Challenges of Small Law Firms & Solo Practices: A 3-Part Series

NOV 02, 2022 | PRACTUS LLP

Challenges of Small Law Firms & Solo Practices: A 3-Part Series

Authored by Valerie Spengler

Launching, managing, and growing a solo or small law firm comes with unique challenges that you may not even be aware of until you face them personally. In an effort to bring transparency to the challenges these small firms face, we’re launching a 3-part series sharing a new perspective on how to overcome them so you can learn from our experience without going in blind. We’ll deep dive into these unique challenges, tips for problem solving when they arise, and how Practus has used these challenges as opportunities to think innovatively and embrace the modern aspect of our firm.  

This upcoming series for solo and small law firms will be broken down into three areas of law firm business development: growing your legal business, administrative/back-office considerations, and developing community and culture in a small firm. While all law firms encounter these challenges, the ways to overcome them are different when you have the limited resources of a small or solo law firm.  

What will you learn in the series?  

1. Growing your legal business 

The strategy for growing your book of business has evolved dramatically over the years, especially in this digital age. Legal marketing has transitioned from word of mouth to digital marketing yet only 14% of solo firms have a marketing budget (compared to 63% of midsize law firms). Furthermore, the remote work environment has transformed the way we engage with others – both internally and externally.   

The first article of our series will give tips on self-led marketing, as well as ways you can leverage outside partnerships to create a comprehensive legal marketing plan that will grow your book of business efficiently and effectively.

2. Managing administrative and back-office tasks 

Managing the admin side of a law firm tends to be the steepest learning curve for attorneys starting their own firm or joining a small firm for the first time. Many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that are done by non-legal personnel in large firms are performed by attorneys of small firms. Solo practitioners end up spending about 45% of their time on non-legal tasks, also known as non-billable administrative work. The second article of this series will cover considerations and ways to improve efficiency when it comes to selecting software systems, invoicing, and bill collection from clients while building a support team that can help take on these tasks, giving you more time to focus on the legal side of your firm.  

3. Developing community and culture 

Law firm culture is often a key factor when employees decide to either stay at your firm or leave it. It’s the glue that keeps everyone connected. It’s also one of the last aspects attorneys focus on when launching a firm from the ground up. The community and culture of your firm should be a top priority as it will help inform and guide your thought process behind making difficult decisions, such as hiring, firing, and budget planning. 

Even if you have a great community and culture at your firm, it can still get lonely at the top. If it’s your first time as a managing partner or being the only attorney at your firm, the pressure and loneliness can take its toll. The third article of this series will discuss how to create a robust social network to connect with other likeminded attorneys, developing a law firm culture that makes people excited to work at your firm, and why building a support system is critical to success during the trying times of running your business.  

At Practus, we understand the challenges of solo and small law firms because we’ve been there. Many of our partners have been there. Together, we’ve not only overcome these challenges, but we’ve also used them to further develop into a modern law firm with a new perspective. We want to help you do the same (or at the very least give some insights into what solo and small firms face during their growth phase).  

The Authors
Valerie Spengler
Read Full Bio

Practus, LLP provides this information as a service to clients and others for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers.

Search Icon