If your law firm isn’t growing as fast as you had hoped, you may think working harder and doing more is the answer.
As you fight to keep your practice afloat or push to that next growth milestone, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not only working more hours but also haphazardly trying more marketing tactics and spreading yourself too thin.
And if you’re anything like most lawyers, you’re not only feeling the internal pressure to do more, you’re also constantly bombarded with several new and seemingly exciting marketing tactics a day. If it’s not new marketing tactics, it’s the latest literature on 101 secrets to law firm success.
The problem is it gets exhausting trying to do all the things experts say you need to do to build a successful law practice all the time. And even worse, it doesn’t work.
When you’re trying to keep too many balls in the air at once, you usually engage fewer clients, the work you do for existing clients suffers, and you end up frustrated and burnt out.
But what if you could achieve more by focusing on less?
What most people won’t tell you is that the secret to growing a successful law practice without burning out is not doing more. The answer is to focus on less by eliminating everything that’s not essential and concentrating only on what actually moves the needle in your law practice.
Today, I’m going to share with you the top three metrics you need to measure for law firm success so you can ditch the overwhelm and focus on what really matters.
Why you must get clear on how to measure law practice success
I have seen far too many lawyers try to grow their law practice with a combination of will, hope, and guesswork.
But as you may already realize, operating in this fashion leads to inconsistent and unpredictable results, leaving your law practice vulnerable to failure.
Not to mention it’s stressful.
It can be hard to fall asleep at night when you don’t know how you will get your next client or if you have enough revenue coming in to cover your expenses.
The only way to build a law practice that you love and can rely on to support your lifestyle is to build your law practice based on clear numbers and repeatable systems.
All successful businesses, including law practices, run based on metrics— not hope, willpower, or guesswork.
The reason it’s important to base your business on metrics is because metrics won’t deceive you or mislead you the way emotions can. Metrics aren’t personal—they are objective. And most importantly, they can be measured and improved upon.
Your metrics give you a clear road map that helps you invest your resources wisely, including your time, energy, attention, and money, to achieve your desired outcomes.
When you don’t have a clear road map based on metrics, it’s easy to waste your finite resources on activities and investments that don’t deliver results. And this is what ultimately leads to burnout and law firm failure.
That’s why it’s important to get clear on what metrics you need to measure and know like the back of your hand. You don’t need to measure and improve everything—you just need to measure and improve the right things.
Here are the top 3 metrics you must measure to grow a successful law practice.
The number of initial meetings on your calendar
Struggling lawyers get to the end of the month and wonder why they didn’t engage enough clients.
But successful lawyers are proactive. If you want to make sure you always have enough clients each month, start tracking how many initial meetings you are booking on your calendar and what activities you need to consistently perform in order to generate those bookings.
In our program we teach you all the proven ways to fill up your calendar, starting with free marketing methods such as:
- Organic social media posts that result in inquiries to your practice
- Networking at local BNI and Chamber of Commerce and with other professionals who serve the people you serve
- Posts in relevant groups asking curiosity questions after setting proper context
- Speaking at affinity groups like real estate offices, local daycare centers, churches, “new mom” stores and kids play spaces in your community
And to make these activities actually bear fruit, we provide our lawyers with:
- A lead magnet + follow-up system so you can stay in touch with and build relationships with prospects who aren’t quite ready for your services
- A high value, high converting offer (i.e. the Family Wealth Planning Session that is part of our life and legacy planning process converts at 75-80% – for some lawyers, 100% — at average fees of $4k-$6k);
- A service you love to deliver—our lawyers love delivering the life & legacy planning service, and their clients love it too and refer everyone they know, which compounds the free marketing.
As I mentioned above, we teach our lawyers to book initial meetings called Family Wealth Planning Sessions which are working meetings that help clients get clear on their goals and learn what it would be like to work with you.
The number of Family Wealth Planning Sessions or initial meetings that you need to book on your calendar each month depends on your revenue and lifestyle goals.
We advise our lawyers who want to build a solo practice where they take home $100k a year to book 2-3 initial meetings a week or 8-10 initial meetings per month.
For our lawyers who want to build a staffed practice that allows them to take home $250k per year, we advise them to book 4 new initial meetings per week or 12-15 initial meetings per month on their calendar.
And for our lawyers who want to build a 7-figure firm that generates $1M a year and allows them to take home $350k-$450k, we teach them to book 6 initial meetings per week once they have the staff in place to support serving that many clients.
Being intentional about having the right number of initial meetings booked on your calendar will give you a clear path to hitting your monthly revenue goals based on real numbers instead of hope and guesswork.
Your engagement rate
If you’re booking lots of initial meetings on your calendar, but none of those clients are engaging your services, it will be hard to meet your revenue goals.
That’s why we teach our attorneys that having an 80% close rate or higher is imperative.
When you engage at least 80% of the clients you meet with, it allows you the freedom to block off just the right amount of initial meetings on your calendar and no more. That way, you have more free time and energy available to spend on other activities.
Also, once you get your engagement rate to 80%, your revenue becomes predictable, and you never have to lie awake at night wondering if you’ll hit your income goals for the month.
If you’re not currently engaging 80% of the clients you meet with, it may seem like an ambitious goal, but I assure you it’s not only possible but common amongst our lawyers. In fact, many of our lawyers have a 100% engagement rate.
That’s because we train our lawyers with all of the communication skills they didn’t teach you in law school and we give them the exact proven process for conducting a high-engaging session. Our lawyers lead heart-centered Family Wealth Planning Sessions that create connection with their prospects, don’t feel salesy, and result in a much higher engagement rate than running initial meetings the traditional way.
If you want to have consistent revenue and run your practice with confidence and predictability, then measuring and improving your engagement rate is essential.
Your pricing, packaging, and fees
While booking enough initial meetings and having a high enough engagement rate are two of the core pillars of building a successful law firm, if you aren’t charging enough, you will find yourself overworked and underpaid.
How you structure your fees and how much your charge matters.
If you are still charging by the hour, you are greatly limiting your income potential. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you’re anything like most attorneys, you don’t want to spend every waking hour working.
So billing by the hour caps your income based on how many hours you’re able and willing to work.
Not only does the billable hour model cap your income— clients hate it. Being billed by the hour forces clients to focus on how much you’re costing them instead of the value you’re providing.
Before they joined us, many lawyers who tried to transition away from the billable hours model found themselves charging too low flat fees.
The reason many lawyers charge too low flat fees is because they are afraid no one will pay more. But when you charge flat fees that are too low, it’s impossible to provide a meaningful service and sustain your practice—let alone grow it.
That’s why we teach our lawyers to ditch the billable hour model and too low flat fees for a model that’s more scalable and sustainable. We call it “affordable premium” fees. Our lawyers are able to consistently charge average fees of $4k-$6k per engagement that clients are happy to pay because they are providing a service clients genuinely want and need and are packaged in such a way that allows the client to choose their own fee.
We also help our lawyers to overcome mindset challenges like “imposter syndrome” and feeling guilty for charging “affordable premium” fees, or when they’re held back by the fear of scaring away potential clients when they increase their prices.
But it all boils down to knowing and believing that you’re providing a truly meaningful service that actually works and protects your clients, compared to the traditional way of estate planning that does not. And then being able to explain how this enormous value makes you different from the other lawyers charging less gives you the confidence to hold true to this pricing structure that your clients will be happy to pay and that supports you to grow a law business you love.
In summary, the secret to growing a successful law practice is to focus only on what matters. Make sure you’re focusing only on the activities that will help you book enough initial meetings based on your unique revenue goals, that you’re engaging at least 80% of the clients you meet with or are working on improving your engagement rate, and that you’re charging at least $4-6k per engagement so you can invest the necessary time to deliver a truly meaningful and valuable service.
Now you know the top 3 metrics you need to measure if you want to create a law practice and life you love.
If you want access to our done-for-you resources and proven systems as well as one-on-one coaching to help you track and improve these metrics, schedule a call with a Law Business Advisor, and they will help you discover if you’re a good fit for our program.