Mentoring helps a breakaway law firm to launch successfully in adverse market conditions

Our client was a newly established legal practice run by an experienced lawyer. The latter had chosen, along with a small number of colleagues, to move on from his previous firm when it merged with a competitor to become a leading international law firm with over 200 partners. The merger had been prompted by the increasingly tough competition in the industry, which had resulted in many law firms suffering and, in some cases, closing down.

Our challenge

The people in the new practice were experienced in their areas of expertise but had never run a business before, and were uncertain about how they would build the business in the future. The immediate objective was to help the firm draw up and implement its business development strategy – firstly to survive and then to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

What we did

First, we set up a series of meetings with the principal to help him establish clearly what his objectives for the business were and to ascertain the collateral available to achieve them.

We worked with him to pinpoint what was unique about the firm and its offerings. The key point to emerge was the principal’s and his team’s reputation for being able not only to deliver a top quality service, but also to:

  • develop strong personal relationships with their clients, and
  • understand the broader consequences of how the work they delivered affected both the client company and the individuals involved.

To help the business to function in a commercially viable way, we suggested some basic systems and processes to run in parallel with the legal systems that were needed.

Next, we identified those contacts and ex-clients of the principal and his team who were not excluded due to non-compete clauses. We produced a mail-out announcing the new firm and inviting recipients to a launch event at the client’s new premises.

In parallel, we brought in an experienced small business web developer to develop and launch a website outlining the firm’s services, ethos and experience. We devised a tailored social media plan consisting of blogs, tweets and regular e-newsletter releases on best practice issues within the firm’s area of expertise.

In addition, we worked with the principal to raise his profile and that of the firm via a series of public speaking activities.

We set targets for each member of staff – not only for revenue generation, but also for networking and business development activities.

We isolated the critical success factors (CSFs) for the future of the business, and set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance against the CSFs. Together with the client, we reviewed progress monthly and agreed corrective actions.

Using the TCii network, we made targeted introductions to complement and supplement the prospects already identified, and set up a programme of introductory meetings.

The outcome

The fee income of the client’s business went from nil to over £500,000 in the first year of trading. To celebrate this achievement, all clients and key prospects were invited to an end-of-year thank-you party at the client’s premises.  The firm is currently on course to achieve its year two target of £1.4 million.

The firm has recruited a new partner to help accelerate business growth, and plans are in place to take on more staff in the short to medium term as the business develops.

For more information on how we can help law firms to grow profitably:

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