How To Improve Your Earnings As An Attorney

how to improve earnings as attorney increase lawyer income

When you become a lawyer, you may think you’re instantly going to make six figures, but that’s not always the case. Even if you are making six figures, you might not feel like you’re doing enough to boost your income and maximize your earnings. 

When you’re an attorney, the area you specialize in will impact how much you make to an extent as well as bonuses and potential partnership opportunities. 

For example, corporate lawyers have an average salary of $174,000 a year, and intellectual property lawyers come in at $141,000 a year. 

Family lawyers and immigration lawyers, on average, tend to make the lowest salaries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to change your earnings regardless of the type of law you practice

Where you practice plays a role too. For example, in San Francisco, lawyers make an average of nearly $189,000 a year, and in California as a whole, the average is almost $174,000 a year. That compares to the average annual salary of an attorney in Idaho, which is $99,360 a year. 

There’s a lot of room for growth whether you’re at the top or bottom of those numbers, with tips including the following. 

6 Top Ways To Improve Attorney Earnings

Use Practice Management Software 

Getting organized is a good place to start if you’re an attorney and your goal is to increase your income. You need to know where you’re starting to see how you can improve and to measure your success along the way. 

This will help you shift gears if something isn’t working or know what strategies specifically are helping you increase your income. 

A good starting point for organization is to use practice management software. 

This will help you maximize your billable hours

Missing out on just a few minutes a day of client work can mean you lose tens of thousands of dollars a year. 

Accept Credit Cards 

Your entire goal when you’re an attorney, aside from helping your clients, is getting paid. To make money, you obviously have to get paid. You need to make it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. 

You can do this in a number of ways, including taking credit card payments. 

Attorneys average a waiting period of three months to get paid. That’s not even taking into account the two months’ average time it takes to send bills. 

When you take cards, you’re more likely to get paid, you’ll get paid faster, and you don’t have to chase your clients down as much. 

Position Yourself As A Thought Leader 

The more well-known and respected you are as an attorney, not only the more clients you’ll attract but the higher the rates you’ll be able to charge. 

With that in mind, a good starting point to build your reputation and become a sought-after attorney is to be a thought leader. 

Find an area of expertise that you have a lot of knowledge in, and if possible, feel passionate about. 

You can then become the go-to in your area and perhaps someday nationally. 

Make it a niche, and you can write on the topic, speak, and you can use it as part of your digital marketing. 

Even if you’re not casting a wide net with the niche approach, when you’re a thought leader, you’re going to be the first professional in your area that people think about. 

When you have a niche, it’s helpful in other ways, aside from allowing you to establish yourself as a thought leader. You’re also going to be able to be smarter with how you spend your marketing and advertising money. You’re going to be able to hone in on your targeted audience more effectively, which will give you a better ROI. 

Run Your Law Firm Like The Business It Is 

If you’re running a law firm, you have to view it as a business, which of course, is what it is. 

A lot of lawyers focus so much on the client aspect that the business part of things isn’t a priority. 

As not just a lawyer but also a business owner, you’ll need to lower your overhead. Start by going paperless and automating what you can. 

You want to reduce human error and give yourself centralized visibility in your business, which software and technology will facilitate. 

You should also think about relying on virtual assistants and contractors for certain work, rather than full-time employees. 

You want to make sure that all the money you’re spending is being spent wisely. 

You also need to be strategic. Don’t get excited by one idea and then quickly burn out on it. Have a roadmap for your law firm, and then gradually work to achieve it. 

Along with your strategy, you want to have systems for how you do things. 

There need to be workflows, so you’re cutting down on variability, and everything is operating efficiently, which is going to reduce your costs and help you focus on earning more. 

Don’t Spend Time On the Wrong Clients 

Not every client is a good client if you’re an attorney. 

You have to be somewhat choosy in who you take on and realize that quality is better than quantity. 

If you have clients that demand loads of your attention, pay their bills late, and are eating up too much of your time, then you should stop taking on those types. 

You may want to help everyone, but if you’re taking on clients you shouldn’t be, you’re going to be the one who financially suffers. 

You want to also invest in marketing so that you’re getting the right clients

You want clients who are going to pay on time and who are motivated to find a lawyer with a good reputation. 

Pay Attention To The Finances Of Your Firm 

When you become a business-minded lawyer, that means that you personally are paying attention to your finances. 

You need to know who’s past due, where your money is going, and where the problems exist. 

You might identify a specific problem, such as a billing model that doesn’t work, and if you can remedy the issue, you’re going to make more money. 

Attorney Earnings Advantage 

There are many ways to increase your earnings as an attorney if you can work hard and get creative. Visit the Law section of the Bootstrap Business Blog to learn and earn with more ways to increase income as a lawyer, attorney, barrister, law firm, or legal consultant.

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