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The Best Law Firms Share Some Common Qualities

In 12 years of practicing law, I have worked with many different firms. When I made the decision to start my own practice, it was a time when I began thinking about the characteristics that make the best law firm. Do you consider employee benefits, culture and turnover rates when determining which law firms are the best? Do you concentrate on the characteristics that impact a law firms most valuable commodity, the client? I believe that the best law firms have the highest quality lawyers and staff who are committed to ethical standards and willing to fight for their clients.

A leader is a key ingredient in a law firm’s success. Good leaders will have a clear vision for the firm’s future, a commitment towards serving clients and a desire find other like-minded people who believe in the firm’s brand. In my experience, I’ve seen that successful leaders are able to quickly adapt to change and grow with success. They can lose touch with those who helped them grow to be a powerful leader. It’s easy to move from a situation of weekly associate/partner lunches to seldom, if ever, seeing partners in the office. The best leaders in law firms have an excellent understanding of the legal work that is being done, the satisfaction of clients and the job satisfaction of their employees. These important factors can be lost with growth and success, but great leaders will keep their eyes open for these key factors even as the firm grows exponentially.

The best law firms have compassion for clients. These firms’ attorneys are not interested in sharing their successes with clients. It’s about listening to the client and determining their overall goal. The firm will also show empathy for their situation. Many lawyers look at their clients and see dollar signs. Many attorneys see the potential to bill their clients or the total fees they will make on a contingent for a large settlement. They forget to remember the most fundamental ethical consideration for attorneys: acting in the client’s best interests. You can’t have a successful practice if you don’t take care of your clients and satisfy them. This mindset results in high turnover rates for firms that make billing the priority. They fire their lawyers and hire new attorneys to start the process. Client dissatisfaction can result. Clients may not be able to tell from month to month which attorney they are dealing with.

A narrow focus on one area of law is another key characteristic of the best law firms. General practitioners are long gone. Complex laws can change quickly depending on new case law or legislation. The best law firms are those that specialize in one area of law, and they excel at it. They keep up with the latest developments and are able to make changes in their practice area. They can quickly change strategies and become an authority for their clients with their narrow focus. Avoid the lawyer who claims they can practice in all areas. It is possible to do so, but it is important to remember that opposing counsel may be more focused. You may be able to find the golden nugget of information they need that could make your case win for you and make it a success for your client.

When deciding which one is the best, there are many other factors you should consider. This may be the topic of a future article. These are the main factors that this author believes are important to consider when trying find out what makes a company one of the top.

 


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