How Internal Communication is Just as Important as External Communication for Your Law Firm

When so much time and energy is spent on your law firm’s external communication such as  advertising, marketing and public relations, it can be easy to put internal communication on the back burner. However, internal communication deserves just as much – or more – of your attention. There are many different definitions out there and while there’s not just one correct answer, Rachel Miller of All Things IC offers a simple explanation to define internal communications: “The way a company interacts with its people and they interact with it.” Internal communications executed well can actually bolster your external communications, but in order to do this you’ll need an effective strategy in place. 

Internal Communication and Reputation Management

During the era of Facebook, Google and Yelp reviews, managing your law firm’s reputation is of the utmost importance. People are reading reviews before they choose a restaurant to dine or a movie to watch, so they’re certainly reading reviews before they select a law firm to represent them. Your law firm’s internal communication strategy is directly tied to reputation management. From attorneys and paralegals to secretaries and bookkeepers, every member of your firm is a brand ambassador, and if you don’t have a positive internal culture, it can be difficult to improve your public image. 

Employees are the face of your firm, and they represent it on a daily basis. Keeping everyone in the loop on what’s happening in and around your firm will go a long way toward protecting your reputation. Members of your team should be the first to know about what’s happening with the firm – whether it be good news or bad news. For example, if your firm is hosting a webinar with a local business share it with the entire office. You never know where a new client could come from, so your attorneys and staff need to be equipped with any relevant information to accurately describe and promote your firm. Showing your employees that you value internal communications will build trust and improve morale for everyone in your firm, which in turn will radiate to the audience of prospective clients that you are trying to reach. 

Internal Communication and Teamwork

At times, it may seem as though your law firm is a group of individuals rather than a team. Everyone is busy with their own work and it can be easy for attorneys to stay in their office for hours at a time while working on a case. However, working together can reduce stress and increase productivity for every member of your firm, and effective internal communication directly correlates with improved teamwork. People are more likely to work well with someone they know and relate to (think back to when you got to select partners for a group project in school). Consider exercises like a Caliper Profile or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which will reveal the personality types of everyone at your firm and how they work with others. 

Even something as simple as an outing or retreat for your firm can improve internal communication and teamwork. With constant pressure to finish a case or other assignment, it’s not always easy for members of your firm to get to know each other at the office. Encouraging employee engagement will not only invoke better working relationships, but it could also uncover new business leads that you never would have known about otherwise. Arranging an outing with your firm is a great way to drive organic conversations, which will make it easier to determine everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and develop positive internal communications. 

Developing an Internal Communication Plan

Just like you do for external communication, you need a plan for your internal communication to achieve consistency and long-term results. In a nutshell, the plan for your law firm should include a detailed analysis of where you are now, where you want to be and how you will get there. In the beginning, it’s important to assess where you are because if you’ve had any success as a firm, chances are you’ve done something right with your internal communications and don’t necessarily need to start from scratch. Determining where your firm wants to be is the most critical aspect of your plan. It’s the entire reason you are undergoing this process, so get specific on what you want to accomplish rather than just stating that you want to “improve.” There are some key components you’ll want to consider: 

  • What’s the current culture of your firm?
  • What are your communication goals?
  • What do you want to convey to your internal audience?
  • How will you communicate (strategy, tactics and channels)
  • When is the best time to share internal messaging?
  • How will you measure success of your communications? 

How you’ll get there is entirely up to you. You know the ins and outs of your law firm better than anyone, so you have the best understanding of what practices will generate success. If you’re unsure, consider a survey or questionnaire for the members of your firm. This will allow you to gain insight into what they want, and an internal communication plan that includes input from the members of your firm will instantly start on the track to success. Over time, you’ll need to measure what worked and what didn’t work. If it worked, then you can include it in the next plan, but don’t get discouraged if something missed the mark. Internal communication plans are fluid, and there’s always room for growth and improvement for your firm. 

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Resources to Facilitate Internal Communication

If you don’t currently know how to improve internal communication at your firm, you’re in luck because there are a number of different outlets to help you achieve your goal. An intranet, which is a network that is designed exclusively for sharing information within an organization, can be a great tool for internal communication. Our agency utilizes Slack, allowing us to stay up to the minute on the happenings with each of our clients as well as what each of our team members has on their plate to promote collaboration and constructive criticism. Intranets are just one of many resources you can deploy to facilitate internal communication at your firm. 

Company newsletters are another option to consider for this practice. Upcoming events, new hires, current cases and anything else that’s going on at your firm can be shared in a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly newsletter to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Social media can also be utilized for internal communication, but you need to be selective about what you are sharing. Obviously more than just members of your firm will follow you on your various social media channels, and not everything needs to be shared with that audience. Email should probably be avoided for this exercise. Your staff gets plenty of emails already; one more is likely to be ignored. 

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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring an Agency Administrator! 

Agency Administrator Job Description: 

This is a part-time role providing overall administrative support to our CEO and Account Supervisor, and assisting with basic human resources and monthly accounting responsibilities. 

For this role, you’ll need to work in our downtown Little Rock office and be required to submit between 25-30 hours a week within the operating hours of 8:30 AM to 5 PM. On occasion, there is a need to work additional hours on evenings and weekends during a client launch or other events throughout the year.

While repetitive daily/monthly tasks are certainly part of this position, additional tasks assigned can vary from week to week based on the CEO’s needs and the needs of the agency. The most important responsibility of the Agency Administrator is to ensure that administrative tasks and projects are completed with a high level of efficiency, confidentiality, accuracy, flexibility and positivity.

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. 
  • Minimum of 2-5 years experience in the related field, dealing with financial information.
  • Must be able to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Quickbooks and Google Suite.
  • Must be able to multi-task and possess excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Basic knowledge of bookkeeping.
  • Must be able to use office equipment (copy/fax machine).
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and willing to tackle various ongoing projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent multitasking skills, with the ability to perform duties outside of the scope of work when necessary.
  • Must work well within a cross-functional team environment as well as independently.

Main Responsibilities

Human Resources

  • Provide support for hiring and onboarding of new employees 
  • Run bi-monthly payroll reports for intern/contractor payment
  • Coordinate new hire benefits and HR paperwork (health insurance, simple IRA, etc.) and enter into the payroll system. Plan yearly renewal meetings and update all payroll items.
  • Provide general responses to employee questions and requests on HR procedures, policies and information.
  • Process miscellaneous billings for payment & vendor management.
  • Responsible for keeping the Employee Handbook, HR policies and other HR information current and updated with the team. 

Accounting

  • Manage obligations to suppliers, customers and third-party vendors
  • Process bank deposits
  • Reconcile financial statements
  • Prepare, send and store invoices
  • Weekly expense reporting and time entry on behalf of the CEO
  • Contact clients and send reminders to ensure timely payments; Identify and address discrepancies
  • Report on the status of accounts payable and receivables twice a month
  • Update internal accounting databases and spreadsheets

Office Management/Leadership Support

  • Assist with presentation and client meeting set up; working with vendors 
  • Collect and prepare information for use in discussions/meetings of the agency leadership team and outside individuals. 
  • Assist CEO with volunteer activities – making calls, organizing catering and meetings in partnership with vendors. 
  • Management of client contracts/retainers – working with the account supervisor to ensure annual planning and timely renewal of contracts. 
  • Varying personal and professional administrative tasks including, but not limited to, booking appointments, research projects, coordinating travel, maintaining breakroom daily, maintaining storage organization and ordering office supplies, etc. 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position