If you are wanting to advance your legal career, knowing the true value of your clients is essential. This is because they are worth even more to you as a lawyer than they are to your law firm – who will only view them as a source of income.
Your clients are extremely important – especially if you are wanting to make the push for Partner. Here are our thoughts on why you should recognise the value of your legal clients.
Analyse Your Current Situation
This blog will look at the value of your legal clients in three scenarios. These are:
- If you are wanting a pay rise
- If you are looking to move law firms
- If you think it is time to apply for Partner
The first thing you will have to do, of course, is to decide what you actually want out of your career. It may come as a surprise, but many lawyers do not actually have a plan for how they want to progress.
Take a good look at your current situation and establish whether you are satisfied or not. If you aren’t, you should then work out what you need to be happy. Is it just more money, or are there more fundamental problems to tackle – such as perhaps being stuck in a toxic law firm culture. You may even decide that you are ready to put together a business plan to make Partner.
Once you have outlined your goals, the next step is to work out how you are going to achieve them. Knowing the true value of your legal clients is just one of the tasks you will need to complete.
Pitching for a Pay Rise
If you deserve a pay rise, you should be able to raise this at your next appraisal. Remember that your law firm will not freely hand over more money, so you have to fully prepare for the meeting and provide a compelling case as to why you deserve a pay rise.
Understanding the value of your legal clients is a very important aspect of securing more money. The other key aspect is knowing your numbers.
The way that law firms value people is based on two factors, the revenue they generate for the firm and the likely impact on the firm if they were to leave. When it comes to your numbers, your firm will want to know four important pieces of information. These are:
- How much you have billed
- How much has been paid
- How quickly it has been paid
- How this compares with other people at your level
If you are supervising others or if you own any client relationships then they will also look at the revenue generated on the files which you are supervising and also the total revenue obtained from the clients that you are managing. It is important to give precise numbers and not round numbers.
It is essential that you have all of these figures to hand. Your law firm is not going to prepare for the appraisal – that is your responsibility. If you go into the meeting without doing your homework, you will have little chance of success.
You will also be expected to answer questions of a more general nature. These include:
- How much work you have brought in
- How you have added more value to the firm
- How can you add more value in the future
Again, you need to know the answers in detail and be ready with specific examples to back up what you say.
Once you have completed your appraisal, it is essential that you evaluate how it went. If you did not come out of the meeting feeling like you were listened to or they understood what you are trying to achieve, perhaps you are not as happy with your current law firm than you originally thought.
Moving Law Firms
There are many potential reasons for wanting to switch firms. Whatever your reason, knowing the value of your clients to you and potentially to a new firm is crucial in being able to secure the move that you want.
The new firm will first of all want to know similar details to those listed above as they will be keen to figure out how valuable your clients are to your current employer. However, they will also want to know their worth to you and potential value to them.
It is at this point where we arrive at the subject of portability. It is all well and good that your clients brought in thousands of pounds in fees for your current employer – but how many of these people will follow you across to the new firm?
You will have to conduct a thorough evaluation of your client base if you want to answer this question. How strong is your relationship with them? Are they likely to stick with you? What added value could they bring to the new firm?
Pushing for Partner
Most firms will ask any would-be Partner to produce a written business plan. As part of your business plan, you will be expected to analyse your relationships with your clients, demonstrate the strength of the relationships, the revenue they have produced for you and others in the firm and the future potential of those clients for the firm.
On the monetary side of things, you will need to outline results for the last three years and include information such as your billing hours (both productive and non-productive) and matter partner billing – whether you carried the work out yourself or passed it to your subordinates.
Your Clients are Vital but your Future is in Your Hands
Understanding the value of your legal clients is an extremely important stepping stone towards achieving your dream career.
When it comes to furthering your legal career, you need to understand that nobody else is going to do it for you – it is all down to you. Achieving your ambitions will take a great deal of effort on your behalf and perhaps even financial expenditure if you believe you would benefit from some training.
It is not going to be easy and it may feel at times that you are totally on your own. That is why we have created our free eBook entitled “Taking Control of your Legal Career”. This extensive guide covers everything you need to know about how to achieve your career goals – from deciding what you want in the first place, to formulating a plan to get you there.
Whatever you are hoping to achieve from your legal career, Jepson Holt can help. Using our inside knowledge of the industry, we can give you the best possible chance of reaching your goals.