How Many Clients Should a Small Law Firm Have to Be Profitable?

As a growing law firm, it’s important to focus your efforts on client growth to increase profitability. When growing your client base, you’ll need to determine the ideal number of clients that allows you to bring in high revenues without overwhelming your legal team and staff so you can still provide outstanding services.

Figuring out how many clients a small law firm needs to be profitable depends on your firm’s structure, goals, and capacity to provide legal services to your client base. Explore these considerations and factors that affect profitability, such as your client quality and practice management system.

How to Determine Your Ideal Client Number

Your ideal client number depends on factors specific to your firm. These include the structure of your law offices, the goals you set for your practice, and the firm’s capacity to serve its clientele.

Firm structure

Your firm’s structure plays a part in determining your ideal client numbers. If you own your own small law firm, you may only need a handful of high-paying clients for profitability. As a solo lawyer, you likely can’t take on a high number of clients, so opting for smaller, better-paying clients is a business-savvy choice.

However, if your law firm is structured as an LLC or corporation, you may require a higher number of clients, both minimal and high-paying, to round out your profits.

High-profile clients may bring in more money, but they may require more time and effort. With this type of structure, aiming for a broader client base through social media marketing or adding legal services may help you reach your ideal number.


You and your partners likely have a set profit margin or the number of clients you want to reach each year. These objectives can offer you a goal to aim for regarding client numbers and profit.

Review your goals as your services or fees change. A shift in prices can mean you need fewer or additional clients to meet your profit goals than previously determined, so stay on top of your financial projections and adjust for differences.


Although aiming for as many clients as possible seems like a smart idea, it can prove troublesome for some firms. Determining the right number of clients for profitability includes accessing your firm’s capability to handle your clientele.

Aim for a client number that reflects your firm’s services and capabilities and gives you a respectable profit margin. Most small businesses carry a 7% to 10% profit margin, but many law firms’ profit margins hover around 20% and 30% after deducting the per equity partner (PEP) monies. These figures depend on the law firm and its structure.    

Factors That Affect Profitability

When considering your ideal number of clients for maximum profitability, it’s crucial to consider specific factors that affect your firm’s profit margin. These include the quality of your cases and how you manage your practice’s day-to-day operations.

Case quality

The quality of the cases you take on impacts your profitability. To boost your profitability, commit to taking high-quality cases that will give you a high ROI.

Also, choose your clients wisely. Avoid working with people who don’t pay on time or require too much unnecessary attention. Instead, choose clients who trust your work and pay on time.

Efficient practice management organization

Behind the scenes, practice management matters just as much as client number and quality. If your practice has the right number of clients but struggles to manage scheduling, claims processing, billing, or any other back-end protocol, you’ll lose revenue.

Equip your firm with an efficient, cloud-based practice management software like backdocket to ensure your firm runs smoothly. Better scheduling means you stay on top of client appointees, legal filings, and court appearances.

Better bookkeeping, intake, and check approval mean you have predictable cash flow and can better manage your firm’s finances. All this adds up to increased profits and better legal service for your clients.

Boost Your Client Base and Profitability with backdocket

Backdocket offers small to midsize law firms efficient practice management software that simplifies all aspects of running your law firm. Our software can help you effectively manage your client billing cycles and client and staff scheduling to provide effective legal services to your existing clients and continue to grow your client base to increase profitability.

Schedule a demo with backdocket today to discover how our practice management software can help you maintain a profitable, successful legal practice.

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