What They Didn’t teach you at the Law School
Law School prepares you to think, write and research like a lawyer, but once you’re at the door of a law firm or a courtroom, there’s a whole new set of skills you need. The present series of articles aims to enrich a new lawyer with all these skills in order for him/her to excel.
In today’s competitive environment, it is a challenge for even the most qualified lawyer to maintain and grow a successful law practice. So, if you are a lawyer looking to start your own practice or grow your existing practice, the question that you should be asking yourself is: “How can I stand apart from the competition and effectively market myself?”
The answer to the above is twin: (a) networking events; and (b) word of mouth.
While these time tested methods work to some degree, there are a vast number of prospective clients that you shall never be getting in front of. And that’s because today’s consumer has changed the way he or she seeks to obtain goods and services. Today, the consumers go online as a first resort to obtain what they are looking for, be it a doctor, a plumber, or a car ride. The legal consumer is no different.
The foremost requirement for you, therefore, is an online presence.
Create a blog
Create a blog and produce relevant content. Creating good content can provide a very useful means to attract new clients at low acquisition costs.
Since more and more consumers are going online first to get educated about a topic before engaging a lawyer, it’ll be beneficial if you become the resource that a potential consumer relies on. When thinking about the content strategy, you should ask yourself: what client profile are you targeting at; what are the common questions and situations people are searching for in your practice area(s), etc.
This exercise will allow you to engage with potential consumers that already meet your typical client profile as well as your target client profile.
Write more and more
Contributing a piece to an online publication that already reaches your specific audience allows you to establish yourself as an expert in the space and increases your chances of being called upon when a need arises.
Furthermore, when you express your opinion on some current or pending legislation in the form of an article in a magazine, people may seek you out when they need advice on that particular legislation.
The first relationship to build is with the legal community. Try meeting other lawyers as often as you can. Find out about their area of practice. Be generous in your referrals when you cannot take a case; you are sure to get a favour in return.
Further, now-a-days there are many lawyer community groups on the social media wherein there is an active discussion on judgments as also legal happenings on a day-to-day basis. Be a part of such groups and actively participate in such discussions and debates, especially the ones related to your area(s) of practice. This will publicise you among the lawyer community and if and when a need arises they will surely connect to you for discussing the case, or if it’s not their area of practice, then may be to even hand it over to you.
The second relationship is with your own community. You should use your legal skills to help a local NGO or a charitable institution; the contacts you make therein will have a long-reaching impact on your practice.
The third relationship is with your region. Keep looking for speaking opportunities at the seminars, conferences as also socio-legal events such as book launches, memorial lectures, etc. Even though you are not a speaker at these events, do make a point to attend as many as possible even as a member, to take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the attendees; this networking will definitely help boost your practice in the long run.
So get out there and start building !