What is the difference between lawyers who are successful and those who aren't?
More often than not it comes down to the fact that successful lawyers have mastered the art of rainmaking, marketing and client development skills, while those who are unsuccessful have not. The importance of learning how to market your law business cannot be overstated.
It's a fact that professional people, including attorneys, must market to survive.
If you are in private practice, you are in a business and live on sales. If you can't or won't learn to market then perhaps you should consider finding a job with a corporation or the government where marketing is not required. Of course, junior associates at large firms don't market much but later, on the way up the ladder, they are expected to bring in clients. At the partner level your job security depends on your client list and the receivables you can bring in each year. If you are a partner and considering leaving your firm, the first question the prospective firm or the headhunter will ask is:
“How much do you have in portable legal business?”
What would be your answer?
Did you take a marketing class in law school? I never did, none was offered. Yet we are expected to bring in business.
Here is a video presentation I made at the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting about the importance of legal marketing and a couple of suggestions about how to how develop your skills:
HOW TO MARKET YOUR LAW FIRM:
- Learn the general principles of marketing. The Lawyer's Life Blog has a number of posts about lawyer marketing that should be helpful to you.
- Customize them to fit you personally and your law practice. You need to be clear about your particular law practice; what areas you practice in, or want to practice in, how much business you have now in each area and how much business you want in each area.
- Create a written marketing plan. It doesn't have to be complicated or fancy. It can be a Word document, a spreadsheet, prepared using project management software or set up via an online task management website. The important thing is that you set out clear legal marketing goals with the specific action steps necessary to reach each goal. You also must follow a timeline for completing each action step.
- Follow the marketing plan consistently. It is tempting not to market when you have plenty of legal business. That is a mistake. Some types of legal marking, such as networking, require a significant amount of time to develop prospects. A week that goes by without marketing is a week lost forever. A poor marketing plan followed consistently will outperform the best marketing plan followed inconsistently.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ARE:
- Where you are in marketing your law practice. If you are with a firm, what amount of business could you take with you if you left?
- What marketing tools you should use. Whether it is networking, speaking, writing articles, joining professional associations… the tools you use to develop law clients should fit you. If the fit isn't right, it is very hard to be consistent.
- You must have a detailed written marketing plan. In preparing the plan you need to be clear about your ideal law practice; what percent of money do you expect and what percent of your time you want to devote to each practice area. You also need clarity about who is your ideal client. Be specific.
- You must follow your marketing plan consistently. Client development needs to become a habit; an integral art of your law practice.
Our coaching helps you learn how to market your personal law practice or your law firm. Through effective legal marketing you can develop your law practice, advance your legal career and, as a result, balance your professional and personal life. Coaching from an experienced lawyer and Professional Coach is the most powerful coaching you can receive.
” Develop your marketing skills, learn to be a Rainmaker; it's the best career insurance you can have.” ~Daniel Roberts
HOW I CAN HELP YOUR LAW PRACTICE MARKETING EFFORT
Coaching for Lawyers offers coaching to help you learn marketing principles, determine which marketing tools best suit you and your practice area. Then we apply them to your unique law practice, develop a written marketing plan and follow through. We initially spend time together preparing a marketing plan. Then, through weekly coaching sessions, we work through any problems you encounter, help establish the marketing habit and hold you accountable to your marketing commitment. If you want to improve your marketing skills and bring in more clients, call me. If coaching isn't for you, I can recommend a couple of marketing books that are helpful for attorneys.