After working for a firm for a while, many lawyers start up their own practice. There are actually even a lot of fresh law school graduates these days who are starting up their own practice, some because they can’t find a job due to the economic downturn, others because they’re just entrepreneurially inclined and can’t stand the thought of working for a boss. Starting up your own law firm is quite a big endeavor that brings about a lot of questions. One of the most important questions being, where to get clients for your new firm? Here are a few tips that can help you get your first clients and your new firm off the ground.
Sharpen Your Business Skills
Most law schools don’t prepare their students very well for running their own business. They focus mostly on teaching legal theory, but forget about the fact that many of their students will go on to run their own businesses, which requires different skills than just practicing law does. If you didn’t learn much about business during your studies, you’ll want to brush up on your business skills before your start your firm. You’ll only be able to get a steady inflow of clients if you know how to market your business and run it well. Effective marketing will help you get new clients and running a business that delivers a high quality service will have clients coming back and/or recommend your firm to friends, family and colleagues.
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to start your own firm you need to tell everyone that you know about it. Tell your friends from college, your friends from law school, your entire family, the owner of your favorite bakery, etc. The more people you tell, the higher the chances that you’ll get clients through word-of-mouth.
Use the Internet
The internet is one of the most important marketing channels for law firms these days. Especially when you’re starting a new firm you want to focus your marketing efforts heavily on the internet (because it’s relatively cheap and very effective). Make sure you get a good website online as soon as possible and start working on your online presence. A good website doesn’t even have to be very expensive. If you’re a bit tech savvy you can create a professional looking website yourself for under $100.
You’ll want to focus on one or a few very specific niches with your law firm (website). That way you’ll face less competition online. Make sure that you’re specific enough when choosing this niche and do some market research to see which niches offer great potential, but aren’t too competitive yet.
Deliver Value For Your Network
Build up a network and provide value to the people in it. For example, you can connect with other entrepreneurs who offer complementary services and refer clients to them. More than likely they’ll do the same for you. You’ll have more satisfied clients because you didn’t just help solve one of their problems, but referred them to someone who can solve another problem they struggle with.
Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at The Law Offices of WT Johnson, a personal injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. Zane is glad he doesn’t have to worry about managing a law firm.