Are you sufficiently scared? Are you worried that machines may take your job? Do you have visions of that cyborg who looks suspiciously like Arnold Schwarzenegger will be sitting at your desk speaking to clients? A cyborg who says to the client “I’ll be back.”? Read why lawyers will not disappear.
Networking is the art and skill of creating relationships and then being able to leverage those relationships into business opportunities. And let me just say that Rainmaking = Relationships. Let’s talk about how to do this effectively.
Networking and the networks you build are not one way streets. You cannot go to your network and ask for help without being willing or able to offer help as well.
One of the laws that they do not teach you in law school is called the Law of Reciprocity. Are you obeying the law?
So you’ve created your Rainmaking Plan; you have developed a picture of your ideal client or niche and you have a list of goals you want to achieve with deadlines. Now, how are you going to go about achieving it? So here is a very short list of business development and marketing ideas that cost little to nothing (but time) to use.
To state the obvious, being a lawyer is stressful; being a solo practitioner 10 x more so because, even if you have administrative help, you are responsible for everything in order to become successful. And so, you need to find a way to not only have a great career, but a great life as well.
This is why I suggest, and truly believe, that you must have goals in 5 different areas of life….
While becoming a practice area specialist can result in bringing in legal matters, it is becoming harder and harder to obtain clients just because you practice law in a specific area. This is because the amount of competition out there is tremendous. For example, according to the ABA website, there are more than 25,000 members of the Labor and Employment Law Section (and remember, not every attorney in the United States is a member of the ABA, so the number of attorneys practicing labor and employment law is almost definitely considerably higher). Competition for clients can be ferocious.
In 1927 when my grandfather began practicing law, this was a viable method of marketing and rainmaking. There were only 131,000 attorneys in the United States. If you averaged this out, there were only 2,620 lawyers in each state (yes, I know that some states and cities had more attorneys than others, I’m making a point here). You could literally hang a sign outside and people would hire you.
Now, 90 years later, in 2017, this method of marketing and business development is just not going to work. According to the ABA there are more than 1.3 million attorneys in the country and unless you find a way to let people know what you do, they will never hire you.