Pay attention to your communities

J. Nick Augustine J.D., “The Law Publicist,” is the principal of Law Publicist Communications, an ALR/PRA, Inc. agency. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition in legal marketing, public relations, and practice management. Nick shares career growth experience and tips for legal job seekers.

Today one of my frequent radio show contributors, Dr. Leah Jackman-Wheitner, the career consultant for lawyers, suggested an upcoming LawTalkRadio episode: How to choose a practice area niche. In the same conversation, we talked about the communities where solos are finding clients and referral partners. Below are a few of my thoughts.

Definition: com·mu·ni·ty: noun, communities, plural. 1) A group of people living together in one place, esp. once practicing common ownership ( – a community of nuns); 2) All the people living in a particular area or place ( – local communities); …6) A group of people having a religion, race, profession, or other particular characteristic in common ( – Rhode Island’s Japanese community; – the scientific community).

Our communities are wider than we realize. The first community you likely consider is the area immediately surrounding your home or work. Let us expand our definitions and make a list of our communities. Think about your parents and their neighbors. Your parents might not live on the same street where you played as a child; they still jump at the chance to tell the neighbor their kid is a lawyer. Your parents are like referral partners. If they know what you do, they can tell others. You never know when Bob from across the street needs someone and you can help. Make a list of your communities and attend to them.

What do the people in our communities need? Depending on the type of community, members could need to hire a lawyer, know about a lawyer who is hiring and growing a practice, or ask for confidential attorney contact, you know, “for a friend.” Overall, what community members really need, if you ask me, is to communicate with other community members. Tell members of your communities about what you do as a lawyer.

How will you serve the members of your communities? We all know someone who participates in their local civic activities to attract clients. This person may be the local bankruptcy or traffic lawyer – nobody talks about hiring this person – everybody wants to know this person. Consider my friend, the patent attorney, who follows the word on the street regarding “patent trolling” and writes articles for other patent lawyers. My friend is adding value to his patent lawyer community. Get out there and serve the members of your communities. When you’re done, find more communities and repeat.

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One response to “Pay attention to your communities

  1. Great Article and I would like to add a couple of comments. Lawyers need to change their mindset when if comes to asking for referrals. Most of the lawyers I know, really do not know how to or are reluctant to ask for referrals. They also need to teach their clients and those you have mentioned how to refer business to them. In other words, not only do they need to learn how to change their referral mindset but also the referral mindset of not only their current clients but all those that you have mentioned in this article.

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