What successful law firms do not want you to know they are doing

Written by Tom Stansfield on 9th August 2021

I read an article recently about a Lawyer (and business owner) who had recently sold their business for £61 million, and it got me thinking about what makes a practice worth that much money and what does the process of building a practice like this look like.

In the article, Mark Ellis (the seller) said “the key to building value in a service business was to create a recurring revenue stream not dependent on any individual.”

When building a practice with a recurring revenue stream, it is important for the firm to build a relationship based client model and to move away from the traditional transactional model employed by many traditional highstreet firms.

If we take private client as an example, I have seen and heard many practitioners say “We see Wills as a loss leader and for us, it’s an ‘in’ to get future probate business”. This doesn’t mean that the firm has struck up a relationship based model with the client, merely that they are looking to produce future income for the firm. Whilst this is good future planning, there is no guarantee of future business and there are things that could be done to grow a recurring income stream whilst developing better relationships with clients in the short term.

WillSuite is a technology company and much of our business comes from word of mouth, and from inbound traffic (not too dissimilar from a solicitor’s marketing model). Our model is relationship based and with a number of key similarities to that of Mark’s business. Namely that we provide certainty of cost through fixed fee software.

Many successful law firms that we are working with all have one thing in common, the adoption of technology (and this isn’t strictly a plug for WillSuite). Whether it’s case management, document production, or client facing information capture tools, they are helping firms to grow.

Consequently, WillSuite does have a ‘business in a box’ solution providing all of the above and our clients are using all of these tools to better communicate with clients, to draft documents efficiently, all with the added benefit of compliance.

If you’re not yet convinced about the power of a relationship-based marketing model or that technology is providing business wins, then perhaps this third secret being implemented by law firms might help you grow your practice. The successful firms aren’t going after one client at a time. They are looking for opportunities to develop relationships with other businesses, charities and groups to market their products or services to a wider audience.

Of course, playing the numbers game has its challenges, but by working with strategic partners you can partially overcome the traditional 6-touch strategy. Getting clients to know, like, and trust you becomes easier when your service is endorsed by another service provider in which the client/prospect already places trust.

WillSuite will soon be hosting another marketing session geared towards implementing strategies that will enable faster business growth and to help practitioners achieve predetermined business goals. 

We are interested to get your thoughts on the strategies discussed and would love to hear (and share) any success stories which will benefit businesses within our sector.

Finally, if you would like to read the full article about the practice which sold for £61 million, please click ‘here’.