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Chapter 1/6

The Law Firm Manager: The Leadership and Management Skills You Need to Succeed

Managing a Small Law Firm

3 min read

Leadership and Management Skills You Need to Succeed 

You launched your business! Congratulations! Once people clear that hurdle and have their business off the ground, they probably feel ready to sit back and relax for a while. But wait! Managing your law firm is a constant and developing process that requires your attention. 

Your business often feels like you’re playing that hammer the hedgehog game at the fair—as soon as you solve one problem or get one part of your business running smoothly, another thing pops up that needs attention. In fact, success in one area often reveals problems in another. For example, you’ll get your marketing system humming along, and suddenly you can’t handle all the work coming in, so now you’ll need to address your work systems. That’s why it’s crucial that you are intentional about managing your law firm. In this guide, we’ll show you how.

Your Business Needs a Leader and A Manager 

At first glance, it’s easy to assume that an outstanding leader and fantastic manager are ?the same. In reality, these are two different functions. Your business really requires both. Understanding the nuanced differences will help you see which skills you need to develop to be effective and which team members could help you plug holes where your skills fall a little short. 

A leader sets the vision for your organization. She announces to the team, “we’re going to the moon.” A manager manages the people and processes necessary to make that vision happen. The law firm manager gets the spaceship built, the astronauts trained, and the rocket launched (ideally on time and under budget).

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode #366

Grow as a Leader With These Daily Experiments, with Susan Ashford

Listen to Episode

Invest In Your Managers with Training and Support

People often leave managers, not companies. Provide everyone on your team who manages others with adequate management training. As you grow, it’s important to understand that your managers are the leaders of your future firm. To ensure they perform to the best of their ability, you must train them—often.

Trained managers are:

  • Skilled communicators. They know how to communicate to their direct reports and staff to generate trust. They give solid feedback, enhancing your firm’s productivity and efficiency.

  • Productive. They know the best way to perform tasks to move projects forward. They can set realistic goals and create the strategies needed to achieve them.

  • Morale boosters. Trained managers boost employee morale through their confidence in their role. They pass that confidence to the employees they manage.

  • Happy. Law firm managers who understand how to be successful in their role are more likely to experience contentment.

How do you train your management team to be the best they can be? Encourage them to take part in leadership programs. These programs teach managers how to delegate, best practices for managing a team, and more. Also, give your managers feedback often and be willing to listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Quarterly or annually, give your managers a refresh of your goals and your vision to help them better understand the importance of their role.

Finally, find the support you need by taking advantage of coaches and training, mentors, and peer groups from a wide range of ?sources.


We’ll move onto Team Meetings and Communication in Chapter 2.