The legal field has always been a competitive one, more so right now with an American Bar Association survey noting over a million licensed lawyers. The competition makes it more difficult for law firms to attract new clients as clients have more options. The solution, especially when aiming for long-term success seems to be law firm strategic planning.
Strategic planning involves creating a road map which takes into consideration the firm’s decision-making process, resource allocation and goal-setting. Creating a strategic plan isn’t a legal skill set per se, and requires in-depth research and estimations of processes and areas to improve.
To learn more from the American Bar Association click here.
Do you need a strategic plan template to get you started, click here.
The 8-Step Strategic Plan
Law firm strategic planning is important and although it can seem complicated the process can be broken down into eight steps.
Step 1: Define Your Mission and Vision
The very first thing that needs to be done is to understand what the law firm stands for. Define the firm’s mission statement and make sure you are clear on what the firm’s purpose and long-term vision are.
Step 2: SWOT Analysis
The next part of law firm strategic planning is conducting an in-depth SWOT analysis. This means looking at the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In many ways, this lays the foundation for your strategic planning with emphasis on internal strengths and weaknesses along with external opportunities and threats.
Step 3: Set Firms Goals
Setting and tracking goals are the next stage in developing a strategy for law firms. For this step, you need to set up distinct goals which align with your mission statement. Make sure that the goals you set, like law firm expansion, for instance, are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
To learn more about setting SMART goals for your law firm, watch this vdeo here.
Step 4: Identify Target Markets
Next, you need to identify your target market, this step is essential in growing a law practice. Figuring out your ideal client takes into consideration, geography, industry, and legal practice areas. This is crucial for tailoring your offerings to your market and in so doing standing out from the competition.
Step 5: Develop A Financial Strategy
Now its time to start to focus on business planning for the law firm. This refers to creating a budget and managing cash flow. It is very important to track expenses and predict revenue growth while ensuring the firm has the funds to not only cover expenses but also invest if opportunities should arise. Long-term planning should include setting goals and multiple income streams.
Step 6: Invest In Technology
One one the most important steps is upgrading your firm’s technology in terms of practice management software, client relationship management (CRM) tools and e-discovery solutions. Software like Sage which is cloud-based and considered the number one choice in management software can easily improve efficiency and streamline operations.
Step 7: Build A Strong Team
When it comes to strategy for law firms and possible law firm expansion, skills and team dedication are the backbone of the business. You should invest in recruiting and training talented staff as well as build a positive business culture to retain said staff. A good strategy for law firms is to encourage collaboration and innovation within the team.
Step 8: Regularly Review And Maintain Plan
The final step in creating a strategy for law firms is to be aware that strategic planning is an ongoing process. This will require a firm to be adaptable to any possible changes within the legal industry. Firms need to be willing to constantly assess their progress and make any adjustments needed when the time arises.
Why choose Sage Accounting Software For Your Law Firm?
Because strategic planning can be a complex process, especially with firms already focusing on business development plans for lawyers, it makes sense to acquire assistance as there are risks involved with internal manual accounting processes. Due to human involvement, these processes are error-prone and open a firm to the dangers of inaccuracies and even fraud. With the sensitive nature of legal accounting, any inaccuracy could have a terrible effect on planning and business management.
When it comes to business planning and accounting, law firms often turn to Sage as it is fully customizable and is designed in a way that it can be adjusted to the specific needs and strategy for law firms. The cloud-based program also does not require expensive internal IT infrastructure, which is a huge bonus. The software is scalable and although it is easy to use subscription comes with ongoing training and support. An added bonus is that the software places a lot of focus on secure data protection as well as data security.
Because strategic planning is directly related to the growth and success of a law firm it is incredibly important to include it in business development plans for lawyers. It is important to take the time to design and implement a well-thought-out strategy. Sage offers strategic advantages (Streamline operations, compliance, financial insights, and scalable) to help aid in navigating the complexities of the industry.
Why Outsource to Lescault And Walderman
Simply put law firms are busy with legal work and have a skills gap when it comes to strategic planning. Outsourcing gives firms access to experts who are trained in the accounting of law and can easily come up with solutions to complex problems. LWI has the right talent and skills for law firm success.
For more articles that help law firms see the below
Law Firm Accounting Tip: How To Track KPIs For Lawyers
6 Benefits Of Outsourcing Payroll For Your Law Firm
A Guide To Lawyer Time Tracking. Understanding Law Firm Revenue
Law Firms: Managing Client Trust / IOLTA Accounts
Revenue And Expense Tracking For Law Firms: 10 Tips For Success