Ten Ways to Build Your Law Practice
By Alvah Parker
Submitted November, 2003
Write a Business Plan
Plan your practice on paper. What are you creating? How will it be unique? Who is in your target market? How will you get clients? Does it make sense? Will you be profitable? A business plan can give you the answers before you make any investment in the business.
Set 2 or 3 goals that are a priority
Someone once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time bound (SMART) Make them consistent with your business plan. Your time schedule should reflect your goals.
Know exactly what you do
Create a memorable answer to the question, “What do you do?” It’s often called your elevator speech because you can answer it while you are in the elevator going from one floor to another. It must be brief, interesting and clear. It should give the prospective client a compelling reason to work with you. Practice until you can say it without hesitation and it feels right.
Determine your niche
It seems counter intuitive to have a niche but it is not. When you have a general practice you are not viewed as an expert at anything. Find your area of expertise. This is what makes you unique. Clients will seek you out once you become known for that niche.
Find experienced attorneys who share your niche
They may be willing to mentor you, refer clients to you, and/or tell you about others who may be able to help you.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce or Community Group
Get known in the town or area you are working and/or living in. To be visible you will need to be an active member of the group you choose. Join a committee or volunteer to do something that you can see needs to be done.
Find strategic partners
Who else calls on people who would be good clients for you? These people might be willing to refer clients to you. You will want to be comfortable referring to them as well. If you specialize in trusts and estates, an accountant might refer to you. If you specialize in real estate, bank executives and/or real estate brokers might be partners for you.
Form an advisory board
Find people who have skills you admire and ask them to mentor you. Some ideas for this advisory board might be: Legal Skills advisor – A senior attorney with deep knowledge in your area of the law. Role Model – Someone who runs his/her practice in a way that you admire. Great Connector – Someone who prides him/herself on having great contacts. Coach – someone who understands what you want to accomplish in your practice and will help you get there. Accountant – someone who will help you to grow financially.
Create a database for your clients, prospective clients and strategic partners
Know exactly who your target market is and then create a database of names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of those you meet that are in your target market. It is said that you must contact a prospective client 7 times before he/she will do business with you. How will you do that?
Stay connected to your target market
Speak to groups interested in your area of expertise. Write articles for newspapers. Create your own e-zine (email newsletter). Keep your target market informed of your activities.
About the Author: Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor to attorneys and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. While she specializes in working with attorneys she also works with other professionals, and coaches people in transition. Alvah is found on the web and may also be reached at 781-598-0388.
Copyright © 2003 Alvah Parker.All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.