What’s the best way to make more money for your law firm? Likely, you’ll want to get more clients through effective law firm marketing, but that isn’t the only option.
78% of lawyers say that acquiring new business is one of their top challenges, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group. However, legal marketing can be expensive, and if you don’t have a strong grasp of website design, SEO, and/or Facebook advertising best practices, you might not get the results you want (at least not without a large time investment).
While marketing is definitely key for law firm growth, there are other, simpler ways to make sure there’s more money in your pocket. Another way to make more money? Make sure you’re not losing funds in the first place. A penny saved is a penny earned, and making small changes to save yourself time and money can have a bigger impact on your bottom line than you might think.
Before you spend big on law firm marketing, try these tips to improve your law firm’s financial efficiency—and its revenue.
1. Improve your client intake process
Client intake, the first stage of your firm’s work with a client, can be an incredibly time-consuming process. It’s also not usually billable.
To save your firm time and money, streamline this process as much as possible. Use online forms or specialized client intake tools, and integrate these tools with your practice management software to do away with duplicate data entry.
Also, make pre-screening part of your intake process. Lawyers love to help, but not every problem or person will be a match for your firm—and a bad fit could end up costing you in time, resources, and reputation in the end.
Learn more about improving client intake with 4 Ways to Improve Your Client Intake Process.
2. Accept credit card payments to get paid faster
What’s the most important part of making money? Getting paid!
Unfortunately, lawyers wait three months on average to get paid—and that’s on top of the two months that many lawyers wait before actually sending out a bill to clients. Also, according to the Legal Trends Report, lawyers only actually collect on about 86% of what they bill, leaving 14% of invoiced amounts on the table.
Accepting credit cards can help address this problem. Law firms that accept credit cards get paid 35% faster than firms that use check-based payments, meaning you’ll spend less time chasing down clients for payment, and have more time to focus on billable work.
Learn more in our post, How to Collect Legal Fees 35% Faster.
3. Hire staff or use cost-effective services
Hiring staff might seem like an extra expense, but in some cases, not having help could mean leaving money on the table. In her post, How to Write a Law Firm Business Plan, Chelsea Lambert explains:
A difficult truth of running a law firm is that you need to ‘fire’ yourself from the jobs that rob your law firm of revenue. For example, when you decide to do the work of a paralegal, who can be paid $30 per hour, and your billable rate is $200, you are robbing your law firm of $170 per hour.
Don’t spend time on administrative tasks when you could be spending time on billable work. If you think you can’t afford to hire staff, do the math, and consider how many billable hours you’re losing to administrative tasks. And if you really can’t hire anyone, consider more affordable solutions such as Ruby Receptionist.
4. Use technology to streamline your day
If you’re still managing your practice using spreadsheets alone, you’re missing out. There are plenty of apps and digital services that can help streamline your day-to-day tasks, saving your law firm time and money.
Some apps, such as Box, Evernote, or Skype, are useful for any small business, but there are lots of lawyer-specific apps as well. For example, AgileLaw lets you run paperless depositions.
On top of that, many popular apps have both desktop and mobile versions, allowing you to take your practice with you wherever you go. For example, the Clio mobile app lets you track time, view client information, create new matters and contacts, and more.
For other ideas of apps to try out, read our full list of the 21 best apps for lawyers.