What Does a Law Firm Manager Do? 5 Roles and Attributions

Even though law firm managers have many responsibilities, they must know how to run a small law firm and fulfill all of these roles, as they are vital in today’s business environment. In addition, they should know and be familiar with the law to provide the most effective response for their clients. However, their roles don’t stop here. Whether you are a manager of a small or large law firm, there are many things that you must do to succeed. 

Staff Management

Managing law firm staff is crucial to a firm’s profitability. It requires a lot of time, resources, and effort. However, keeping talented employees can pay off big in the long run. Moreover, a firm’s staff can impact its ability to serve clients.

For a law firm, hiring the right people is the best way to manage current and future success. Unfortunately, recruiting the best can take a lot of work, especially because competition is fierce. In addition, it can be difficult to keep them happy. Inefficient staffing can lead to client disputes, ethical snafus, and other problems. Finally, replacing a good employee who leaves for the competition can cost thousands of dollars.

There are some tools and strategies available if you want to improve productivity.

  • For instance, a project management tool can help you run your firm more efficiently.
  • In addition, a cloud-based communication solution can help you connect with your team and your clients.
  • You can also set up or participate in (virtual) social events, conferences, legal workshops, charities, etc., to connect better with your current clients and staff members, the potential talent you want to attract to your firm, and potential collaborators. 

Business Development

The first thing to consider when you learn how to run a small law firm is that developing a business is a process that takes time. It begins with creating and implementing a business development and marketing plan, besides budget, timelines, etc.

It is also a process that identifies new business opportunities. This can include geographic expansion and adding new practice areas. This can also include cross-selling to existing clients. Developing a business can pay off for your firm for years to come.

However, business development is an essential component of law firm marketing. It positions the firm to meet potential client’s needs and establishes a firm’s brand in the marketplace.

Therefore, law firm managers must identify business opportunities, develop pitches, and provide ongoing marketing support for their firms. This can include participating in trade shows, directing internal communications, and updating the firm’s website. These individuals will also engage with lawyers and other firm personnel in building referral and bonus systems, business storytelling, etc. 

Budgeting and Planning

An effective budget for your law firm can make a big difference in your finances. It can help you oversee your financial health and get you on the road to success. However, budgeting for a law firm can be a daunting process. Therefore, hiring a certified accountant or chief financial officer is a good idea to help you manage your budget.

First, you need to set goals. They are benchmarks to help you identify where to cut costs and where to put your capital. It is also a good idea to have a strategy for lean times. A well-thought-out budget can also help you determine how much money you will need to make to meet your goals.

Next, you should determine how much you expect to make each month. You should also include mandatory expenses for legal professionals and malpractice insurance.

Risk Management and Compliance

Compliance is a set of actions an organization must take to adhere to regulations and internal procedures. This is usually a “box-checking” approach. Risk management is more of a strategic focus. It helps organizations identify, assess, and mitigate risks to keep them from becoming non-compliant and to maintain integrity. Risk management also forecasts the impact of risks on an organization.

Bringing risk management and compliance together can create a real impact. For example, non-compliance can lead to expensive fines and damage your firm’s reputation. On the other hand, a successful risk management and compliance program is well-defined and continuously monitored. 

Client Engagement

Managing client engagement requires a comprehensive approach to understanding and responding to your current and prospective client’s needs. This includes understanding how your clients consume information, how to keep them close, when and how to bill them, respond to their needs, and convince them to bring more business to your firm. Again, you can use legal technology to help you with this task.

To succeed in managing client engagement, law firms should have a modern CRM solution in addition to the existing legal software dedicated to improving productivity, automating some tasks, and helping managers deal better with everything daily practice throws at them. 


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