local presence and increasing visibility across multiple channels, enhancing the chances of captivating a diverse clientele.
Digital Legal Marketing Opportunities
Digital marketing allows law firms to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and connect with potential clients online. Social media trends influence marketing opportunities by offering platforms for law firms to engage and inform potential new clients of their services. These trends facilitate direct communication, enabling firms to address legal questions, share valuable insights, and showcase their expertise. Leveraging these trends is a great way to showcase expertise in a relatable way that will allow your audience to connect with your practice. Digital legal marketing presents numerous opportunities to enhance your online presence in today’s digital age. Some key digital marketing opportunities include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages can increase organic traffic and visibility.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Running targeted PPC campaigns on platforms like Google Ads can help you appear prominently in search results and reach potential clients actively seeking legal services.
- Content Marketing: Creating high-quality, informative content such as blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics can establish authority in your practice areas and attract organic traffic.
- Social Media Engagement: Actively engaging with your audience on social media platforms allows you to build brand awareness, share valuable legal insights, and connect with potential clients.
- Email Marketing: Building and nurturing an email marketing list allows you to stay connected with clients, share updates, and provide valuable content.
Traditional Legal Marketing Opportunities
Though it may seem like something of the past, traditional marketing remains a valuable asset when utilized strategically. It grants you meticulous control over both your message and its targeted distribution. These methods prove their effectiveness when thoughtfully tailored to specific types of law practices. For instance, a personal injury law firm strategically placing billboards near highways capitalizes on the fact that highway accidents are a common source of personal injuries. By targeting locations where potential clients are most likely to see their message, law firms can maximize the impact of traditional marketing. Aligning the unique characteristics and needs of each practice area with traditional marketing methods can be a powerful tool for connecting the right audience with the right message, ultimately driving successful outcomes for your practice.
Press releases offer a distinct and complementary approach to digital marketing for law firms. While digital marketing primarily relies on online channels to reach a targeted audience, press releases serve as a valuable offline strategy that engages traditional media outlets and journalists. The unique value of press releases lies in their ability to generate credibility and establish a law firm’s authority through trusted news sources. By investing in press releases, you can effectively communicate significant legal achievements, noteworthy cases, or thought leadership, garnering attention from both online and offline audiences. This blend of traditional and digital marketing ensures a comprehensive outreach strategy, allowing law firms to reach a broader spectrum of potential clients, while also enhancing their reputation and credibility within the legal field.
3. Growing the Dream Team
Building and nurturing a ‘dream team’ is not just an aspiration but a necessity for sustained success in growing your law firm. At the heart of every accomplished legal practice is a team that’s not only talented but also continuously evolving and well-supported in terms of mental health. The past few years have been challenging for many individuals and it has really impacted the legal community. Nurturing your legal team is just as important as nurturing new leads. Recognizing each team member’s unique contributions and addressing their individual needs fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Regular team-building activities and open forums for discussion can also help in creating a more cohesive and motivated team. Check-in with your staff regularly, invest in them and they’ll invest in you. When growing your dream team focus your efforts in the following areas:
Talent Acquisition and Recruitment
Building your law firm’s dream team begins with strategic talent acquisition and recruitment. This process involves more than just filling positions; it’s about identifying individuals who not only have the required legal expertise but also align with the firm’s culture and values. Look for people who will be a natural fit into your practice. Additionally, if you invest in your current team not only will this increase retention, but they’ll be more likely to share new jobs with their network. Some of the best attorneys we’ve added to US Legal Groups have come from current attorney referrals.Remember, you should always be recruiting and encouraging your current attorneys to bring in referrals if you really want to grow.
Building a network and strong relationships with highly skilled attorneys can be highly impactful when searching for new talent, whatever the position may be. Furthermore, engaging in active community involvement and legal associations can further widen your recruitment network. To make your practice even more attractive to top legal talent and to retain existing skilled individuals, offer competitive benefits and a positive work environment.
Continued Team Development
Once the right team is in place, the focus shifts to their continued development and education. Ongoing education and professional development are key to keeping your team updated, valued, and staying ahead of the competition. This includes regular training sessions, workshops, attending legal conferences, etc. Encouraging team members to pursue specializations or additional qualifications can also enhance the firm’s capabilities and widen your team’s skill set. Furthermore, creating opportunities for mentorship and leadership development within the firm fosters a culture of growth and collaboration. Regular performance reviews and feedback sessions can help in identifying areas for improvement and personal growth. Investing in digital learning platforms and online resources can also provide flexible and diverse learning opportunities for the team. Hosting regular wellness days and encouraging staff to take mental health days are additional strategies to support the team’s well-being.
Prioritizing Your Staff’s Mental Health and Overall Well-being
Life can be challenging in many different ways, increasing the importance of being aware of not only your mental health but as a law firm owner, the mental health of your team. The high-stress environment of legal work can take a toll on anyone and it does, making mental health support essential. Implementing policies that promote work-life balance, offering mental health resources like counseling services, and creating a supportive workplace culture are vital. Regular check-ins and open communication channels can help identify and address mental health concerns early.
In 2024, US Legal Groups will be using a program called 15five to help facilitate regular mental health check-ins on a weekly basis. This will allow staff to let their manager know where they are at, so the appropriate steps can be taken to ensure that the employee is supported and understood. Additionally, the overall well-being and work-life balance at your firm can play a role in mental health as well. Apart from using 15five to maintain regular communications and check-ins within our teams, we also offer a wellness stipend to employees. They can use this stipend to learn new skills, maybe paying for an app like Duo Lingo, gym memberships or apps like Class Pass, massages, cooking classes, the list can go on, but we want our team to know their mental health, work-life balance, and overall wellbeing are supported in multiple ways. Being more in tune with our employees has helped us boost morale and increase retention, as well as being a benefit to everyone who walks through our doors.
Building a ‘dream team’ requires a thoughtful approach to hiring, an ongoing commitment to team development, and a genuine concern for the well-being of your law firm’s staff, and it is an absolutely attainable goal. With more than 25 years of experience owning and managing law firms in different states and cities, our CEO, David Crum has been through the ups and downs of building strong teams to run his practices. Some of the most valuable takeaways from his experiences building a highly skilled team of legal professionals are the areas outlined above, so we can confidently say focusing in these areas will help you gain the team you desire to help with law firm growth. This journey of team building is ongoing and requires constant attention and adaptation to the changing dynamics of the legal industry and workforce.
Ultimately, the success of law firm growth hinges on the strength and cohesion of its team, making the investment in your team a top priority for any ambitious and forward-thinking legal practice. By doing this you create a team that is ready and eager to tap into new and exciting opportunities within the legal space and allow your firm to better serve more clients.
4. Exploring New Opportunities for Law Firm Growth
Finally, adaptability and growth are key qualities for any law firm hoping to stay ahead of the curve amongst their competitors. Whether you’re a solo practitioner, a mid-sized firm, or a large corporate entity, the legal industry offers a multitude of avenues to thrive. In addition to refining and optimizing your firm’s current growth strategies through preparation, various marketing initiatives, and building your dream team, there are additional opportunities to expand your practice that many people overlook.
Growth Through New Practice Verticals
In the world of law, there are vastly different areas of practice; divorce and family law, criminal defense, immigration, estate planning, personal injury, medical malpractice, etc. While it is important to not spread your attorney power too thin across too many practice areas, you can responsibly grow your practice by adding new practice verticals.
Quality Over Quantity: Exploring New Practice Verticals
The primary consideration to make when pondering adding a new practice vertical to increase law firm growth, is to make sure you are not reducing the quality of services your firm already has a reputation for providing. Prioritizing quality over quantity, especially in dense markets with high competition is imperative for successful growth through new practice verticals.
Choosing Practice Verticals That Make Sense For Your Firm
Some practice verticals make more sense than others depending on the original specialization of your law firm. Understanding the type of talent you may recruit to help anchor a new practice vertical is also a crucial consideration to take. If you are always keeping an open conversation around recruiting talent to join the team, sometimes the talent for a new practice vertical will find you. Consider the types of services your firm currently provides and research what services your clientele could also benefit from. For divorce and family law firms, expanding into criminal and estate planning verticals can be a good place to start. Divorce and family law cases can overlap with domestic violence and orders of protection handled in criminal law. Divorce and family law cases can also be cross-sold into estate planning services.
At US Legal Groups, our leadership always keeps an open mind about recruiting new talent and the future growth opportunities they may be able to provide. US Legal Groups primarily practices divorce and family law across New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska, but when opportunity knocks, David Crum answers. We originally started as a divorce and family law firm, but have since expanded our service offerings by adding new practice verticals such as criminal defense and estate planning.
Growth Through Geographic Expansion
Beyond additional practice verticals, geographical expansion through the establishment of additional offices presents a compelling growth opportunity for law firms. By strategically expanding into new geographical areas, law firms can find previously untapped markets, offering their expertise and services to a broader clientele. One of the primary advantages of geographical expansion is the ability to better serve more clients. Proximity matters, and having offices in different locations allows law firms to better understand local dynamics, laws, and regulations, thus providing more tailored and effective legal counsel.
Additionally, geographical expansion can enhance a law firm’s reputation and visibility. Establishing a physical presence in multiple regions demonstrates growth and commitment, instilling trust in clients and attracting top talent. Conducting thorough market research and carefully planning for an expansion will help mitigate risks and ensure a successful transition. This approach not only fosters client loyalty but also opens doors to new business opportunities.
Nebraska Legal Group Practice Vertical and Geographic Expansion
We know growth through new practice verticals and geographic expansion are lucrative opportunities, because we’ve done it for our own practices. With one original location in Omaha focused on divorce and family law, Nebraska Legal Group is a prime example of effective geographical expansion and practice vertical expansion. When our Omaha location was nearing capacity for new divorce and family law cases, the plans for a second location in Lincoln were already underway.
The booming success from the Omaha location was replicated with sustainable expansion into the city of Lincoln. As previously mentioned, always recruiting new talent is a priority for US Legal Groups and because of this, the opportunity to expand to criminal defense came on a silver platter. An experienced divorce and criminal attorney local to Lincoln was interested in joining the firm as a divorce and family law attorney, but also had the desire to exercise his skills as an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Having a strong local attorney with vast experience and the desire to work in both family law and criminal defense, made the decision to open criminal defense services to Nebraskans at both our Lincoln and Omaha office locations a no brainer. Since launching criminal defense in January 2022, this particular attorney has been able to sufficiently supplement a divorce and family law caseload with criminal cases thanks to a successful practice vertical expansion and geographic expansion.
Growth Through Mergers
Throughout recruiting efforts, David Crum and Ashley Whitham of Whitham Law Group connected over the managing attorney position to anchor the new office location in Colorado Springs. Ashley Whitham had a thriving practice of her own that was serving Grand Junction and the community on the western slopes. Whitham Law Group had sustainable caseloads throughout Grand Junction, and Ashley was not ready to stop providing top-tier legal services to the local community as that can be difficult to come by on the western slopes.
After collaboration between David Crum and Ashley Whitham, the decision was made to merge Whitham Law Group with Colorado Legal Group. The perfect geographical expansion growth opportunity presented itself through this merger to continue offering legal services as Colorado Legal Group to Grand Junction in addition to Colorado Springs. Grand Junction was not originally in Colorado Legal Group’s geographic expansion plans, but it has been one of our busiest locations with the smallest team, with 276 consults and 113 clients to date since opening in May 2023.
By merging a small firm with the big firm resources available with Colorado Legal Group, the firm was able to continue serving the Grand Junction community in addition to expanding in Colorado Springs with an experienced managing attorney to successfully launch new services in both locations.
Law Firm Growth in 2024 With Cardinal Concepts
Growing your law firm in 2024 and beyond is a multi-faceted journey that requires careful planning, strategic initiatives, and a commitment to excellence. As we’ve explored, there are several key areas to focus on to ensure the growth and success of your law firm, but this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Embracing challenges, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and investing in the right technologies are crucial steps to prepare your firm for expansion and growth. Cardinal Concepts is here to help every step along the way. Contact us today for more information on how we can help attribute to your law firm growth in 2024.