Making it easier to grow your law firm


This section covers succession, specialisation, mergers, selling a law firm, becoming a partner, and business structure

How to plan and execute the process of starting up a new legal practice that is compliant and financially healthy

How to set up your firm’s systems to provide the information that enables you to improve profitability and cashflow

How to avoid professional negligence claims, with examples of common problems and suggested solutions. Plus FAQs on PII

This section only covers SRA Accounts Rules and GDPR at the moment. Compliance for start-ups is covered in the Starting up...

How to protect your law firm from cyber attacks. What steps to take if your systems are hacked

How to recruit and retain a team that is both happy and highly effective, dealing with the HR issues along the way

In marketing, like anything, you need to get the basics right. Otherwise the time and money you invest in marketing will be wasted

How to win new clients, make the most of existing relationships, encourage referrals and generate new leads

How to approach creating a law firm website that works, from agreeing your objectives to making sure you get the results you want

Why lawyers need to know about social media, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid potential pitfalls

How to use PR to build your firm’s reputation; and how to create cost-effective advertising – traditional and online – that delivers results

Building your team and improving collaboration - checklist

Headshot of Joanna GaudoinA successful law practice relies on teams. An effective cross-practice team can be essential to advise a client on a complex project or to support a client with a broad range of matters, just as managing the firm’s marketing and IT systems are team efforts. Firms can only fulfil their growth potential with a dedication to effective collaboration.

This checklist will help you to set up, organise, motivate and support successful teams within your firm, writes Joana Gaudoin, author of ‘Getting On: Making work work’ and managing director of the consultancy Inside Out Image. (4 June 2024)


  1. Establish the purpose of the team, and the range of knowledge and skills required; consider the value of a mix of styles and approaches.
  2. Limit the size of the team - more than a dozen may be unmanageable. If necessary, create smaller sub-teams instead, with narrower objectives.
  3. Assemble the team. Discuss the team’s purpose and use this to agree individual team members’ roles and the contribution each will make.
  4. Clarify how the team will operate: for example, how you will tackle projects, run meetings and make decisions.

Headshot of Sharon Tattan"Collaboration skills are critical for the success of junior lawyers, who work with a range of teams and individuals and play a key role in any team that they join."
Sharon Tattan, Head of Learning and Development, Forsters

  1. Encourage a culture of honest and open communication, in which team members express their views freely and listen to what others say.
  2. Agree how problems will be tackled. Encourage team members to try to resolve disagreements between themselves before involving you.
  3. Organise the team’s activities: agree measurable, realistic objectives and deadlines, and ensure the team has the necessary resources.
  4. Make time for the team to get to know one another, understand relative strengths and know how each person works.
  5. Regularly review progress and performance in short team meetings; update objectives and identify any changing resource requirements.
  6. Motivate the team: be enthusiastic, praise and publicise achievements, encourage everyone to contribute and lead by example.
  7. Foster team spirit: recognise everyone’s value to the team, make sure everyone’s voice is heard, avoid favouritism, and encourage collaboration.
  8. Offer training, support and an open door for individuals with challenges.
  9. Take responsibility: be prepared to tackle problems and to make unpopular decisions.
  10. Avoid becoming isolated; encourage collaboration, communication and socialising with members of other teams.
  11. Recognise when the team has served its purpose. Plan a formal ending to maintain motivation, then disband the team when its work is done.
Headshot of Chris Hume
"A team that combines a partner and employees with supporting roles, for example to manage the firm’s IT strategy, will only work if the partner listens to, respects and if necessary defers to other people’s expertise."

Chris Hume, CEO, Codex Edge

Improving collaboration in your firm

Headshot of Jonathan BlairEffective collaboration is a game-changer when it comes to boosting a law firm’s profitability and client satisfaction. But there are many reasons why collaboration can be a challenge, writes Jonathan Blair, the former managing partner of Womble Bond Dickinson.


Time pressures, remuneration systems, and a lack of knowledge or trust of colleagues’ expertise can all contribute to a lack of collaboration.

Collaboration stems from the behaviour of the leadership team.

  • Be clear about the firm’s vision, strategy and objectives.
  • Measure and reward performance in a balanced way, mixing short-term personal goals with shared long term team goals. Ensure the two are aligned and be clear and transparent about how performance will be measured.
  • Recognise the limits of your own expertise and seek input from others. Strive for cognitive diversity in teams.
  • Keep recognising and praising the collaborative contributions of others, ideally with data/results to evidence the benefits.
  • Avoid people being over-burdened with work in the first place and encourage them to say when their workload is becoming overwhelming. Create an environment of psychological safety.


Headshot of Rebecca Bonnington“Technology can be a useful tool for team efficiency, but there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings to build relationships and overcome potential stumbling blocks.”
Rebecca Bonnington, CEO, Tricres

See also: