Not only does a successful law firm need to build a balanced team and find the right clients, it also needs expert support for the growth and management challenges firms typically face. Part of this crucial support is an experienced banking resource. Because all banking needs are not created equal, it’s important to look for a mix of experience and customized banking and financing solutions focused on the legal profession.
For example, different practice areas and different cases mean different cash flow situations. Plaintiff attorneys defending individuals in debt collection lawsuits may require payment at the start of the case, in order to cover many trial costs and depositing the money into their cash flow cycle. But a trial attorney dealing with a complex personal injury suit has their hands bound until the check arrives after settlement – which, of course, could take months or even years.
This is why attorneys should seek out a bank with expertise in banking for law firms to help keep their practices running smoothly. While many banks offer similar basic services – treasury management, lines of credit, credit cards and more – a bank that lacks experience with law firms might not be able to provide creative solutions specifically tailored to your industry. It makes sense to select an expert with prior specialized experience – the same way selecting an experienced lawyer makes the most sense for your clients.
Picture your firm in the middle of a long-term case, generating receivables and billing hours. You may be stuck in months of litigation with many trial-related costs: expert witness costs, administrative costs and court filing fees, to name only a few demands on your resources.
Law firms certainly have other equally demanding needs, from working capital to funding partner-related buy-outs and more.
But no matter the details of your practice – whether you specialize in civil litigation, family law or corporate contracts – a bank well versed in customizing a line of credit that reflects your cash flow and working capital needs can be a valuable resource. Of course, banks with a desire to work with law firms also should offer the array of settlement, escrow and IOLTA accounts utilized by legal professionals.
It’s important to consider what challenges are at the core of your day-to-day business processes to help you find the right business bank. Banks with strong ties to the legal community are knowledgeable about the nature of the industry’s internal economy, changing regulations and opportunities. These financial institutions may offer continuing education for you and your associates, donate to legal nonprofits, and on a client-service level, regularly pursue opportunities to learn more about your specific business and operations.
As you seek out a responsive and expert banking resource, assemble the evidence with experience in mind. The best part of this discovery process should be finding a banker who already knows the legal ropes, and demonstrates the commitment to learning about and meeting your firm’s precise financial needs.
According to The State Bar of California’s 2017 member demographics, over 18% of California State Bar members practice in San Diego and the neighboring Southern California counties of District 4. For lawyers in this region who choose to guide their own law firms, a capable business bank can help.
Click here to visit the Torrey Pines Bank —San Diego County Bar Association member benefit page.