I am sitting in my new law office with the desk I bought at Office Max. The new file folders are ready to go for new clients. I have all my pens organized and the computer turned on to tackle any legal issue. Now all I need is a client.
How do I find clients?
1. Figure out what type of law you want to practice.
The legal needs of a person wanting a divorce are much different than someone wanting a Will. While our law degrees allow us flexibility in practicing law, we cannot be all things to all people.
In the olden days of the telephone book advertising, I would look over the legal ads and see firms that listed a long list of things they did for their clients. You name it, the firm did it. Usually it was a sole practitioner who would take anything and everything that walked into his office. From a consumer point of view, it does not make sense that a sole practitioner can do it all himself.
2. Dig deep into your area of the law.
I do not want to go to a part time Dentist who works on dental patients one hour and then does foot surgery the next hour and then does psychiatry after lunch. I want someone who knows what she is doing in dentistry. Someone who is not learning on the job on my dime. That is why it is important to stick with one or two areas of law and refer away people that do not meet your area of scope.
3. Refer clients to other attorneys that can help the clients.
If a client approaches me about a tax situation, I politely tell the client I do not do tax issues and I refer that person to someone that does tax law. Could I do the tax issue? Yes, but would I want to spend all the time and learning and energy when I may never have such a client or a tax issue again? Besides, the client is better served by me when I am up front and know my limitations. The client wants an answer to his problem. The client does not want to spend time and money on teaching me about the law I have no idea about.
4. Build relationships with others in your geographic area.
If a client wants a divorce, I refer him to local attorneys in town to help him with his problem. How do I know who these people are? I have taken the time to meet other attorneys in other areas of the law. I know people who practice criminal law, family law, tax law, real property, wills, trusts and probate and business litigation. I keep a list of these people and refer them business. They know me and they know I do bankruptcy law. Perhaps they will refer me a client when a bankruptcy client comes in their door.
5. Remind those in your network about what you do.
“Wow I haven’t seen you in months, what are you doing these days?”
“Oh,I wish I would have known you did bankruptcy, I just referred my brother-in-law to the guy down the street.”
“Give me your card again and I will remember for the next time.”
Have you had that conversation? That guy did not remember, because I did not remind him. I lost the potential client, because I did not keep in touch. Remind him before he meets someone and not after.
What are your techniques to gain new bankruptcy clients?