Growing your law firm from a solo-practice to a law firm that’s staffed with other attorneys can present a myriad of challenges.  Even if you’re already working with a staff of attorneys and want to add more offices, you can still experience growing pains. Let’s take a look at some of the key ways you can keep your law firm healthy while you expand. As a business, you should be prepared for growth. When Smokeball expanded, we focused on where the business needed additional resources and staff as necessary.

Business Separation

The one mistake that most entrepreneurs make, and lawyers are no different, is failing to separate themselves from their business. This separation between yourself and your business is critical as you begin to expand beyond a one-person or micro law firm.  This is true even if you are just starting out as a solo-practitioner. This separation needs to go deeper than the superficial level of “financial separation,” it needs to take place on at all levels of your business.

  • You are not your business. While it’s true that a solo-practitioner is the lifeblood of her practice, even a small one-person law firm should be setup so that it is scalable.  If needed, another lawyer should be able to walk into your law firm and do your job with very little training. Such a scalable system allows you to easily take on new clients beyond your personal capacity to service them and hire new attorneys to take on the extra workload.
  • Scalable processes. Creating processes that can be followed with very little supervision will make it easy for you to hire and train staff for administrative job duties as well.  Secretaries, paralegals, and receptionists should have processes that you’ve created even if you don’t plan to hire for those positions right now.  Once you’re ready, you can easily train new support staff using the systems you’ve created.

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