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Richard Hugo-Hamman

Richard Hugo-Hamman is the CEO of LEAP Legal Software, a leading provider of cloud software and legal content to small law firms in the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore. Richard comments regularly on matters affecting small law firms.

Richard Hugo-Hamman

Richard Hugo-Hamman, Executive Chairman of LEAP UK, gives his advice on how small law firms can become more successful

Building a successful law firm requires thought and planning but above all it requires action. 89% of all law firms have between one and five partners and, like many small businesses, they are often under-resourced with many lacking training in business or even rudimentary bookkeeping skills. What is not sufficiently recognised is the entrepreneurial nature of almost every law firm. Many founders of law firms begin as sole practitioners or junior partners. They rely entirely on their own skills and determination, not just for success but for survival, and are dedicated to the calling of their profession.

Introducing change can be hard but adding some of these practical measures could transform a business.

Sigmoid curve

Richard Hugo-Hamman, executive chairman of LEAP, discusses change and how to use technology to keep ahead of the curve.

Your law firm is a business, growth and profitability is paramount. You want to see your client base grow and your profits increase. More importantly, you don’t want to go backwards just because you are so busy working in the business that you don’t notice what is happening. You may have other goals – opening another office or being recognised as experts in a niche field. Whatever your measure of success, you want it to endure.

Creating consistent, long-term growth can prove elusive. The best way to generate long-term growth is through the regular introduction of change to create new ways of doing things. For many businesses, including law firms, the clearest path to continued success is through the regular implementation of new technology in an ongoing cycle.

This needs a culture of innovation so that your whole firm is accustomed to continuous improvement.

Small law firms have a significant competitive advantage – you can get things done! Large law firms like any large organisation have complex systems and layers of management. They are complicated. Small firms are not.

Despite conventional wisdom, technology use in small law firms is typically more sophisticated than in large law firms for one reason; most large firms charge on a time basis with large corporate clients. Inefficiency is rewarded. Small law firms may and should charge on a time basis, but their clients are you and me. Hyper-price-sensitive people.

To do well, a large firm needs to record a lot of time.

To do well, a small firm needs to be super-efficient.

You need great technology.