There are many stereotypes that come to mind when thinking about legal practices as a business. Most people not involved in the legal industry conjure up images of partners nearing retirement, half as many computers as attorneys, and large offices with underutilized space. While these assumptions may be spot on for many law firms, there is a new generation of legal professionals embracing new tactics and strategies to grow their firms and serve their clients.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the decisions that these young attorneys are making to get their solo practices off the ground and trending in the right direction. We’ll be splitting these tactics between no-cost strategies and low-cost investments.
This is a foundational piece of the puzzle that previous generations of attorneys simply thought about differently. In previous, pre-internet generations, when clients couldn’t compare practices nearly as easily as they can now, entrepreneurial attorneys positioned their firms differently. Instead of choosing a niche, they instead typically chose to cover a vast array of practice areas. While that was a sound strategic decision at the time, the internet has leveled the playing field.
Young attorneys today have adopted the positioning strategy of specializing in a few specific practice areas and marketing themselves that way. The same consumer trends that we see across all industries inform this decision. Consumers of products and legal clients alike would rather seek out multiple specialists to serve multiple needs than one general practitioner. By thoughtfully and carefully choosing practice areas they excel in and enjoy, young attorneys can establish themselves as subject matter experts quickly and gain new business rapidly.
For those unfamiliar with the term, an example of thought leadership is this blog you’re reading right now! To not mince words, there is no excuse for not producing content, no matter how specific your established legal niche is. Every legal practice, especially those trying to find their footing and grow quickly, should have an easy-to-use website (more on this later). More than that, every practice website should have an active blog. The content produced here can be posted on social media, serve as new ways for clients to find you via search engines, and can give past clients an update regarding new services or offers.
The concept of producing continual content is nothing new for young attorneys, who have consumed this exact content all throughout their scholastic careers. What paralyzes many when they begin engaging with thought leadership is that they fear their lack of experience means they have nothing of value to say. Simply put, if it hasn’t been written, go write it. If it has been written, write it better.
The American Bar Association provides a great guide for starting your first post.
Leveraging personal and professional networks has been a great driver of new business for law firms since time immemorial. Despite this reality, digital networking is surprisingly underutilized by established firms. Conversely, young attorneys savvy in the realm of social media have taken to platforms like LinkedIn and run with them. From sharing the type of content mentioned in the previous point to advertising to reaching out to potential clients directly, LinkedIn has proven to be a godsend for young attorneys looking to fill up their sales funnel.
There are literally hundreds of guides for leveraging LinkedIn properly, but for a simple rundown of the basics, we recommend Hubspot’s 29 LinkedIn Tips for Professional Networking, Business, & Marketing. Especially if you practice business law, digital networking through LinkedIn MUST be a part of your marketing mix.
There is a near-universal truth when it comes to the legal industry and digital marketing: most law firm websites are terrible. It would seem to the outside observer that 90% of practice websites were created in 2005 and have not been updated since. This trend is being bucked quickly, however, by young attorneys who are rolling out thoughtfully-crafted websites. These modern websites tell a much more compelling story, more clearly outline their practice areas, and help position these upstart firms as subject matter experts. If a potential client visits one of these brand new websites before or after visiting a decade-old practice website, the difference will be clear. As most advertising executives will tell you, true value doesn’t matter to consumers; only the perception of value.
Outside of just building a compelling website, young attorneys are also growing their practices through digital advertising, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. 99% of clients spend hours online each day, and you could fund a year of advertising within those three avenues with the cost of one downtown billboard. Unfortunately for aging firms, they still tend to choose the latter.
For an example of a young attorney doing all of these things well, we’d direct your attention towards a Legalinc client, Sam Mollaei, and his firm, Mollaei Law.
Like most industries that don’t produce a tangible product, one of the largest expenses for law firms is office space. Instead of just accepting this fact and making concessions elsewhere, young attorneys are padding their bottom line by embracing the trend of Coworking.
For those who don’t know, Coworking spaces are large office spaces occupied by numerous businesses in small private offices, public workspaces, and shared conference rooms. While costing a fraction of a real estate lease or purchase, most Coworking spaces are in high-traffic downtown areas and provide amenities and energy not found at many true offices. Especially popular among young solo attorneys, these alternative offices are cheaper than real estate while being miles more comfortable than your local Starbucks.
For a rundown of the Coworking options in your area, visit Coworker.com.
This investment helps young firms grow quickly by both saving money in the long-term and creating new revenue streams in the short-term. By partnering with companies like Legalinc, young attorneys can outsource mundane legal tasks that would either occupy their time or require them to make additions to their team earlier than they’d like. Additionally, there are many services Legalinc offers that a young solo attorney may have not considered offering due to time constraints. Also, when an outsourcing partner has offices in all 50 states, they automatically open up new practices to a nationwide footprint faster than they thought possible.
Older practices tend to view outsourcing with a bit of skepticism, either not trusting those outside their walls with their clients’ information, or fearing that their clients would not approve of their business being outsourced. Young attorneys with growing firms know that at the end of the day, clients want reliable service at a price they can afford from an attorney they trust. No billboard ad, business card, or networking event supersedes that in the mind of a consumer.
If you’re interested in engaging with outsourcing and automation for the first time, we encourage you to create a free Legalinc account today. If you’re interested in providing your clients a way to purchase services directly from your website, we’d direct your attention to our Linc product, which is a white labeled portal. Our team is always standing by to schedule a demo!