Common Challenges Law Firms Face
Law firms face new challenges in the 21st century, and these are set to continue into 2021. Let’s take a look at them.
An Increasingly Competitive Market
One of the biggest challenges that now exist for every law firm is competition. There are more firms out there than ever before, from large firms offering every type of legal services to smaller and specialized firms that can offer a personal experience. Clients have many choices, which means that law firms must do their best to stand out or face losing business.
In particular, the internet has been a curse and a blessing for law firms. Thinking positively, firms can use the internet to market and attract clients far and wide. They are no longer restricted to the local area. If they can offer online services to connect with clients at home, this is even better for business. However, the internet also means that competitors are more visible than ever before too. If law firms do not know how to use legal marketing to their advantage, they risk being forgotten about and not gathering new clients.
Two more problems exist when it comes to acquiring new clients. One is that there are now DIY legal solutions offered online. For instance, this includes creating your own will when you purchase an affordable package on the internet. People like the idea that they can sort their own legal needs and do not need to spend a lot of money to do it. Not only are DIY solutions creating competition to traditional firms, but the second problem is that they are driving price expectations down. Some clients now see legal service costs as expensive because they have seen cheaper alternatives elsewhere.
Experts are In Demand
Often, law firms and other businesses believe they can gain more clients when they are perceived as a jack of all trades. However, in the 21st century, this is no longer true, and it can actually have the opposite effect. Offering a lot of different services can actually damage a law firm and its business.
Since there is more competition in the law industry, law firms have to do whatever they can to stand out. In particular, this means becoming more specialized and offering something unique to clients. No longer are they looking for a lot of legal services in one place. They are seeking specialized services and an expert that can help them with their chosen subject matter.
A lot of young law firms that are new to the industry realize this need for specialization. But more traditional law firms need to adapt to ensure they continue to keep their current clients and can attract more in the future.
Lawyers are Stressed
If there is one industry that is highly affected by stress, it is the law industry. In recent years, it has been identified that lawyers are at risk of suffering from mental health problems due to the continuous workload and number of working hours they face every week. In particular, stress is a very dangerous state that can lead to depression and long-term anxiety, as well as physical health complications. While many years ago, individuals were to blame for their poor mental health, there is now more responsibility attributed to employers. In other words, law firms now have a duty to help their employees and provide them with the assistance they need to avoid becoming overworked and stressed out.
Clients Are Looking for Cheaper Legal Solutions
We have touched on this point already. However, it is worth going into more detail about this one since there are several reasons why clients are now looking for cheaper legal solutions. Indeed, the first reason is that they have already seen DIY legal services online. This has affected the cost expectation when it comes to professional services. They believe that since they have seen similar services online at a cheaper price, this is what they can expect from a law firm. Indeed, they are shocked and unwilling to accept a more expensive service despite being conducted by a professional. In this way, the perceived value of legal services has been damaged, causing a problem for law firms.
Another concern for law firms is now understanding that people want transparency when it comes to pricing. So, more firms are advertising their rates online and the price that clients will be paying. For law firms that do not do this or have higher prices, they are losing business. No longer are most clients looking for training and expertise. They are now making their decisions based on prices. Of course, some law firms realize this and offer lower prices than their competition to gain more clients.
How Law Firms Can Tackle These Challenges
All these challenges law firms face could disrupt business. However, the good news is that there are solutions to these problems. Let’s take a look at how law firms can successfully tackle these challenges.
Start to Specialize
Perhaps it is time for law firms to consider becoming specialized. Clients want experts, and if lawyers have specific training and experience, this must be utilized. This is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market. In particular, this is going to help younger firms that do not have a reputation yet. This way, a law firm can become known for its specialty. A jack of all trades is no longer what a lot of clients are looking for. So, if a law firm is offering a lot of legal services, perhaps it will be beneficial to drop some that are not popular.
Focus on legal Marketing
More people are looking online now when they want legal services. Due to this and the growth in competitors, law firms should now focus on legal marketing. Not only is this going to retain customers, but it is also going to attract new clients. You can keep them engaged, as well as allow people to make informed decisions. You can spread the word about the legal services you offer and build the law firm’s reputation. Marketing is how every new and experienced business is going to continue to enjoy success in 2021.
Create a Healthy Working Environment
Stress and burnout are two problems that go hand-in-hand. All law firms need to make a better effort at creating a healthy working environment that does not encourage working 24/7. While billing hours and making clients happy is essential for law firms to be successful, employees that are not happy and are overworked will cause more of an effect. Therefore, law firms should focus on ways they can lower stress levels for all employees.
There are several ways that law firms can work on creating a healthy working environment. One simple way to do this is to make employees feel appreciated. This can be through regular meetings with the office manager, rewards for good performance, and employee incentives. Group sessions to bond and work well with others is also a good way for people to feel accepted and enjoy their working environment. Law firms are notorious for handling a lot of cases and working long hours. There has to be a balance for all employees to avoid burn out and other negative issues from developing.
There are a lot of challenges that a law firm can face in the 21st century. In particular, increasing competition in the legal market is a significant factor. Law firms will have to ensure they are evolving with the times to stay in the game. Efforts will have to be made to gather new clients, whether through offering specialized legal services or concentrating on legal marketing online. There is no doubt that experts are in demand, and people want those with the relevant experience and expertise fighting their corner. Law firms have to ensure this is something they can offer and consider the price it will be provided at.
But law firms also have to start taking care of their staff too. It is no secret that many associates are stressed, which can lead to health problems and productivity issues in the workplace. Through performance-based incentives and reward programs, law firms can start to look after their employees and make sure that they enjoy working there.