The November 2014 issue of Law Practice Today is out, and as always, it is filled with interesting and thought-provoking articles designed to help you improve your marketing and your practice.
Here are five great ideas from this month's issue:
1. Prepare new associates for future success
One of the biggest challenges for small law firms arises when it's time to hire - and train - new associates as the firm grows. Susan Pitchford, a partner in a small intellectual property firm, shares her tips for - as she says, "raising your associate to be a good firm partner" - in Training of New Associates in Small Firms. Her tips include:
- Inviting associates to observe everything
- Teaching associates how to break bad news to clients
- Asking new lawyers to prepare summaries of new opinions and present them to the firm
- Setting a good example by continuing your own legal education
- Allowing new lawyers to participate (even a little) in court
- Discussing the business of the firm with associates
- Encouraging new lawyers to join bar and other legal organizations
Take a look at the full article to see all of Pitchford's tips and get her insight on why they are important.
2. Set (and reach) goals
In Becoming a Real Goal-Getter: 5 Tips for Setting and Reaching Goals, Holly Miller demonstrates why it's so important to set goals, and how to do so effectively. Her tips include taking time to take stock of where you are now and your past successes and failures, developing not only the goals themselves, but also a timeline for completing them, and ensuring that your goals are measurable so that you can determine whether or not you've met them. Read the full article to get all of her goal-setting tips.
As we approach the beginning of another new year, planning and goal-setting are activities that should be a priority, to ensure the best 2015 possible. For some of my planning tips, see my Simple Steps column in this month's Law Practice Magazine, entitled, "Simple Steps. Developing Daily and Weekly Plans."
3. Hone your business development and client retention skills
In her article, How to Win and Cultivate New Clients, Sarah Freeman discusses four factors that help to earn the trust of potential clients at an initial consultation:
- Knowing yourself
- Projecting confidence
- Taking time to explain the process
- Listening and asking questions
But getting the client to sign on the dotted line is only the beginning of the relationship. As Freeman says, "After we have won a client, we need to cultivate that relationship, keep that client satisfied, and lay the groundwork for future business and referrals. A happy client will talk about us and recommend us when the opportunity arises."
Freeman discusses two ways to cultivate those client relationships: putting good procedures in place to follow up frequently with clients and ensuring that you - as the attorney - communicate regularly with clients, rather than always leaving that job to staff. And don't forget to stay in contact with clients even after the matter has been concluded.
4. Consider video to improve your firm's online presence
Brian Albert writes about how video can help improve both traffic to your website and conversion of website visitors into clients (or at least help to convince them to contact you - after that it's up to you to close the deal). He also shows why posting those same videos to YouTube, on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and in email newsletters can improve your marketing efforts as well. Finally, he presents a list of reasons why video might not be right for your firm. And if you don't feel like reading the article, check out the video at the top, in which Corey Saban discusses reasons you should consider video.
5. Be an active alumnus or alumna
Whether you're a brand-new lawyer or a seasoned practitioner, your alumni network can be a valuable resource for your practice. Tyler Volm's article, Being An Active Alum Can Mean a Better Career, demonstrates many of the benefits of being active in your alumni network. Networking is one obvious benefits, but participation can also provide opportunities for learning new skills - for example, Volm mentions that he learned about time management, fundraising and more as a result of his involvment.
The November issue of Law Practice Today contains even more articles, including those on attornrey coaching programs, support for solo practitioners, how community involvement can co-exsit with small firms, and more. Check out the complete issue here.