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Posts published in “Business development”

9 PMAP Website Resources to Help You Manage your Law Firm

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In recognition of National Small Business Week, check out a few of our favorite practice management and technology website resources to help you manage your small firm (or large firm):

  1. Start a Practice - Are you planning to start a practice? Navigate these resources to find tools to help you develop a business plan, create a budget, decide on an entity and firm name, find the right location, get the proper licenses/insurance, market, prepare for emergencies, choose technology, plus much more!
  2. Close a Practice - You're thinking about winding down your practice...but you have no clue where to begin. Check out the PMA's guide to close your office plus how to transition out of practice based on a variety of situations. We even have resources for succession planning!
  3. Firm or Law Partner Changes - Things happen: Lawyers decide to leave in order to form new partnerships, go solo, or dissolve practices. Our lawyers in transition section will help you navigate through a variety of situations. If you cannot locate a particular situation, contact pmap@scbar.org for assistance.
  4. Build Your Practice - Whether you want to explore client development or learn how to build your business, our business development resources provide a variety of tips from a variety of marketing resources.
  5. Prepare for the Worst - With Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off officially June 1st and manmade or natural disasters happening every day, it is important for law firms to create a disaster and emergency preparedness plan. Check out our Prepare page for tips and also request a free copy of our disaster handbook, if you do not one.
  6. Time and Business Management - How should you manage your time and stay organized in your business? Check out a few great tips here. (P.S. Don't forget to check out our SC Small Firm blog for more organization/time management tips and the PMAP Forms Bank for correspondence, checklists, plus more.)
  7. Technology Tips - Whether you are interested in learning more about technology or looking for a specific tech topic (software, security, consultants, etc.), our tech tips section will help you navigate through some of the most important decisions in managing your practice.
  8. Legal Research (for South Carolina Bar members) - Looking to conduct research for a particular case or cases? Check out the South Carolina Bar's free legal research member benefit Fastcase by logging into the Bar's website. Our FAQ's page will help show you how.
  9. Resources- Can't find a specific resource you're looking for? Don't forget the South Carolina Bar has over 160 resources available to active Bar members in good standing via the Lending Library. Also, check out the PMAP Videos Bank and the FAQ Bank for helpful tips and information.

Contact the Practice Management Assistance Program for further assistance in managing your law practice.

Does Your Firm Have a Website?

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Did you know that having no website is like handing out blank business cards? Scary, right? But, it does not have to be!

If you are truly interested in growing your practice, you need to launch a great website! But HOW? Let's explore six tips to get you started on your journey to build your first website:

What is your purpose?

First, determine who you are marketing to. Yes, you want to market to new clients but what type of practice do you have and what type of practice areas do you want potential clients to know you specialize in?

Who is your competition?

Ask yourself: Who are my competitors in those practice areas? Do if they have a strong or weak website? Does their website answer the basic questions any potential client would want to know about their firm? Be sure to do this as this will help you (or your webmaster) build your own website.

What makes you/your practice unique?

Make a list of what sets your firm apart from all the rest (including your competitors). This is called your firm's unique selling proposition. Ask yourself: "what would be meaningful for my potential clients/guests to see?" Use this to establish your goals, expectations, and measures of success.

What guidelines should you consider?

Take a moment to review these important rules regarding your duties to prospective clients: Rule 1.18 and lawyer advertising: Rule 7.1-7.5 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. You can also e-mail or speak with a Risk Management Advisor here at the South Carolina Bar.

Who will help build your website?

Decide if you have the skills to build your website yourself or if you need to hire a webmaster. If you decide to hire someone to help you, don't worry. The decisions you make now will help your webmaster know what direction you want to take.

Have you reserved a domain?

Decide what you want your domain to be. Your domain name should be focused around your practice. What do you think most prospects would type in on their internet browser to find your law practice? If you're not sure, poll your staff, colleagues, friends, and family to see what their response might be. Check out these tips from Attorney at Work on how to design the best law firm website (and from GoDaddy on how to choose the best domain).

Look for additional tips in the March edition of SC Lawyer magazine. In the meantime, contact pmap@scbar.org or eworley@scbar.org if need further assistance.

Are you listening? How understanding client feedback can help your business…

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What do clients say about your services? Client feedback is a crucial component in increasing client satisfaction and loyalty, just like any business.

Whether you gather client feedback through realistic discussions or provide general surveys, not only is it important to gather information, but also, to understand what clients are expressing. By doing so, this allows you to make changes to not only to your services and systems, but also to how you deliver services and systems to clients.

Here are a few questions to ask clients about the services you provide. Also, check out these three simple tips from Ruby Receptionists to make every client’s experience great and another article on how to become a trusted advisor from Attorney at Work.

Consider that by positively improving your client's experiences, clients will share their positive thoughts and feedback with others. This in turn, will hopefully lead to increased firm profits, not from higher rates and fees, but by simply hearing what clients are saying and making it your goal to provide quality client experiences through your own clients' feedback.

Written by: Emily Worley, PMAP Assistant, SC Bar

Edited by: Courtney Kennaday, Director, PMAP, SC Bar

Build Your Network!

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Bankers, accountants, financial advisors, physicians, realtors, and even other attorneys can all be a good referral source. It’s important to maintain regular contact with other professions so that your practice is the first source they think of. Here are six great tips to build your networks from Tips for Lawyers and a few tips on how to master the meet and greet (Attorney at Work). Check out other great networking resources in the South Carolina Bar Lending Library and don’t forget to join the Solo and Small Firm Section. The Section is a great way to receive discounts on select CLE’s, participate in the members-only listserv, meet other solo and small firm attorneys across the state, not to mention lots more! E-mail pmap@scbar.org for more information.

Do You Have a Mobile-Friendly Website?

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Check your website with this Google Mobile Friendly Test Tool to see if your site is mobile device friendly. Why? Because, if it is not, it will have a significant impact on how Google ranks your website and where your website appears in mobile searches. Enter the URL (your web address) through  Google Search Console to get the data, tools, and diagnostics to create and maintain a Google-friendly website. PMAP = Practice Management Assistance for Bar members. Just email pmap@scbar.org.