So you’ve finally done it. You landed your undergrad, you’ve absorbed the LSAT study guide, earned your law degree and crushed the bar exam. After years of hard work, endless studies and sheer determination, you’ve realized your goal by becoming an official lawyer. But now what?
Many new lawyers opt to find a job at a law firm. However, what if that’s not your scene? If not, then you might think about starting your own private practice as a lawyer. In either case, your top priority is winning clients in order to keep your job or make ends meet in private practice. This brings up another question. How do you get clients? Here are a few old-school steps you, as a new lawyer, can take in order to land clients.
Earn Trust From Potential Clients
Building trust with potential clients is crucial for any professional, but it’s frequently a tough ask for lawyers. This is because, regrettably, lawyers are often unfairly pegged as untrustworthy. While this is, for the most part, a fallacy, lawyers sometimes find themselves fighting against the common stereotype.
As a new lawyer, you can break this misconception by earnestly showing your prospective clients that you care. Start by reaching out on a personal level. While emailing potential clients is one way to connect with potential clients, it is often sterile, impersonal and unmemorable. A phone call is okay too, but will it make a strong impression compared to an in-person meeting?
Go the extra mile by meeting people face-to-face. Does this old-school approach take more effort than sending an email? Yes, absolutely, and that’s the whole point. When you go out of your way to show people you are serious about being their legal defence pro, it makes a difference and leaves a lasting impression.
According to legal marketing statistics, lawyers who specialize in a certain field are 22% more likely to generate a larger clientele compared to those who do not. This makes sense because when someone is in a situation to hire a lawyer, they’re most likely to search for a legal professional who specializes in a specific area. For instance, a mother with two children seeking a divorce from an abusive partner is more likely to seek out a divorce lawyer over an attorney who offers generalized legal services.
What’s more, if you specialize, you are uniquely positioned to charge your clients a premium price. Studies show that the more specialized you are in a particular niche, the more valuable your services become.
Old School Social Networking: Talk to Everybody (Yes, Everybody)
If you haven’t figured it out already, you’ll soon discover that being a lawyer is an extremely social profession. From listening to clients to communicating to others on their behalf, you are in constant contact with people from all walks of life. Even when you’re not working, you’re probably surrounded by people.
Talk to the vendor who sells you apples at the farmer’s market. Strike up a conversation with your dog groomer. You get the idea. Talk and listen to people, and at every appropriate moment, let them know you are a lawyer who can help.
It’s imperative to talk to everyone you encounter – not to sell them on hiring you – but to make an exchange that will lead to an opportunity to get hired. There’s a big difference.
Does this sound extreme? Maybe. But the truth of the matter is, communicating with everyone you meet is bound to land you more clients. Take a look at the “six degrees of separation” theory. It posits that every person is socially connected to someone you need or want to be in contact with. So, when you talk to your mail courier about your legal services, odds are he or she knows someone who could use your legal counsel.
Today’s world is saturated with online marketing tactics and social network ploys. It’s gotten to the point where people have become desensitized to advertisements and they are certainly getting privy to marketing gimmicks on social media.
As a new lawyer, you have a unique opportunity to hack through the hype. Be real. Talk to people. Listen to their needs. Do in-person networking by asking people if they have friends or family members who might need your services.
Yes, this is yet another old-school approach to winning new clients. However, face-to-face dialogue conducted with sincerity and integrity is still the most powerful tool for gaining the clientele you need for your new career as a lawyer.
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