It’s no secret that small law firms and solo practitioners have their work cut for them in our current society’s legal landscape. Larger firms tend to generate the largest amount of business and hold the most clout. Individuals who are seeking more affordable legal counsel aren’t a guaranteed client either. Those seeking a lawyer often go through a careful selection process based on research and word-of-mouth. With the apparent over saturation of law school graduates, it’s even more important today to set your small firm up for success.
If you are looking to open up a solo (or small) practice, these are a few tips to keep in mind during your journey:
While it may feel counter intuitive to narrow down the number of potential clients that are available to you, specializing is absolutely the more promising route for your small firm or solo practice. You can create a specialization in one of two ways. One, you can determine exactly which kinds of cases you will work on. Alternatively, specialization can be built by specifying which cases your firm will not work on.
The reality is that clients are not looking for a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to their lawyers. Clients want to know exactly what your firm is good at, and they want to know that the firms’ proficiencies align exactly with their individual issues.
No matter what route you took to get to law school, it’s highly likely that you’ve been told how important your network is. That importance never weans. As a solo practitioner or small firm, it’s supremely important to have other lawyers in your corner.
When clients come seeking advice that doesn’t align with a particular firm’s specialty, they refer them to other lawyers in their network. Being a part of a large network of lawyers gives your firm a larger referral base.
Build a Brand
Small firms need to establish themselves as both reputable and consistent. There are several different resources that a firm should access in order to gain exposure and create a notable brand.
For one, the firm should engage with the local news outlets. Offer news sources your expertise, and provide expert legal opinion on a pro bono basis in order to build up credibility in the community. In addition to offering services to news outlets and the press, your firm should also offer pro bono publico services. Try to be strategic about the cases that you offer free legal services to; work with cases where the public is likely to engage. You want to your achievements in these cases to be twofold: to win the case for your client and to gain public recognition.