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

Originally published 5/16/22; Updated 2/8/23

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

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


There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. Your ideal client number depends on factors specific to your law 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.

Law 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 average and high paying, to round out your profits.

High-profile cases 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.

Goals for client numbers and profit

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

Review your goals regularly 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.

Capacity for growth

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. For some perspective, even many large law firms carry less than a 15% profit margin. But the figures will depend on the law firm and its structure.


When considering your ideal number of clients for maximum profitability, it’s crucial to consider specific factors that affect your law firm’s profit margin. These include the quality of your cases and how you manage your legal 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 return on investment (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 and respect your work.

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 law 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—all part of practice management—mean you have predictable cash flow and can better manage your law firm’s finances.

All this adds up to increased profits and better legal service for your clients.


Backdocket offers small to midsize law firms efficient and customizable 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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