In case you haven’t heard, Answering Legal launched a new podcast this summer. It’s called “Everything Except The Law”, and covers all the parts of running a firm that attorneys weren’t exactly trained to handle back in law school. You can catch the first four episodes of the show now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, and our YouTube Channel.
Over the past few months, we’ve been lucky enough to talk with some incredible guests. Below we’ll share some of the best tips that came out of our conversations with top Michigan personal injury attorney Mike Morse and Precision Legal Marketing founder Steven Long.
Data Should Be Informing All Decisions For Your Firm
In episode four of “Everything Except The Law”, attorney Mike Morse joined us to share some of the most important lessons from his new book, “Fireproof: A Five-Step Model to Take Your Law Firm from Unpredictable to Wildly Profitable”. One thing Morse preached throughout the interview was the importance of knowing the statistics behind your firm.
“I live by the numbers,” Morse said. “I’m addicted to numbers. I won’t make a decision without looking at the numbers. And I don’t care if (lawyers) can’t afford (Fireproof), I don’t care if they can’t afford a business coach, they can still know their numbers. Every number. How many phone calls are you getting a week? How many new calls, how many signed leads, what’s your average case? How long does it take for you to open a case and close it? There’s thousands of numbers you can track. Start writing them down. Start tracking them, and look for trends.”
Morse goes on to say that weekly data tracking can help law firms identify any emerging issues they may have before they become significant problems and major headaches to deal with. When Morse was asked during the interview what advice he would give to himself 20 years ago, he said that hiring a business coach earlier and paying closer attention to data would be his biggest points of emphasis.
Have Your Employees Devote Time To The Things They Do Best
Mike Morse has learned a lot over the years about managing a law office staff, and something he’s grown to really embrace is creating specialty roles for his firm’s employees.
“I believe that everybody has a unique ability,” Morse said. “(They have a) sweet spot. Something that they’re great at… Why wouldn’t I have somebody doing that all the time.”
As firms continue to grow and add new people to their staff, they shouldn’t shy away from letting individuals take on specialized positions. The morale of the practice is likely to be significantly higher if people are always getting the chance to do work that falls directly within their wheelhouse. Efficiency should also be on the rise, with all staff members knowing exactly what their role is at your law office. For Morse, flexibility in hiring and staffing has opened his practice up to some truly unique employees.
“I have a woman who works for me who after 25 years was burnt out of doing depositions,” Morse said. “(She was) burnt out of doing trials, didn’t want to do it anymore. But she loves settling cases. She is very personable, she is very knowledgeable, she is very trustworthy and honest. She loves the defense attorneys and the adjusters. And she said, let me come into your firm Michael, and all I want to do is settle cases for you. Make the firm money. She’s my closer. That’s all she does. I don’t know another firm in the country that has a person that all they do is settle cases.”
Now Is A Great Time To Be Checking In With Clients
How your law firm has been doing since the pandemic began is likely largely dependent on your area of practice. Unfortunately, many attorneys have seen a dramatic decrease in their number of incoming calls this year, and as a result, have been struggling to get by. During his appearance on episode three of our podcast, we asked Steven Long what law firms can be doing right now if they aren’t getting many new case requests.
“Call all your clients, every single solitary one of them,” Long said. “Over-communicate with them. Use this period of time to train your staff on how to over-communicate. because guess what, most of them probably aren’t super good at it. And that’s okay, they can be taught. Get your paralegals to make phone calls for you if you’re not comfortable with it.”
As Long notes, reaching out to your existing and past clients can be a great way to spark repeat business and new referrals, especially during times of crisis, when people are usually seeking expert guidance. While attorneys never want to come across as desperate for new cases, they should make it clear that they’re always available to talk with clients about any issues they might be experiencing.
“Make sure that you’re willing to answer questions,” Long said. “Do the nice thing and mention on a call with (a client) that you’re not going to bill a quarter hour, even though you went over your meeting (time). Take care of people.”
Be Wary Of Marketing Companies That Guarantee First Page Results
During the highly complex digital age, law firms need all the expert marketing help they can get. Unfortunately, many marketing agencies out there don’t seem to have attorneys’ best interest at heart. During Long’s appearance on our show, he talked about what lawyers can expect when meeting with marketing companies for the first time, and highlighted some red flags they should look out for.
“If you hear things like, ‘for $99 a month I’ll get you to the top of Google’, run the other direction as fast as you can,” Long said.
According to Long, attorneys should avoid buying into any big promises marketing companies make them, and instead pursue agencies that seem actually interested in getting to know their firm. If a company is actually taking the time to ask relevant questions, and is willing to have an honest conversation about your marketing goals, you may just have an agency that’s worth moving forward with. During his interview, Long also talked about the importance of reaching out to other firms the agency has worked with.
“You want to ask for actual references,” Long said. “You can tell if they’re pre-rehearsed or not. I would ask for them in your geography.”