After spending 20 of the first 25 years of your life in school leading up to a degree in law, you wonder why it is that clients don’t come flocking to your door. Of course, most lawyers understand that the best way to break into the business is to sign on with a renowned legal team in your area and in the field of law you intend to practice. If you are looking to be a successful corporate lawyer, for example, you’d want to practice with a legal team that has gained recognition and has a client list a mile long.
Once you break away and are in your own office trying to run a law firm as the ‘senior partner’ you see it’s not so easy to catch the interest of clients who have the money to pay for your services. This is the time to get some good advice on how to grow your business. The following tips come from LawBiz, the most sought after law firm strategist with more than 40 years of serving in the legal profession.
Most new attorneys are amazed at just how important networking is within the legal community. Clients may not grow on trees but they certainly do grow on the overflow older, more established attorneys can’t handle. By networking at local events and personally introducing yourself to other members of the Bar in your area you would be surprised at how frequently your name comes up when a client approaches an attorney who just can’t handle a greater case load.
Marketing Made Easy
Unless you understand the importance of marketing, you will be doing your law firm a huge disservice. That being said, not all marketing is effective for your practice so it really does take a good marketing professional to get your name out there where it counts. All those late night ads on cable networks you see on those nights you are up working on the next day’s brief are the efforts of attorneys who are simply looking for cheap television air time. In reality, how many people do you think are awake at 2AM? Then narrow that audience down to those who need to dispute a rejected Social Security claim, for instance.
There are much better ways to get your law firm noticed by clients who actually need your services and so it is well worth the money to hire an expert marketer who understands the market. From blogging to Google+ and other social networks to direct marketing and mass mailings, a professional marketing firm has the wherewithal and expertise to research your area of coverage to find what works best for you and your legal specialization. As an expert in the law, you can appreciate the expertise of a marketing firm, so keep that in your budget!
Pro Bono Is Worth Its Weight in Gold
This is one area where altogether too many lawyers miss the mark. According to the American Bar Association in their Model Rule 6.1, each lawyer should work towards offering a minimum of 50 hours pro bono work each and every year. But is this really enough when you are trying to spread goodwill in the community? Here Ed Poll, founder and CEO of LawBiz, explains that it’s all about the generation most likely to need your services, if not now, then in the very near future. Yes, we’re talking about millennials here and they are not only the biggest group within the national workforce but are also now the generation with the biggest spending power. What do millennials want from the brands and professionals they deal with? Gen X wants to know that the companies (including legal teams) they deal with have a mission to make a difference.
Millennials want more than anything to believe in what they are spending their money on. They want you to be authentic, not hype. Pro bono work establishes you as a lawyer who cares and word of mouth is still alive and active in the 21 st Century. Of course you need to establish a healthy balance between paid and pro bono work, but a little extra never hurt anyone and in fact could be one of the fastest ways of making a name for yourself in your community.
The bottom line in expanding your law firm, young or old, is to get your name out there where it counts. Keep in mind that not all advertising is equal and that you should employ a professional who understands your profession. Networking is also crucial and when put together with effective marketing, you just might find you’ve expanded more than you can handle. Enter junior partners…