Tips for Getting New Clients

Tips for Getting New Clients

 

According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group, the biggest challenge for solo and small firm law practices is acquiring new clients.   Here are some tips for getting new clients.

 

 1.            Network, Network, Network!          

 

Attend conferences and networking events. Join a bar association, professional organization or committee.  Reach out to other lawyers, but also connect with non-lawyers who work in the same field as you.  Let your family, friends and acquaintances know about your practice and specialties.  Besides networking in person, be sure to network online too.  Do whatever you can to get the word out about your practice.  Part of networking may derive from sharing law space with other lawyers.  After all,  they are right next door to your office and may not practice in the area of law in which you are an expert.

 

2.            Establish and Maintain an Online Presence

 

Establish a professional website for your law practice. Create a social media account on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Avvo.  Continually update and participate in social media like contributing to Avvo forums or posting tweets about legal matters. Start a legal blog that provides helpful information your target audience is interested in.  You can link your blog posts to your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account.

 

3.             Referrals

 

Maintain relationships with past clients and inform them of all the services your law practice provides. Referrals can also come from other attorneys.  Attorneys who work in a shared office space can recommend potential clients.  Sharing an office space with other attorneys provides many benefits like a strong attorney network, shared resources (printers, wi-fi, conference rooms etc.), reduced rent and a focused work environment.

 

4.            Karma is Real

 

Just because a particular client isn’t a good fit for your practice doesn’t mean they’re not a good fit for someone else’s.  Don’t be afraid to refer a client you wouldn’t normally take to other practices.  Who knows, maybe other attorneys just met with someone that would benefit more from your area of expertise.

 

Source:

http://www.lawsitesblog.com/2016/07/exclusive-survey-results-small-firms-greatest-challenges-theyre-address.html

 

 

Why Lawyers Don’t Sign Non-compete Agreements?

Q.  Why Lawyers Don’t Sign Non-compete Agreements?

A. Post-termination covenants-not to compete for lawyers are generally prohibited.  An Indiana lawyer learned the hard way.  The Supreme Court reprimanded him for including a noncompete clause in an associate’s contract and telling clients about the non-compete after firing the associate.  This lawyer was trying to take over the cases.  See http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2014/11/the-indiana-supreme-court-has-imposed-a-public-reprimand-of-an-attorney-who-had-contained-a-non-compete-provision-in-an-assoc.html  While at first glance this may seem harmless, it is considered unprofessional conduct. Sanctions may be applied to those attorneys violating this Rule.

The basis of this prohibition against noncompetes regarding the legal profession is based on the client’s right to choose representation.    

Q.  What about the Rule in Georgia?

A.    For those Georgia lawyers, see Rule 5.6 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and Enforcement.   https://www.gabar.org/Handbook/index.cfm#handbook/rule135

Q.  Does this Rule apply in every state?

A.  It appears variations of Model Rules of Professional Conduct (”MRPC”) have been adopted in nearly every state.

See https://www.ameicanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/policy/rule_charts.htm. It appears it is a violation of ethics to restrict an attorney from accepting engagement from a potential client or client. Simply, clients have actually set lawyers free in this regard.  It is no small irony that restrictive covenants, while permitted against doctors, are prohibited against attorneys under the theory that there should be no interference with a client’s choice for legal representation. See Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 5.6. 

Q.   But what of “in-house” counsel?  

A.  The general view is that Rule 5.6 applies equally to in-house attorneys.    (“In the ban did not apply to in-house attorneys, and restrictions were permitted, then ‘the public would be restricted from access to lawyers who, by virtue of their background and experience, might be the best available lawyers to represent them’”).

So, lawyers are free from the restrictive and sometimes onerous burdens of noncompete provisions.  Good for us. 

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3 Reasons Solo Practitioners Take the Opportunity to Share Law Office Space

 As we mentioned in our blog post, "You can't run a Law Practice From a Coffee Shop, http://www.lawspacematch.com/2011/06/you_cant_run_a_law_practice_from_a_coffee_shop/, you cannot practice in a cafe forever. Considering an appropriate level of professionalism, an attorney's ethical duty to maintain a client's secrets and confidences confidential, and for your own working quiet space, lawyers need a law office. Why not space share with an existing law firm? Here are three reasons to proceed with space sharing.  

1.   Less day to day hassle

  A law office filled with attorneys typically has all the tools a lawyer needs in their practice, including: a community scanner, an option for an available phone system/voicemail messaging, copying, faxing and even adequate parking. Not to mention a conference room, perhaps a receptionist and waiting area for clients. Seasoned lawyers, holding a long-term lease or owning LawSpace are more than willing to have a solo practitioner share law space. "Package" deals or a la carte deals are available. The headaches of staffing, machine upkeep and office décor or maintenance are shifted to someone else so that solo practitioners can focus on legal expertise and developing their practice.

2.   Filling the Pipeline

We all know it takes a lot of time to meet clients, prepare for litigation, draft documents or close a transaction.  With multiple lawyers just down the hall, a small law firm can usually obtain periodic referrals of clients from overloaded attorneys who need help.   It’s true, if you’re down the hall, you’re the first one an overloaded attorney will consider.  Proximity is key.   And remember, these lawyers are probably practicing in different practice areas so complimenting their practice means more clients landing on your desk.

3.  Reduction of Your Risk

Some solo practitioners and small law firms may opt to avoid malpractice insurance payments.  All the more reason to a join a law office rental sharing situation.  Young lawyers are more apt to ask questions and get a “second opinion” from an attorney they know, trust and who is accessible.  Bouncing ideas off another lawyer about a family law matter, or how to file a mechanic’s lien may substantially reduce your risk of malpractice.  This is important, particularly, when you don’t have malpractice insurance.

  •  At www.LawSpaceMatch.com, we are small law, we know small law and we help small law.  This is a platform for attorneys with empty law office space to list empty space and attorneys wanting space sharing opportunities. 
  • Free search approximately 40,000 zip codes.  
  • As a solo practitioner for over 20 years, the founder created LawSpaceMatch to aid and support “small law” and their need to share office space fast and efficiently. 

Solo Practitioners and Small Law Firms Dominate

The American Bar Association has conducted surveys on lawyer demographics since 1980. In 2015, solo law practitioners made up the majority (49%) of private practitioners and a majority (76%) of law firms have two to five lawyers. Solo law practitioners have continuously dominated the percentage of private practitioners since the 1980s and will continue to do so.

So why Is "small law" really "big law"? - a change in the legal market because of the 2007 financial crisis resulted in an increase in solo law practitioners. The 2007 financial crisis reduced employment opportunities in many legal sectors. Attorneys were hanging their shingles in droves. Private law firms hired fewer attorneys. The result: increased competition for all areas of the legal filed ( including paralegals legal secretaries) yet solo practitioners honed their skill base and focused on client retention and run their law practice. After all, practicing law is a business. Research about the legal industry has been sparse. When there is research available, it usually focuses on Big Law attorneys. Studies on attorneys' research practices usually target attorneys in larger firms.

Solo and small law firm lawyers are largely underrepresented in these studies. This is problematic because solo and small law firm attorneys make up the majority of law practitioners.

Even with the ups and downs of the economy, solo and small law firms succeed in dominating legal services. Because of this, future legal studies should prioritize research on solo and small law practitioners. After all, small law dominates. At lawspacematch.com, we believe in "small law".

 

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