What type of law are you going to practice? Where? Do you want a partner? Or will you be on your own? Those were a few questions you were asked when you graduated from law school. And if you knew what you wanted your practice to be and to look like, you may have been able to answer.
Or, perhaps your practice simply grew and years passed and now you’ve decided it’s time to set down those goals and objectives. Get out the yellow legal pad or the iPad, make your list, and create a strategic plan. Now that you know where you want to go, work on marketing. These steps may help:
Marketing, it is said, is a contact sport, so walk out of the office and meet new people. Become active in your local community. Join the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, or other service clubs that interest you and where you can meet people with the types of legal problems you wish to solve. Make as many new friends and acquaintances as you can.
Make a list of groups, companies, organizations, or companies whose members or employees might have the sort of legal problems you like to solve. Pick one of the groups to concentrate on for the next three months. To narrow your list, think about what they read, what trade organizations they join, who their competitors are, or what legal information they might need.
Get active in the trade organizations where you will find most of your clients. Join the organization and volunteer to be active on a committee, particularly the program or publication committees where you can interact with members.
Write articles for the trade print or e-newsletter, write a column for your local paper—they are always happy to receive well-written, informative articles targeted for their readers.
Offer to speak at conferences or meetings. In-person presentations are an effective marketing tactic—talk on legal topics of interest to the group and take lots of business cards.
Don’t eat lunch alone. Take people who can help you such as your accountant, lawyers at larger firms, bankers, or business owners. Also, contact all your law school classmates, simply to say “hi.” Let them know they type of practice you have and discuss mutual referrals.
Draft a budget or financial plan so you can measure your success. Your goals might include increasing revenue by $60,000, opening five new files worth $1,000 in revenue per month, or launching a new practice area that will generate $50,000 per year.
Create an individual marketing plan. Decide how much you will spend and how you want to spend it—to fund the lunches, materials for your lectures, or costs for online marketing. This is not an expense, this is an investment in yourself and your future.
Contact clients. Make them aware of all the services you provide which they haven't tried yet. And, add to your current practice. Ask yourself “What am I good at? What do I like to do?” and, “Which will my clients buy?” Get the training you need to add the new service.
Don’t forget your website and your listing on the SBM Member Directory. Put your web address on your business cards, e-mail signature, letterhead, and brochures to encourage visitors.
Rainmaking is personal. For some, it comes naturally while for others the skills must be studied and practiced. Find and practice the techniques that work for you. Soon you will be an expert, you’ll meet your goals, and your practice will grow.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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