Is being short staffed losing you clients? Lawyers are continuously finding themselves being pulled in different directions. This makes it difficult to give client relations the deference they are due. Solo practices or small law firms are often disadvantaged by having to take on marketing and administrative roles in addition to litigation and casework.
Despite having more non-law related duties, many law firms are reluctant to hire supporting staff. We already discussed the importance of the paralegal to a law firm as multifaceted tools that can tackle not only administrative tasks but legal tasks as well. Keep reading to see how lack of legal support staff could be costing your law firm.
Loss of Potential Clients
As any practicing lawyer could tell you, there is a lot of competition. Leads are precious and should be treated (and followed up) with the utmost care. A sloppy email reply or phone call could jeopardize the potential client you worked so hard to get. If you get so far as to meet a potential client in person and you have a cluttered, disorganized office, you’re hurting your professional image.
Lawyers likely don’t have the necessary time to devote to interacting with clients. This makes support staff an incredibly important asset to every lawyer and small law firm. They help ensure that a potential client has a positive first impression of your firm. Having a receptionist or other type of support staff can serve to help you take control of your first impression. Paralegals and other legally-trained staff are qualified to respond to legal inquiries. They can focus on outreach and correspondence, leaving lawyers to focus on casework.
On the other hand, having poorly trained staff can be more of a detriment than having no support staff at all. Regardless of how brilliant a lawyer you may be, first impressions are incredibly powerful, and your staff is seen as an extension of yourself. If your law firm secretary or legal assistant is inciting negative first impressions, it could overshadow your qualifications and cause a potential client to lose any inclination to work with you.
Loss of Current Clients
The American Bar Association has recorded the most common malpractice lawsuits that were filed. Of the 21 types of errors listed, nearly 50% of those types of mistakes were administrative in nature:
#4 – Failure to File Documents
#5 – Failure to Calendar Properly
#6 – Failure to Know Deadline
#12 – Failure to React to Calendar
#14 – Error in Public Record Search
#15 – Clerical Errors
#21 – Lost File & Document
Legal secretaries, legal assistants, and paralegals are invaluable for their ability to oversee the “maintenance” side of casework. These specialized legal support staff can ease law firm burdens and carry out administrative tasks related to cases. This minimizes the likelihood of any of documents going missing or the like. No matter how large or small a law firm is, every lawyer benefits from having trained staff handling the tedious – although important – clerical side of the legal field.
Client satisfaction is one of the most significant indicators that solo and small law firms use to determine whether a practice is successful or not. For good measure too: 45% of surveyed firms reported growth due to positive client relationships that led to more referrals. These numbers are a powerful indication of how important it is to seek, create and maintain positive client relationships.
Not only is making time for clients more difficult than before – pleasing them has gotten harder as well. Nearly two-thirds of small law firms report that clients are more demanding and have higher expectations for less money.
If you believe that being short staffed is causing you to lose clients, Attorney Business Consulting can help bridge the gap of not having adequate legal support staff. If you have recently hired staff for your law firm, our legal support training programs will quickly get them up to speed and prime them to become assets for law firm growth. Contact the experts at Attorney Business Consulting today for a free consultation!