How to be a stand-out small law firm in a competitive market
Many of the lawyers who set up offices at LawBank have left big law firms. As new entrepreneurs, they must learn to manage the business side of managing and marketing their firms. Even if marketing and business development is new to you, you can create a stand-out small firm with a few simple strategies.
While your previous law firm might have handled ad buys and marketing for you, that responsibility will now fall to you as the head of a small law firm. However, during your time at that firm, you likely developed many of the skills you need to effectively market your new firm. They include:
Understanding Your Client
All marketing and business development efforts start with the client. If you don’t understand your target client, or if you don’t have a target client, then all the marketing in the world won’t help.
As you set up your new law firm, think back to your previous clients. You know why they sought services from your old firm, but go beyond that when creating your new firm’s client profile. Think about:
- Common client complaints at your old firm
- Value-add services you might provide as part of your new law firm model
- Your personal skills and talents that can help differentiate you and your firm
If you have worked in your practice area for awhile, you know from experience what the average client wants and needs. Look for ways to meet those needs in a new and more effective way in your firm. Then highlight your new approach in any marketing campaigns.
As an independent lawyer leading a small law firm, networking will serve as your most cost- and time-effective marketing strategy. Your old firm likely encouraged you to join associations and business groups to expand your network.
You should continue that practice in your new firm, with a few additions:
- As you network, remember that you represent both your firm’s brand and your personal brand; your personal brand matters a lot when you run a small firm
- Don’t forget current clients when networking: They often become the biggest source of word-of-mouth marketing
- Think beyond law-specific associations and groups; expand your networking efforts into industry and business groups your target client might frequent
Most importantly, in every professional interaction, remember the relationship. The people around you don’t want to feel like a means to an end. Effective networking shouldn’t feel like networking; it should feel like relationship-building. Think about what value you can give the other person in each interaction, and not just what that person can do for you.
Own Your Niche
As a small firm or independent lawyer, you simply don’t have time to generalize. Develop a laser-focus on one or two niche practice areas. Then do everything you can to become known as the expert in that area. Consider:
- Attending conferences and professional development opportunities related to your niche practice area
- Speaking at events as a subject matter expert; target both law-related events and general business or industry events
- Fully develop your website, blog and social media presence and offer informative content on your practice area
You don’t need big firm ad budgets to succeed in a competitive market. As a seasoned lawyer, you already have the experience necessary to meet clients’ unmet needs. Enter the field feeling confident that you can offer clients something more or something better than what they can find at a larger shop.
To learn more about launching and developing a small law firm in Denver, contact us. We offer three locations in Denver where lawyers can find office space and/or co-working space to meet their growing firm’s needs.