Why the average law firm doesn’t grow

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Over the last couple of posts I talked about legal fees. The average lawyer is paid average fees and they will continue to be paid average fees as long as they don’t do anything to distinguish themselves from other lawyers.

Similarly, the average law firm doesn’t grow. They have approximately the same number of clients today as they had six months ago. Six months from now that number will be approximately the same.

They may see spikes in new business, a rapid influx of new clients here and there, but in the growth department, most law firms aren’t seeing large and steady increases in clients or revenue.

But some firms do see that kind of growth. Every month they see more clients and higher revenue than the previous month. They aren’t churning, they are growing.

What do these lawyers do that average lawyers don’t do?

They provide exceptional service.

When you provide average service, nobody cares. “Yeah, my lawyer was okay–he did the job I paid him for. . .”. Yawn.

When you do more, when you provide clients with exceptional service that surprises and delights them, they’re going to talk about you. “Wow, if you’re looking for an attorney you should definitely call mine. She is absolutely amazing!”

Lawyers who are growing give people something to talk about. They provide exceptional service that makes clients feel that they got more than they paid for. These clients will not only recommend those attorneys, they will often go out of their way to do so.

They’ll talk about them to anyone who will listen. They’ll keep their eyes and ears open, looking for people who need them. They’ll recommend them, send traffic to their web site, and invite people to their next event.

The law of reciprocity says so.

When you give something to someone, there is a psychological compulsion to reciprocate. Give them what they paid for, it’s a fair exchange. Give them more than what they paid for or expected and they will return the favor.

If you want to charge higher fees than other lawyers, or you want to bring in more clients and see your firm grow, it all comes down to service. Average service, average fees and (lack of) growth. Exceptional service, higher fees and steady growth.

Fortunately, since the average attorney provides average service, it doesn’t take much to stand out. A little creativity and effort on your part and you’ll be the one people are talking about.

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