The year 2023 has been a challenging one for law firms. The Labor Department reported a decline in legal job opportunities during July, and Wells Fargo found productivity decreased by 4.1% resulting in fewer billable hours, and hiring for full-time lawyers has seen a decrease. Given the economic climate, it’s hardly surprising revenue growth has not maintained the same pace as previous years. If your law firm is feeling the impact of this year, then keep reading to see how you’re able to survive these economic downturns.
While it may seem logical to reduce budget spending in marketing, this is the opposite of what you want to do if you want your firm to thrive. Your law firm still needs to run through tough times. Rather than cut back on marketing (which would be a mistake), your marketing strategies simply need to pivot and adapt to the times. In general, marketing strategies should evolve and adapt to the times as your firm grows. Marketing generates visibility for a law firm, which is why it’s crucial to capitalize on the opportunity and dominate the space, while others may reduce their marketing efforts. Effective marketing educates potential clients, builds the firm's value, and draws in new business. As the economy improves or in waves, potential clients will remember your firm in their community. Investing in marketing is non-negotiable for a law firm that aims to succeed and be remembered in the community during good and bad economic times. Marketing is what creates a solid foundation for the future of your firm.
Swift action to address pressing issues in your firm isn’t the wrong move. It’s natural to want to protect your firm after all. However, don’t scramble to make some rash decisions. However, making impulsive decisions such as layoffs, freezing spending, or reducing salaries can actually do more harm than good in the long run. These solutions are short-term band-aids that may give temporary relief but will create additional issues down the line. Layoffs will only work for a few months, then you’ll have to go through the rehiring and training process again, potentially costing more money than what the layoffs were supposed to initially save.
Pause and consider, “How can we get through this without short-term quick fixes?” or alternatively, “What can we do to attain long-term benefits?”
Every company is bound to face difficulties, including economic downturns. Don’t lose sight of your firm’s long-term goals and focus on the bigger picture. Short-term issues (and solutions) shouldn’t shake the foundational core of your firm.
Well not entirely, but certain legal practices don’t lose their demand. Unlike goods and services, the need for legal services is not indispensable and rarely declines in a recession. Unless you specialize directly in the economy with businesses, you won’t feel much decrease in potential cases. For example, DUI cases may decline as people decide to drink at home to save money and thus domestic violence cases may rise as a result.
Lawyers who have a comprehensive understanding of their niche dynamics can strategically position themselves to benefit from any changes in their practice area
Just keep in mind that most people are not recession-proof. While they may need legal services, they may also require financial aid. Consider payment plans, alternative fees, and other pricing strategies to help accommodate tough times and keep your clientele satisfied.