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.
Over the past five years, I have written about how to cope with many issues facing rezooming attorneys. This year I hope to inspire you by sharing the rezooming success stories of people just like you who have re-started their legal career. They decided to shift back to practicing law from a different career or a hiatus. These stories will inspire you while providing a suggested road map to success.
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.
As a veteran of nearly 39 years of real law practice (by “real” I mean a broad general practice serving the general public, small businesses, families, and individuals in a myriad of contract, trial, and appellate matters), I know the importance of cash flow.
In my quest for financial security and success, I have perused every bar journal article, attended numerous practice management CLE’s, and varied my approach to billing and collections to see what worked. Find out what I learned.
In certain cases, you may have a client who is struggling financially while waiting for that hoped for recovery in the matter you are handling for them. You want to help them in some way, but can you?
The concept of “design thinking” pops up again and again in conversations about innovation and change. Design thinking strives to make a process, service or product more engaging, usable and useful. At last design concepts have begun to infiltrate the legal world. Solos who truly want to differentiate themselves in the market should consider incorporating design principles into their law practices.
You’ve had your initial consultation. You’ve counseled your new client on the services they need, and they are ready to sign the engagement letter. But then you ask for their retainer, and they look at you like you’ve got three heads.
“You want HOW MUCH?!?!”
What do you do now?
Look at the language you are using to describe yourself. How can you craft a short, informative elevator pitch? You need a clear voice to be heard above the din? What makes you different? Your 1-minute elevator speech can be a big part of raising you up above the cacophony. Here are three easy steps to use when thinking about how to describe yourself and what you do.
Our nervous system does not like surprises. And in most cases, lawyers are (very unpleasantly) surprised by the arrival of a grievance. It is normal to have a period of shock or disbelief when the nasty and unexpected happens. “I can’t believe this is happening.” Give it a little time and the next thing you know…
On those rare occasions when you might be able to leave the office and attend a networking event or maybe just to meet some friends, you might not be thinking of your ethical obligations but maybe you should. Can small talk lead to a disciplinary action?