If you own a law firm or work on behalf of somebody who does, you might need to hire a business consultant that can partner with you to help your firm achieve more. Finding a business consultant for law firms might seem like an odd decision if you are unfamiliar with them. However, law firm consultants offer a range of useful services and benefits that can aid any company – whether they have just opened or existed for years. We hear it all the time from lawyers, “Law School never taught me how to run a business” and yet many lawyers find themselves in the role of entrepreneur just trying to keep all of the trains running on time.
What is a law firm business consultant?
Law firm consulting can seem like a vague service at first, but it is invaluable during certain stages of a company’s growth. For example, you might get a consultant to improve the overall management of your firm or to act as marketing advisor. You might have equity partners getting ready to retire with no succession plan in place or strategy on how to transition clients as well as new leadership. At a basic level, these things are always going to benefit a business, no matter what they sell: better marketing, smoother operations, and improved use of technology are always useful to helping a business mature.
How can my law firm benefit?
Your law firm can benefit from a back office or strategic law firm consultant in a variety of ways. Many equity partners realize the importane of a solid business plan, and yet most law firms don’t have this very critical strategic plan in place. There is also a fundamental acceptance of the importance of marketing within the legal industry and yet outdated websites, archaic logos and no digital presence indicate a lack of time and priority being placed on marketing. A consultant can set strategy and implement it to drive positive business results.
You might also see that you have a growing past due A/R problem, but don’t have the time to focus on it. A law firm consultant can assess your current processes, A/R data and billing processes to significantly improve the days at which your clients will pay and your law firm’s collection effectiveness. Many times, consultants more than pay for themselves in the value received from a consultant’s services.
Another significant benefit to using a law firm consultant is the fact that you are bringing in opinions from somebody outside the business. A consultant who understands a law firms’ work but does not work for the firm will be able to think of solutions that your firm’s leadership can’t see. Giving your firm a fresh pair of eyes that can find problems and identify opportunities that you would usually miss will help your business become more efficient and successful. Some small-scale problems that need to be uncovered may seem small, but need to be identified now before they grow into big problems. At Legal Back Office, we also like to say that incremental changes can equal exponential impact as you seek to improve by small amounts across many areas.
Do I need to hire a law firm consultant forever?
A big part of choosing a business consultant for law firms is the fact that they can be a catalyst for more significant changes and tweaks that move through the entire business. For example, you might hire a consultant for a few weeks to sort through your management methods and systems. If they come up with a better alternative to manage the business, you can roll that out to the rest of the firm, improving morale and saving your firm money in the long term. The work done by a law firm consultant should often pay for itself if not produce even better results than before partnering with the consultant. At Legal Back Office, we always say we hope you get far more in return based on our work with you than you ever paid us to do the work. The real answer to this question, is YES! You are a lawyer who went to law school to practice law, not run a business. You can in fact build a more successful business by focusing on what you do best…practicing law!
What else can they do?
Consultants are not just about observing your business. They can take on specific roles. You may hire a consultant to train employees or to carry out budget cuts and staff reductions. Since they are impartial and only paid by the firm’s owner, they do not have any bias and are going to perform their duties based on what is best for the company. They can participate as a fractional CFO guiding financial decisions or a CMO helping to set marketing strategy. You may not have a need for a full time CFO, but you can obtain the input from a seasoned professional at a fraction of the cost.
Sometimes, a consultant can be perfect for significant overhauls and changes to a company’s entire organization. Many times, law firms will hire consultants to help with rebranding and marketing, setting up new branches, moving offices, or restructuring the firm from the ground up. What makes this even more beneficial is the fact that it doesn’t take up the valuable time of your regular employees: you aren’t diverting people away from profitable work to help with planning.
It might seem like a significant step but hiring a legal firm consultant can make even the toughest challenges much easier to overcome.