Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s column is written by Karen Munoz.
All of us are responsible, in some ways, for marketing our respective firms. Obviously, solo practitioners and partners in small firms feel this burden more than a fresh associate in big corporate practice but it’s something we all should be aware of.
Many lawyers of us may see our primary duties as being the practice of the law and delivery of a high-quality service to our clients. But if we don’t market out firms well enough, we won’t have any law to practice or clients to represent. At all times when we represent our firms, we are marketing them so we should be aware of that fact and try to use it to our advantage.
So I thought about some simple marketing tips, which many of us might not have explored in depth and some that may not even have considered to be marketing at all.
Get the Client Talking
Don’t try too hard to sell yourself. Potential clients don’t really care about your full list of awards, big verdicts, credentials or diverse array of practice areas.
In the same way many of us would probably like to show off how great we are, clients and potential clients also want to talk about themselves. So ask questions. People warm to others who take an interest in them. It’s very easy with a commercial client to ask questions about their business or trends in the industry – it might even bring the bonus of a potentially new source of work for the client. But the real value is earning the trust and confidence of the client. And when the client is not a business, resort to your ordinary social skills to ask questions about them.
Be Friendly to Other Lawyers
Obviously schmoozing is not a particularly original idea for bringing in business. Hosting a dinner, playing golf or going to fundraisers are age-old ways of putting ourselves out there. But we should keep a couple of things in mind. Firstly, we should approach any of these situations with a similar attitude to meetings with clients and not try to sell ourselves too much.
But there are other ways of being nice to our peers. Something as simple as congratulating someone on a recent success shows that you’re paying attention. Sending a thank-you card or email for a colleague’s help on something shows your appreciation in a professional way. Don’t be afraid to offer your own services to friends in need either.
Put Yourself Out There in the Nonlegal Community
Community involvement is a great way of meeting people and opening up entirely new networks from which you can potentially get business. Get involved with your kids’ parent-teacher associations, go to church, help out in the local community. It’s not as direct as mixing with other lawyers, but making friends in your local community can be a very fruitful source of new business.