Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. – Napoleon Hill
Even as the economy improves for some, we see many law firms — without respect to size — continuing to struggle. Mid sized firms seem to be having the greatest difficulty adapting in the evolving marketplace.
In a Forbes article, Basha Rubin suggested that we might be seeing the end of the mid-tier firm. Rubin’s reasoning is that the growth of in-house counsel staff and their uses of temporary legal resources to manage fluctuating workload results in dim prospects for the mid-tier firm.
Step Away From The Ledge, And Remember What It Takes To Flourish and Grow
There is no denying that a number of forces are creating pressure on many firms; however, the fundamentals of what it takes to grow a successful practice remain the same – for firms of any size. Here’s a quick primer.
- Manage obligations to a low and sustainable level. This means:
- Not committing to expensive (and extravagant) office space. Resist the siren song of that newest office tower – and the long term lease that comes with it.
- Limit hiring of permanent lawyer and support staff until an extended and reliable need has been established. In the interim, learn to rely on part time, and temporary resources.
- Focus your practice on an area of law for which you have a passion, and for which there is a significant demand.
- Strengthen and expand your relationships. This means the network of those that you have a direct relationship with, and those that can be developed in person or increasingly through social media.
- And of course, do work of a quality that will bring clients back, and turn them into referral sources.
Success is not about size. In fact, solid growth and profitability are not dependent on or guaranteed by the addition of people, offices or the obligations that accompany them.
Success and stability are about purpose, passion, wise management and a relentless focus on nurturing and growing your network.
How do you see the future for small to mid-sized firms?