The best way to build your law practice


There are many strategies you can use to bring in new clients and increase your income. Which strategies are best for you?

I like to break down the options into two broad categories: internal and external.


Internal marketing generally focuses on client relations, to generate repeat business, the sale of additional services, and referrals.

It also includes staying in touch with existing business and professional contacts who can provide referrals, introductions, and cross-marketing opportunities.


  • Low or no cost
  • You already have a list and permission to contact
  • Existing trust means clients and their referrals are easier and quicker to close
  • Clients are usually willing to refer, introduce you, share your content, and provide positive reviews and testimonials
  • A client newsletter is a simple way to stay in touch with clients (and prospects and professional contacts)
  • You don’t need a lot of marketing experience
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of time
  • Repeat business and referrals are more profitable


  • Can be slower to scale
  • Your clients may not need repeat or additional services, and/or might have limited ability to refer


External marketing involves lead generation, through advertising, direct mail, networking and speaking, blogging, articles, and other means, and following up with and closing those leads.


  • You can target any market or markets
  • You may be able to scale quickly
  • Some strategies (eg, advertising) don’t require a lot of time
  • Some strategies (e.g., networking, speaking, blogging) don’t require a lot of money
  • You can hire/outsource many activities


  • Some strategies (e.g., networking) may take a long time to bear fruit
  • Advertising requires money, expertise, and the risk of loss
  • Advertising requires a lot of testing to find the right (profitable) approach
  • Competition can be fierce in some markets and/or for some services
  • Longer closing process; leads are more price-resistant
  • Additional overhead (to work with leads)
  • Some strategies may be inappropriate for your image, style, or practice area
  • Bar rules are usually more restrictive


Choosing the best strategies for you requires you to consider

  • The time and/or money you are willing to invest/risk
  • Your type of practice/clients/market
  • Restrictions (bar rules, your firm)
  • Your marketing experience and competitive factors
  • Your current staff and/or ability to hire more


Every lawyer should start with internal marketing and continue doing it as long as they are practicing.

Who doesn’t want repeat business and referrals?

For many lawyers, internal marketing strategies will be all they ever need.

Some lawyers or firms who want to grow bigger and faster should also consider external marketing strategies, when they have the resources and temperament to do so. But only after they have solid internal marketing strategies in place.

Are you ready to take a quantum leap in your practice?