Legal Professional Content | 3 min

The Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Competitive Practice

June 13, 2023

Attorney using legal software

Law firms face increased competition, with 31,474 new practices opened in the US in 2022 and more popping up every day. As the industry continues to grow, firms need a solid foundation to stay relevant and succeed long term. Senior staff members need to reassess their current operations, identify if there are inefficient processes that could hurt their competitive edge, and establish strong routines across every department. As the leader in legal technology for over 30 years, LEAP has worked with over 60,000 legal professionals to identify the habits that make law firms successful. Let’s take a look at what makes up the changes you can make to have a thriving practice.

Habit 1: Use Software to be More Efficient

The first step to increasing efficiency is acknowledging that manual processes cause your staff to focus on tasks that take away from billable work. Some areas where this is common are document assembly and management, time recording, and billing. While it might seem more lucrative to encourage staff to spend more time on one project, it actually makes it more difficult for a practice to scale and take on more clients without significantly increasing overhead costs. While it may feel overwhelming to address these core activities, these inefficiencies can be addressed for long-term gains.

Action Checklist

  • Brief staff on your plans and goals

  • Identify the areas where technology can provide the most productivity impact (i.e., document production, timekeeping, billing)

  • Begin the software evaluation process

Habit 2: Be an Early Adopter of Legal Software

There’s no question that the legal industry has gone through a digital revolution over the last several years, especially as many firms’ operations have moved to the cloud. As newer firms typically have the competitive edge of starting with modern technology, established practices must implement cloud-based software to keep up and provide efficient client services. While the goal of any software purchase should be to address the inefficiencies identified in Habit 1, it should also:

  • create a single version of the truth,

  • increase accessibility to allow staff to work from home or on the go,

  • improve billing accuracy and frequency with instant time recording, and

  • ensure trust accounts remain state-bar and IOLA/IOLTA compliant.

Action Checklist

  • Determine where data gaps exist

  • Work with staff to create a plan to increase remote work options

  • Evaluate software that serves as one solution for practice management, automating legal forms, and all financial transactions, including billing and trust accounting

Habit 3: Enjoy Practicing Law

While this might seem obvious, it’s true that you can’t succeed if you don’t enjoy the work you do. Legal professionals deal with highly stressful matters that can lead to burnout if they don’t truly love it. Without the appropriate support, staying connected to the work can be difficult if they're working on matters outside of their areas of expertise. Additionally, many people leave the legal industry simply because they don’t have enough time to practice the law and instead focus on manual tasks. Senior leaders need to work with their staff to determine clear responsibilities and career plans to keep them engaged.

Action Checklist

  • Do the type of law that interests you

  • Organize matters and client data in an intuitive solution

  • Dedicate time for career development and staff check-ins


It is important to note that these three habits are only the tip of the iceberg when establishing efficient legal operations. If you‘re ready to take the first step towards digital transformation, LEAP can provide you with comprehensive checklists for the steps you need to take to establish a competitive, productive, and thriving law practice.

Download the 11 Habits of Successful Law Firms e-book to start improving operations today.

11 Habits of Successful Law Firms

Download the 11 Habits of Successful Law Firms e-book to start improving operations today.