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Why Small Law Firm Lawyers Should Think Like Entrepreneurs

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Guest Attorney Author: Shawn Smith, ARAG Network Attorney, The Smith Law Firm, PC

In the ever-evolving world of law, adaptation is the name of the game. With technology advancing at breakneck speed and clients demanding more, lawyers in small law firms need to step up their game. One way to do this is by embracing entrepreneurship. Let's explore why lawyers in small law firms should consider wearing their entrepreneurial hats:

1. Ride the Wave of Change:

The legal industry is going through a paradigm shift. From the rise of legal tech and the need to address the access to justice gap, to the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and alternative service providers, the game is changing fast. For example, it is no longer necessary to hire a full-time onsite bookkeeper to manage your firms’ books. There are online service providers that will run your payroll and assist in managing your trust accounting from anywhere and everywhere. To stay relevant, lawyers in small firms need to be nimble and entrepreneurial to navigate these shifts effectively.

2. Income Beyond the Billable Hour:

Money matters, especially for small law firms. During tough times, having multiple income streams can be a lifesaver. Entrepreneurial attorneys explore opportunities like legal consulting, hosting online courses, or writing legal guides. Lawyers should consider flat-fee billing as well as engaging legal plan providers as they often pay flat fees, as an alternative to the billable hour. These diversifications can stabilize finances and reduce financial risks.

3. Putting Clients First:

Entrepreneurs know that customer experience is king. Lawyers adopting this mindset actively seek client feedback, aiming to improve their services continually. Lawyers should make it easy for clients to provide instant, relevant feedback via online search like Google, Bing as well as social media platforms. This client-centric approach not only boosts satisfaction but also breeds loyalty and referrals, which are gold for small law firms.

4. Innovation and Efficiency:

Entrepreneurs are masters of innovation and efficiency. Entrepreneurial lawyers are more likely to embrace new tools and technologies that streamline their work, cut costs, and boost productivity. For example, we have hired technical support on an as-needed basis from freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr. Additionally, there are a number of legal support services that offer everything from temporary paralegal support to contract attorneys who offer legal research on an as needed basis. The best part is you only have to engage those services if and when you need it, making it financially feasible.  

5. Building Your Brand:

Entrepreneurs understand the value of a strong personal brand. By consistently delivering top-notch service and engaging their audience through content marketing and networking, lawyers can establish themselves as trusted experts in their field. Ask yourself, “What do you stand for,” or “What value do you deliver to clients?” Find what makes you stand out and use that as the focal point of your personal brand.

6. Embrace Risk for Growth:

Entrepreneurship is about calculated risks. Lawyers who embrace this spirit are more open to taking well thought out chances that can lead to growth. Whether it's expanding practice areas, creating new alliances or partnerships in the industry and the community, or exploring new markets, this willingness to step out of their comfort zones can pay off in the long run.

7. Be Part of the Community:

Entrepreneurs often have strong community ties. They engage with their local communities and industries through events, conferences, local organizations like chambers of commerce and pro bono work. As an attorney, another way to get involved in the community is to join a legal plan provider’s network, such as the ARAG Attorney Network. This provides new opportunities to connect with individuals in their local area and exposes them to new potential clients. Entrepreneurial attorneys also support causes they believe in – such as providing access to justice for all. This not only benefits their firms but also adds value to their personal and professional networks.

In a nutshell, embracing entrepreneurship is not necessarily separate from legal work, but can help small law firm lawyers excel in today's dynamic legal landscape. It brings resilience, strengthens client relationships, and fuels the growth of their practices. So, why wait? It is time for lawyers in small firms to jump on the entrepreneurial bullet train and discover new horizons in the legal world.

Author Bio

Mr. Smith is the managing attorney at The Smith Law Firm, PC. He brings 20 years of experience to each case. Mr. Smith has an active litigation practice helping those injured because of someone else’s negligence. He also assists those seeking debt relief through consumer bankruptcy. Mr. Smith takes on several federal pro bono cases each year as a way of legally assisting those who may otherwise not have access to justice due to financial constraints or lack of awareness. Mr. Smith is also an active member of the ARAG Attorney Network.


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