In today’s uncertain and ever-changing legal market, it’s more crucial than ever for law firms to be client focused. This might seem self-evident. If you have no clients, you have no practice. Hasn’t this always been the case?
And it’s true that some things in the practice haven’t changed. Clients have always needed quick answers to their legal questions and concerns. But here’s what has been changing: Clients often need those answers and that help faster than ever before. And if you’re a partner in a smaller firm, increasingly your clients may be asking questions that fall outside of your established practice.
You could refer your client to another firm. But that’s not always helpful to the client. Most likely, that client wants to work with you. You’ve built a trusted relationship. What’s more, your firm might not be in the financial position to turn away work. For more and more smaller and midsize firms, referring out is becoming less and less of an option.
To meet clients’ changing needs, you need to expand your practice, your knowledge, and your resources.
Your clients need an agile attorney
Keeping up with your clients’ expanding needs means you must have the right legal research before you might actually need it. Otherwise, you’re spending precious time catching up and figuring things out. But how can you develop such a skill set?
For an increasing number of smaller firms, the solution is an online legal research tool that provides access to the expertise they need in order to build their caseloads. One such tool is Practical Law, which is designed to supply necessary information, checklists, and additional content to give firms of any size the confidence to accept any kind of case, regardless of their practice specialty.
You can think of Practical Law as a 300-attorney law firm that is solely responsible for keeping you up to date, informed, and knowledgeable on those practice areas that are less familiar to you. These attorneys’ full-time job is to provide support, institutional knowledge, and expertise to smaller firms. These are seasoned lawyers who have been in your shoes; they understand what you need. They know how to create resources that are easy to use and understand. What’s more, they update these resources as soon as legal changes take place – a feat that’s difficult when you’re a busy working attorney.
The legal research tool your clients need you to have
Not only can Practical Law help you keep your current clients, it can help you get more clients. A recent Thomson Reuters Institute report surveyed more than 400 law firms and analyzed the challenges they face. According to the report, 26% of respondents said that acquiring new client business was their most significant challenge.
At the same time, 59% of firms face the challenge of clients demanding more for less – pushing firms to operate more efficiently. The Thomson Reuters Institute report found that among the firms surveyed, 28% of attorneys’ time is neither spent practicing law nor meeting with clients. Much of that unprofitable time is spent hunting for needed information. A tool like Practical Law can save time and money.
Become the legal one-stop shop
As clients’ needs change, your ability to expand your knowledge base needs to grow. With Practical Law – a one-stop source that includes the checklists, templates, and resources that you need to keep up to date on legal changes – you can continue to offer the legal guidance they trust you to provide. You’ll be able to provide answers more quickly and with greater confidence.
By becoming your clients’ go-to firm for almost any legal issue, you won’t have to refer out cases. Additionally, you can get a jump on other firms your size by taking on matters they can’t. When you’re properly prepared with broader expertise, you won’t have to worry about whether taking on that new case will help the business. Becoming an expert on more topics and knowing where to start helps you provide better client service. That will help maintain your current clients – and attract new ones.
To see how useful Practical Law can be for your firm, take it for a test drive.