New Strategies for Law Firms to Consider in 2024
With 2023 in the rearview, a lot of law firms are only now considering what 2024 looks like. Depending on when your firm’s fiscal year closes, you may already have your 2024 strategy in place.
In either case, there’s always room to think strategically. Whether you’re still making your 2024 plan or open to tweaking the plan in place, here are some things we think you’ll want to consider (if you haven’t already).
1) Prioritize Your Workforce and Take Advantage of Workplace Trends
Strategy begins with your most important assets – your people. Put your finger on the pulse of your staff. What can you do in 2024 to maximize their productivity?
We’ve talked about remote work extensively, but it’s only one thing to consider. Other trends and changes are happening quietly that could affect your firm. Indeed’s Hiring Lab published its 2024 trends, and from it and other data, we can glean a few nuggets of information relevant to law firms:
- The people aging out of the workforce – often a concern for law firms – and the workforce’s increasing comfort with quitting mean law firms need to factor employee satisfaction into their planning.
- Demand for workers is still high in general, though the Thompson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index (LFFI) for Q3 2023 showed that law firm hiring slowed from its rapid growth in prior quarters. Is your benefit strategy making your firm more attractive for employee retention and hiring?
- According to the Indeed report, Wage growth is expected to be between 3.4-4.0% in early 2024. That’s a reduced rate of increase – somewhat matching the decrease in the inflation rate. Analyze your compensation strategy. Increases in salaries may not be as sustainable as distributing bonuses.
- According to an Upwork report, approximately 32% of all American workers will be working remotely in some form by 2025. Many law firms may have considered remote work a temporary trend and are mandating in-office work again. Think about how your workplace strategy will affect you in 2024 and beyond.
2) Use Technology to Add Value – and Increase Rates
Working smarter lets you make more money for less work at a given rate. But if you’re more efficient and moving cases faster, isn’t your time worth more? The LFFI for Q3 2023 showed that many law firms had increased their rates to enhance profitability.
Consider that your technology strategy and your rate strategy are related. As a corollary, make sure your clients know that you’re doing more, faster, and better work so that they understand the value they get for a rate increase.
That means ramping up efficiencies. Tech is the fastest way to do that. Artificial intelligence tools evolved past the “experimental” stage long ago. Look for legal technologies to integrate AI even more – which can be very good. Using the most advanced tools can increase productivity, making every hour of legal work more valuable.
3) Remember Your Data and Find New Ways to Leverage It
Related to technology but grounded in more tangible results are your firm’s data. Some firms have made data collection and analysis integral. Still, with the many changes in the market and the legal business, it’s time to double down on data for your 2024 strategy.
Any strategy that does not include a detailed examination and analysis of your firm’s data is a bad strategy. Period.
- How can you identify and address harmful trends if you don’t look at your data? Forget the big picture for the moment. Focus on the microcosm of your firm, from employees to marketing. Your data is unique to – and uniquely valuable to – you. Leverage it.
- How can you identify and address positive trends if you don’t look at your data? Knowing what you’re getting right is just as important, if not more vital, than knowing what you’re doing wrong. Play to your strengths.
- How can you market efficiently without mining your data? In marketing, data is the difference between a precision shot at a bullseye and a shot in the dark. And marketing isn’t cheap. Spend wisely. Data is the key.
Corollary: Be AI Aware
We’ve talked about the role of artificial intelligence in the legal space and how that technology is evolving with frightening speed. But it isn’t just ChatGPT – companies like Google, Meta, and lesser-known startups like Humane AI are reimagining the role and impact AIs will have on daily lives.
So, what does this mean for law firms?
It depends on what you practice, of course, but if AI is impacting the lives of humans worldwide, it’s impacting your clients, your colleagues, your competitors, and everyone in your sphere – from the government to insurance companies. Educate yourself and keep your strategy flexible in the face of this evolving technology. Who knows where it will be in a year?
2024 Strategic Tips for PI Firms
Our PI firm clients differ vastly. The strategies that work for some won’t work for others. That has to do with everything from scale to specific practice areas. Still, there are a few things to consider that are strategically useful across the spectrum.
- Consider making referrals – both in and out of the firm – a profit center. Just because you don’t want a case doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Explore referral relationships more deeply, especially those in related practice areas outside your wheelhouse.
- Make online reviews a priority. Ensure you have a good foot forward in the online review economy. And ask for reviews whenever the client is happy – not just when the case is resolved.
- If you need to make a significant change, rip the band-aid off now. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish. Procrastination is not a strategy.
2024 Strategic Tips for Eminent Domain Firms
Eminent domain firms generally have a very predictable and cyclical business. Departments of Transportation – while not exactly predictable – are a generally known quantity. Here are a few strategies to ponder if you practice in this area:
- Raise your community profile. Get out and participate in areas where eminent domain projects are happening or will soon. If you can’t participate, advertise. Be seen. It’s surprising how many eminent domain firms do next to no marketing.
- Cultivate attorney relationships. If you practice eminent domain, you know what a mess those cases can be for attorneys who don’t live and breathe them. Seek referrals or offer co-counsel agreements to get more business from attorneys in project areas. Pick up the phone.
- Build or enhance your database. You have a TON of data on everything from properties to appraisers. Put it in order and make it useful. If you know an appraiser for the DOT who routinely uses the same approach and you’ve had success countering it, note that. Build and leverage your proprietary knowledge.
2024 Strategic Tips for Social Security Disability Firms
Working disability cases is about two things: compassion and efficiency. Patience is close behind. However, some strategies you may not have considered before could make 2024 a banner year. Our ideas here revolve around other firms:
- Partner with a workers’ compensation firm. Help workers’ comp clients manage the transition from working to disabled and ensure they’re handled correctly. You can create a lot of value, and since the medical records are already gathered, you have less footwork to perform.
- Partner with a PI firm. The same efficiencies apply, but when someone of retirement or near-retirement age is badly injured in a crash, they may have a disability case soon.
- Leverage your data to refer clients to defective drug and product attorneys. Disability clients are more likely to have taken medications than most – were they harmed by those medications? Or products? Or even malpractice? Look for cases that could provide value to your clients and referral fees to your bottom line.
Start 2024 By Supercharging Your Firm With Better Case Management Software
Yes, we’re biased, but yes, it works. GrowPath’s client firms can work more quickly and efficiently to maximize their profit and client satisfaction simultaneously. Our strategy suggestions above are skewed toward the general, but the most specific difference you can make daily is with your tools – namely, your software.
If you haven’t yet, dig in and get a strategy in writing. It’s not a decision but a guide to making them. And if you do decide that upgrading your legal case management software is part of 2024, we’re eager to help. Schedule a demo to find out how GrowPath can help you.