A law firm, is an organization formed by one or more attorneys to engage in the practice of law in a particular jurisdiction. The primary purpose of such an organization is to provide legal advice to its clients, as well as to resolve disputes. A law firm may be composed of one attorney, a number of attorneys, or even a team of attorneys.
In most states, a law firm must operate separately from its partners or owners and be operated for profit. There are some states that allow for a general partnership between two or more law firms in which the partners participate in the management and control of the business entity, but retain their ownership and participation in its profits. There are also other states that allow for a general partnership between only one partner and the other partners in the firm, with each partner retaining his ownership and contribution to the business. The majority of states neither require a general partnership nor do they specifically regulate it.
Generally, law firms are managed by the attorneys who represent their clients. These individuals are referred to as associates, and their roles vary depending on the type of law firm and the region in which they practice. The partners who manage a law firm to participate in the management of all aspects of the business while all associates have much more limited Responsibilities.
Associates are responsible for marketing the firm and the individuals associated with it to clients, generating potential clients, providing legal support, performing clerical duties, preparing litigation documents, handling correspondence, and tracking and responding to client calls and emails. Many law firms have a single Associate Managing Partner, while others have a number of associates who perform various tasks in addition to the main job of the Partner. Other partners simply perform clerical tasks.
There are two types of associates involved in a law firm: those who work solely in the business and those who perform contract services. Contract services generally involve contract law, such as managing an attorney's practice or working as a paralegal for one. Many contracts deal with financial obligations of a client, such as taking care of business entity formation or creating a trust. While most associates are not paid on a contractual basis, some are paid on a performance-based scale.
In a smaller firm, all the employees are generally either generalists or specialists. Generalists, who deal with most legal issues, and specialists, who specialize in a particular area, manage the day to day operations of the business. All associates have to be paid by the client, although the client retains direct control over the funds, leaving the litigator responsible for maintaining proper accounting and filing procedures. Since many smaller firms are run on a lean-to basis, there is little room for expansion. Most law firms have several partners involved in the business, with the partner leading the legal department and managing the overall business.
In addition to those roles, a successful law firm must employ other professionals to handle other business operations as well as marketing the firm to maintain a steady stream of clients. Often the question many firms ask is should they hire an agency to help their legal marketing or should they try and bring someone in house? As marketing currently requires a large mix of tactics and channels, we recommend that firm should always hire dedicated marketing professionals to ensure successful marketing campaigns.
If you're looking for a professional agency to manage your legal marketing, SERP Co specializes in marketing for lawyers.
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