In my experience with law firms, it is quite common to come across new associates who have had very little training in law school on how to market themselves. Oftentimes they are simply intimidated by the concept, don’t know where to begin and thus rely on senior lawyers to provide them with work.
In order to build a successful law practice, new associates need to begin early on in their career to develop strong practice management skills, along with integrating some very basic marketing activities into their daily routine.
Basic Marketing Tips:
- Create a “Marketing” file and keep it in an accessible location.
- Docket your marketing time under a non-billable code to keep score of your efforts. Most law firm accounting programs can track revenue by source allowing you to focus on successful initiatives.
- Develop a brief, simple statement that describes what you do and where you work (elevator speech).
- Make a list of all the people you think could be influential in helping you gain more business, including: peers, friends, previous employers, family, religious leaders, medical or financial professionals, politicians, educational authorities, health care practitioners, focusing on contacts who will generate the kind of clientele you hope to work with.
- Decide the most comfortable means for you to connect with potential new business contacts: writing articles, social media, speaking engagements, charity sponsorship, networking associations, coffee or lunch, emails, newsletters, sporting events, etc.
- Keep a current database to record and track your contact information and activity.
- Join professional associations, volunteer in your community, attend firm-related events.
- Set goals for yourself and schedule your marketing activities in advance. Attempt to network with at least one contact a month and do one other marketing event o four choice each quarter.
- Always follow-up with a “thank you” phone call, email or card to any referral sources.
- Consider working with a coach to assist you in developing a basic marketing plan that suits your particular skills and interests, and help keep you on track.
- Don’t give up!
- Don’t expect to get something in return.
- Look for ways you can learn more about your contacts and open dialogue on topics of interest.
- Build trust and keep in touch with your contacts.
Marketing does not have to be complicated. Following these basic tips early on in your practice will help you develop confidence and long-term habits in building a clientele base for a successful practice.