How does a new attorney get clients?

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Yes, how does a new attorney get clients? I remember when I was opening my practice this was something I desperately wanted to know. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good answer.

I was told that I should do the following:

  1. Send engraved announcements to everyone you know announcing your new practice
  2. Pass out business cards to everyone you meet
  3. Join groups where you can network and pass out cards to everyone you meet
  4. And, that was about it.

There was no Internet in those days. Yellow pages advertising was too expensive. Besides, I’d have to wait months for the book to come out and I needed business immediately.

I didn’t send out announcements, but I did tell everyone that I had opened my own practice. That brought in exactly zero business. I didn’t do any networking. I was 23 years old and looked it, and I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously. Hey, I didn’t take me seriously.

What I did do (on the phone and in classified ads in a bar journal) was contact other attorneys and let them know I was available for (a) appearances and (b) overflow work. And that actually worked. It gave me some breathing room until I could figure out how to get some clients of my own.

If you’re a new attorney today, opening your own practice, I suggest you do the same. It’s a great way to generate immediate income and get some hands on experience.

But the first thing you should do is set up a website.

Not a page in an online directory or a free website, but your own site. A domain name you own and a site that you host. You don’t need anything fancy. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can either do it yourself–if I can learn, you can learn–or pay someone $100 to set up the site for you. Monthly costs are less than $10.

Add lots of content to your site, to show people what you know and how you can help them. Educate people about the law and procedure. Show them what they need to know. Answer their questions, show them their options, and help them understand what to do.

Yes, you should also tell them about the services you offer. But fill your website primarily with information prospective clients want to know about their legal problems and the available solutions . Give them enough information and they will see that you can deliver those solutions.

Make sure your content has appropriate keywords so clients can find you via search. And make sure your site has social media sharing enabled so visitors to your site can share your content with their friends and contacts.

As you gain experience, update your site with additional content–articles, blog posts, reports, checklists–and stories of how you have helped your clients solve problems.

Start building a list. Not everyone who visits your site is ready to hire you. Capture their email address so you can stay in touch with them, notify them when you post new content, and remind them that you are still available to help them or people they know.

When you meet someone who might be a prospective client or referral source, send them to your website so they can learn about what you do.

What’s next? Well, that depends on you. You can continue to build your practice primarily online. You can join networking groups and do public speaking. You can create a free seminar or webinar and “allow” other professionals and centers of influence to invite their clients.

But here’s the thing. Your best source of new clients is referrals from existing and former clients. So, as soon as you have a few clients who are happy with your work, you should leverage those relationships to generate new business.

You can ask for referrals directly but you have another option: ask your clients to refer people to your website and the great content you have available.

How does a new attorney get clients? The same way an old attorney gets clients. Plus appearances and overflow.

The Attorney Marketing Formula. How attorneys get clients.

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  1. […] yesterday’s post, I wrote about how a new attorney should seek appearances and overflow work from other attorneys. This morning, I found some older articles I had written about contract […]