Law school teaches you the intricacies of law and how to become a good lawyer, but not how to market your practice. They teach you the skills needed to become a good lawyer, such as argumentativeness, persuasiveness, negotiation, patience and persistence, emotional balance, aggressiveness, etc. What they don’t teach you is the business acumen that is needed to promote your practice, the business strategies to grow and survive in this highly competitive profession. SWOT analysis is an important business tool to gauze where you stand among the competition and what needs to be done. In this article we will examine how SWOT analysis for law firms can help them grow their business.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat. By doing a SWOT analysis law firms can get to know what their strengths and weaknesses are, where the opportunities are and what they need to watch out for (threat). A 2*2 box is used to do the analysis to understand what the present business situation is and what could be the likely future situation, and what actions need to be taken. Law firms should look to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives.

How to start

SWOT analysis is an important part of marketing for law firms, but it is not something you can do in an hour or two; it takes a good amount of time. You can either allocate several hours at a stretch or spread it over several days devoting an hour or two each day. Also, it should be a team effort with inputs from all team members. Be as specific as possible with your ideas, point out the exact reasons for the strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to improve upon them.

Getting Input

The first step in SWOT analysis for law firms is to get inputs from as many sources as possible. Involve the whole legal team to invite suggestions for each box. You could either do it in joint sessions or ask every member to write down their suggestions and ideas promising secrecy, to get a more honest opinion. Also, encourage people from outside the lawyers’ team and invite permanent clients to give their opinion. It would be even better if the senior management also participates in the exercise.


The easy part of this analysis is to list down the strengths, that is, what the legal team does really well, such as executing complicated contracts on time or maintaining good working relationships with other departments. It could even be about the skills of the lawyers or the low attrition rate, etc. It is, therefore, critical that you get inputs from outside the legal team, and also on skills other than legal attributes, such as use of technology and other supplementary skills.


Identifying and describing your weaknesses can be really tough. However, identifying your weaknesses that really affect your performance and then trying to improve upon them can add real value to your law firm. Weakness doesn’t only mean the things that you are not good at; it could be insufficient budget, not embracing technology, being understaffed, etc. Just like strengths, outside opinion on weaknesses is crucial.


For law firms, opportunities are positive situations where some action needs to be taken to take advantage of that situation. For instance, there could be some technological development which could help you improve your performance, but you need to identify that and take definitive steps to benefit from that. Or, you may see an opportunity in on-boarding an attorney with skills and expertise in an area which has not been previously dealt by your firm.


While it may not sound all that pleasant, identifying the threats to your firm is crucial.The propensity and capacity to identify issues and developments within your firm and outside which could negatively impact you are very important. You can take timely action to mitigate the threat. For instance, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed how businesses are done. It has thrown up new threats and challenges for the legal profession. You need to take concrete steps to adapt to the new situation to stay competitive.


Performing SWOT analysis once in a year just before the financial year starts is a good strategy. But, you can do this analysis anytime you see the need for one, for example, if you notice a dip in performance or stagnancy in business.

What SWOT Analysis Does

You can use the SWOT analysis for long term strategic planning for your firm and also address the current problematic issues. It can be a good tool for marketing for attorneys.

Why it Matters

SWOT analysis for law firms is very important as it demonstrates strategic thinking and business acumen to constantly add value to the firm. If you think and act like a business, you can do a great job towards digital marketing for lawyers

Author's Bio: 

Sophia is a marketing expert at Conroy Creative Counsel, providing SEO for Law Firms in the USA.