Building Your Own Legal Practice: Here’s How You Can Grow Your Clientele
It is usually the solo or small law firms that face a number of challenges in acquiring new client business. The 2019 State of U.S. Small law firms Survey by Thomson Reuters reveals that every small law firm segment surveyed, regardless of the number of lawyers, identified getting clientele as their primary “significant challenge.”
From a solo attorney to the managing partner of a 25-lawyer firm, everyone constantly worries about finding the next client.
Why is maintaining a steady stream of clients so difficult?
According to the Survey, a large percentage, if not a majority of respondents in each firm-size classification expressed concern about spending too much time on administrative tasks, controlling costs, keeping pace with the new technology, internal inefficiencies, fierce competition, getting payments from the clients, and clients demanding “more for less” or pushing back on firm rates. These activities result in consuming nearly 40 percent of the firm’s or solo attorney’s day than the actual practice of law. In other words, a lawyer working a 10-hour day will only have, at best, six hours of potential billable work. The realization of that payment is a different fight in itself.
Total (n=300) Solo (n=120) 2-6 (n=105) 7-10 (n=30) 11-29 (n=45)
Across the entire study, 73 percent of small law firms said they faced a challenge acquiring new client business. Surprisingly most of these firms have not done much to address these challenges staring them in the face. Perhaps, they don’t know where to begin. Our next section solves that issue with a brief note on what each of these routes offer.
How to Get Clients?
Technology: Irrespective of the size of the firm, it is now the first place many firms are looking as they reassess their businesses. It is safe to say that technology forms the core of any solution to almost every problem in today’s business environment. One such use of technology is using lead generation programs. It may be an expensive option, but one that you can trust to deliver some quick client leads if you are desperate. Platforms like TotalAttorneys and LegalZoom are some of the better-known players in this area.
Network: A common mistake lawyers make is to network only within the legal fraternity. To grow your clientele cultivating contacts with persons from industries and backgrounds that you believe might require your legal expertise can go a long way. For example, a lawyer starting a Patent Litigation practice should go beyond patent attorneys and agents and try to build rapport with persons holding managerial roles in tech or life sciences companies. By such targeted networking you can slowly but surely increase your clientele.
Referrals: Word-of-mouth advertising has been one of the most successful ways to get clients but it has its own limitations given the competition. However, to be known for a niche practice, or for establishing specialization in specific practice areas is an effective way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the flock.
Visibility: Public speaking, participating in legal awareness camps, conducting seminars, and positioning oneself as a thought leader are some of the best ways of establishing credibility and fostering relationships with the clients.
Marketing strategies: Balancing marketing tactics and knowing your target audience is crucial. A good content strategy and an online marketing plan can help you demonstrate your expertise and build your authority in a specific industry or practice area.
- Pay-per-click Marketing (PPC): Advertising with Google is everyone’s first choice considering that is the first place where people begin their search for lawyers. It would be useful to note that this can be an expensive proposition depending on your practice area and location, however, it can also be one of the most effective means to convert clients if you have a good website in place.
- Search Engine Optimization SEO: This is the process of optimizing your website for organic search results (i.e. showing up on the first page of Google for free). Many law firms swear by SEO, but hiring professional SEO managers may burn a hole in your pocket. Search Engine Optimization SEO: This is the process of optimizing your website for organic search results (i.e. showing up on the first page of Google for free). Many law firms swear by SEO, but hiring professional SEO managers may burn a hole in your pocket.
- Blogging and Email Marketing: Maintaining an informative and active blog ensures visible to clients through search engines and results in lead generation. Customized email campaigns and sending out periodic updates to your subscribers is also a tried and tested method to impress potential clients.
- Social Media: “One can also pay to advertise through social media channels, which are both affordable and highly targeted — ensuring that you get the most value out of every dollar you spend. Not only can you set budget limits for your campaigns, but you can also define exactly the type of audience you’re looking to communicate with.” Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are great places to share updates with your followers to create brand recall and to always stay connected with your clients.
All these online and offline visibility strategies are no magic tricks and take time to show results. So be patient, pick a strategy and run with it.
At Nora.Legal, we have our eyes on the future and we keep ourselves educated on the nuances of legal-tech, its risks, and rewards. Uniquely tailored to your needs, our tech-enabled legal solutions help you meet strict deadlines and manage fluctuating workloads, not to mention they leave you with plenty of time, to attend to your existing and potential clients. If you’d like to optimize your legal functions, require administrative support, or at any point find that the deck is stacked against you, please feel free to reach out to us. Our team of expert attorneys would be happy to offer you a path through the thicket. We are available at firstname.lastname@example.org. By using Nora.Legal a solo attorney/ small firm gains time to work in other areas of building the practice.