With the rise of “alternative legal service providers” offering cheap, do-it-yourself legal solutions (you know who I’m talking about), it can be difficult to compete as a small law firm or solo practitioner in todays market. While you undoubtedly know that your services are far superior to those standardized, generic documents and services offered online, the average client may not. That’s why, for the modern legal professional, figuring out how to find more legal clients is going to be the key to your success. To help get you started growing your law practice, here are 10 ways for lawyers to get more clients.
The first step in the legal services sales cycle normally consists of research. In other words, before your prospective clients come calling on you for help, they are going to look online for as much free content and information as they can find to answer their questions.
Maintaining an active blog (or blogs) targeted to your area(s) of practice is a great way to get new clients into your “sales funnel.” Think about the questions your potential clients might be asking (i.e. searching for on Google), and blog about them. Give them some basic info to help them understand their situation better, and make it clear that getting help from a lawyer may be a good idea. That way, when they decide they do need professional legal help, you’ve given yourself a better chance of being the person they turn to.
Resources: Blogger, WordPress
2. Email Newsletters
Your goal is to be top of mind whenever a prospective client decides that it’s time to hire a lawyer. Signing client prospects up for an email newsletter is a very effective way to keep them engaged with you and your firm.
Email newsletters and blogging go hand in hand. You should be blogging about current events and common legal questions that your target clientele would find interesting, and then sending out weekly or monthly updates in your newsletter.
Resources: Mad Mimi, MailChimp
3. Free Guides for Download
Content is king in today’s digital world. The third piece of your online content strategy, along with blogging and newsletters, should be giving away free guides for download. For example, you might offer guides like “The Complete Legal Guide to Starting Your Business,” or “How to Avoid Probate.”
Just like blogging, you want to provide people with helpful, basic information so they have a better understanding of their legal issues. The reason to use downloads is because you can collect email addresses in exchange, which helps build up your subscriber base for your email newsletter.
4. Public Speaking
The lawyer client relationship is heavily built on trust. In order for a client to hire you, it’s imperative that they trust you. So anything you can do to establish your credibility in your field will help establish that level of trust.
One good way to establish credibility is to do public speaking engagements or participate on panels. It’s a great way to get exposure amongst new client prospects and demonstrate your expertise and trustworthiness.
5. Events and Meetups
Building a client base is largely a numbers game, where the more people you can interact with, the better. Attending networking events and meetups is an easy way to engage with new potential clients. You may even consider throwing your own events and parties targeted to your ideal audience of clients.
Find events where the attendees are likely to include members of your target clientele, and get involved. Many people are intimidated by the thought of hiring a lawyer. So if you can get out there, interact with people, and show them that you’re a normal, friendly person, you’ll be well on your way to growing your personal brand and picking up new clients.
6. Social Media Discussions
Growing a law practice is all about engaging with your target audience however possible. One great way to grow a following and engage with new potential clients is to host weekly or monthly discussions on social media sites.
Offering a free legal discussion on your Twitter account or your Facebook page is a good way to build up followers. Make sure to use a hashtag associated with your firm or brand so people can easily follow the discussion. You might also consider using LinkedIn Groups for this purpose. Another lesser-known option to consider is doing a Reddit AMA (ask me anything). Reddit has a highly engaged community with millions of daily visitors, making it another good resource where you can interact with prospective clients.
Resources: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit AMA
7. Q&A Websites
There are a number of good question and answer websites, but Avvo and Quora are two of the best for attorneys. Look for good questions that relate to your practice area and provide people with helpful answers and information (without actually giving legal advice of course).
When you answer questions, not only will you be engaging with the person who asked the question, but more importantly, your answer will live on for all future visitors to the site that are researching similar questions. Also, answering questions on Avvo will help you boost that all important Avvo rating. Make sure your profile on the Q&A sites clearly links back to all your social media accounts, your website, etc. so that it’s easy for people to contact you.
Resources: Avvo, Quora
8. Referral Networks
Referrals are the most classic, and probably still the most common way that lawyers get more clients. Anything you can do to increase the number of referrals you receive is a good thing.
You should think about establishing relationships with people from related industries – perhaps doctors, bankers, real estate agents, insurance salesmen, etc. – who are likely to have clients that encounter legal issues. Take these people out to lunch, get to know them, and make an informal agreement to refer each other business whenever possible.
You should also meet as many lawyers in other practice areas as possible and create similar arrangements. Oftentimes, the best source of referrals is another attorney who is unable to take on a client for whatever reason. There are even sites online now where you can network with attorneys and refer clients to each other like LegalReach and wireLawyer.
Resources: LegalReach, wireLawyer
9. Buying Leads
The Internet has given rise to a growing industry for “lawyer leads.” There are a number of players in the space, including Total Attorneys, AttorneyBoost, and even LegalZoom.
Buying leads is a great, although more expensive, means of finding new clients as a lawyer. When you buy a lead, you essentially get instant access to a person that you already know has a legal problem and needs help. However, the conversion rates aren’t always great, so use with caution.
Resources: AttorneyBoost, Total Attorneys, LegalZoom
10. Online Marketplaces and Platforms
A number of startups and more established companies have built online marketplaces, directories, and platforms to help people access legal help. Emerging online lawyer marketplaces include UpCounsel, LawKick, and Priori Legal. Other platforms like RocketLawyer and Avvo are more established, and also good places where people searching for legal help are likely to go.
The more of these sites you can join and become familiar with the better, as you will be steadily increasing the number of interactions with prospective clients online with each new site you join. Again, it’s all a numbers game.
Resources: LawKick, UpCounsel, Avvo, RocketLawyer
So there you have it: 10 good ways for lawyers to get more clients. Some of them require more work than others, and some cost money while others are free. Each attorney and law practice is unique, so the strategy that will work best for you may not work for the next attorney.
The point is, you should try out several strategies to find new legal clients and just see what works best for you. Just make sure you are taking on the right types of clients that fit within your niche, and don’t hesitate to turn a bad client away.
Building a law practice is challenging, but don’t lose hope – get out there, start interacting with prospective clients however you can, and you’ll be on your way to a thriving legal practice in no time!
Have your own tips for how to get more clients? Add them in the comments below.