Hoping for Clients is Not Enough—You Need to Market

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Standing in line at Bestsellers, a coffee shop across the street from the courthouse in Mason, I overheard two lawyers discussing their business. Both were new to the practice—one leaving public service after several years and one fresh out of law school.
“I hope I get some paying clients,” one lawyer said. The other expressed a similar sentiment.
Hoping for clients may be beneficial, but analyzing the type of practice you wish to create, the clients you wish to serve, and the marketing methods needed to connect with those clients will bring better results.

What type of law will I practice?

To answer this question, you must know yourself and your community. Do you like detail? Consider a transactional practice. Are you an advocate? Litigation could be for you. Research your community to see what prospective clients need, and then think about where to find them. This will help you decide which marketing techniques will reach those prospective clients in the best way possible.

What marketing techniques are available?

  • SBM Member Directory: As a member of the State Bar, you are listed automatically in the Directory. Without some input from you, however, the information is too basic for consumers to know much about you. Take some time to study the many features offered by the Member Directory and select ones that will work for you.
  • Website: A law firm without a website is one without a voice on the web. Most law firms with a web presence attract new clients through their website. Consumers can find your website in many ways. Linking from your SBM Member Directory profile, social media, and simple searches for a lawyer in your practice area and geographic location will bring them to your door.
  • Social Media: The American Bar Association conducts an annual technology survey. According to the last report, LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for lawyers—57 percent of lawyers report a presence there. Thirty-five percent of firms used Facebook, and 21 percent utilized Twitter. Social media platforms are an effective way to push your message, drive traffic to your website, and keep current clients informed.
  • Networking: Face-to-face meetings are still effective. Your local bar association has networking events, and so do local business organizations such as the Rotary or Kiwanis. Getting involved with the people in your community will help your practice grow.

Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” meaning it is natural to find fresh cause for optimism. When it comes to building a law practice, it is good to be hopeful and optimistic, but a little marketing will help attract clients.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta 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 The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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