Whether you are in the first year of your legal degree or you’re completing postgraduate studies in your chosen legal speciality, you may have your mind firmly set on one day being a partner (or founding partner) of a legal firm. In the legal industry, profits per partner commonly exceed $1 million in top tier firms, though running a successful firm involves much more than being legally savvy. Thus, double degrees (for instance, law plus economics or commerce law) are growing in popularity across the globe, owing to their ability to prepare graduates to run profitable businesses. The following are a few skills you may wish to hone – either through further study or through experience gleaned during your initial years of practice at your chosen legal firm.
Over 70% of legal firms have 10 attorneys or fewer. If your firm will be offering services in various specialities of law (including Criminal, Contract, and Family Law, for instance), it is important to ensure that each and every member of the firm delivers the same quality of excellence. Just a few of the biggest challenges faced by HR teams in legal firms include technology (to improve effectiveness), recruitment and training. Your firm will need to attract top staff while creating a diverse, friendly, goal-oriented team that also has strong client interaction skills.
Research undertaken by MyCase indicates that 78% of lawyers maintain one or more social networks for professional purposes, spending close to two hours per week on social networking sites. Top reasons for social media marketing include networking, improving education or current awareness, client development, and case investigation. Attorney marketing must go further than social media, of course, employing a diverse marketing strategy that includes SEO (via optimal web design and content), the use of simple English on websites and social media (as opposed to legalese), and the use of CRM software to attract useful leads and manage them well.
While larger firms may invest in the establishment of an IT department, others rely on contract services to keep their firms technologically competitive. You may not need to master skills like programming or form automation yourself, but you will need to ensure that the IT firm you are hiring provides key services. Some of the most important services required by successful firms include automation of key documents, cybersecurity, activity recording for billing purposes, the establishment of a database of information, and the creation of an application for productivity systems and client accounting.
Successful firms earn millions per year thanks to successful organization and management. If you plan on being a partner in the future, just a few skills you should be familiar with are marketing, technology and social media. While you can always contract technical or marketing tasks to third parties, you should have a good idea of the strategies you wish to pursue, and have a definitive list of technological features that will help improve your quality of service, trustworthiness and efficiency (both internal and external).