Who says you have to charge all clients the same fees?


I’ve had penthouse offices on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. I’ve also had storefront offices in not-so-nice parts of town. I charged different fees at each office for the same services.

And why not? Why not charge more at the office with higher overhead and nicer furniture? Why not charge what the market will bear?

What about clients in the same office? Can you charge some clients more than others?

Of course.

If a client gives you a ton of work, why shouldn’t you give them a break? If you provide elite services to some clients who are willing to pay a higher fee, why shouldn’t you?

Insurance defense firms and firms that handle subrogation and collection charge less per matter because of the volume of business they get, less than they would charge if you walked in with a single case.

Living trust mills hire outside lawyers to do the legal work. The lawyers earn less per client than they charge their regular “retail” clients.

By the way, you could do something similar no matter what your practice area. Joint venture with an attorney in a lower-end part of town who doesn’t provide the services you do. He brings in the clients, you do the work, and maintain your other office where you charge higher fees.

(Verily, make sure your bar is okay with this, yada, yada.)

Anyway, people pay different fees for the same goods and services every day. Ever buy a hot dog at the ball park?

Clients will pay different fees, too, because they’re willing to pay for convenience or prestige, or because they like and trust you and don’t want to go anywhere else.

How could you charge more (or less) for your services?

More ideas for joint ventures with other lawyers


Why you might want to take your grandma to lunch


Let’s rap about this niche market thing I’m always talking about.

Suppose you’ve looked at a niche market but rejected it because it looks like it’s not lucrative. Let’s use the “senior” market as an example.

Most people consider the senior market to be “price sensitive,” given the preponderance of fixed incomes in that market. If you want to find the best deals on dinner, go where the seniors go. If you want to charge premium fees for your services, seniors aren’t the first demo you think of.

You might want to think again.

Not all seniors live on a fixed income. Many have investments and real property, some have retired from running businesses but still draw an income, some are still running their business, and some are quite wealthy.

These folks may identify as seniors but lack of money isn’t an issue.

Okay, what about a lack of need? Most seniors aren’t as active as they once were, most have already taken care of their estate planning needs, and many have long standing relationships with attorneys and don’t really need you.

Many, but not all.

What if you could identify well-off seniors with unmet legal needs? A niche market within a niche market.

You could own that market.

Seniors get divorced. They get into car accidents. They even commit crimes.

They have tax issues, real estate issues, investment issues, business issues. And more than a few have not yet taken care of their estate planning needs because, you know, 70 is the new 50.

And even if they don’t need you. . .they know a lot of people. They have a lifetime of contacts: family, former co-workers and employees, professionals they have hired, and centers of influence in your niche market and community.

They can send you referrals and they can introduce you to prospective clients and referral sources.

In other words, even if they don’t hire you, their contacts can be very profitable for you.

I’m not trying to get you to choose the (wealthy) senior market as a niche necessarily. I’m simply trying to get you to think outside the box about what makes a viable niche market.

Okay, that’s it for me. I’m off to an early lunch and some networking. I hear Denny’s has a great senior special.

Need help choosing a niche market? Here you go


What’s wrong with this picture?


Yesterday, my wife and I were speaking about some legal work we had done a few years ago. We had a question, the answer to which might lead to more work for our attorney. Unfortunately, we couldn’t remember his name.

We got lucky and found the old file and my wife called him.

He answered the phone himself. My wife explained the situation and asked the question. She said he didn’t remember us but he was very pleasant and helpful. He answered her question by telling her what we could do to handle our issue that would not entail additional legal work.


Now, what’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is that we didn’t remember his name.

We didn’t remember because after he did the work for us, we never heard from him again.

Not a card, not an email, nothing.

If we hadn’t found the file, we might have called another attorney.

What if we did need additional legal work? What if we had a referral?

Some other attorney would get the work.

So, for the 298,304th time, do yourself a favor: stay in touch with your clients.

The simplest way to stay in touch is an email newsletter


I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t


It looks like self-driving vehicles are here to stay. As this new industry grows, a lot of people will make a fortune.

Wouldn’t it be great to get some of that action?

Maybe you can.

Maybe you can target your legal services towards companies in the supply chain. Help them grow, comply with new regulations, protect their IP, make deals. Maybe you could focus on torts, representing manufacturers or consumers. Or maybe you can work the legislative side of things, representing associations, consumer groups, lobbyists, or municipalities.

How could you leverage your current skills, experience, and contacts to get a foot in this gigantic door? What new practice areas could you take on? What new skills could you learn?

Study the industry. Read everything. Become an expert on the legal issues. Go to industry events. Spend time with experts, entrepreneurs, consultants, and other professionals.

Ask lots of questions. Look for problems that need solving. Look at what others are doing and see if you can do the same.

If you find a way to participate, go for it. In two years or ten, you could be a major player in this new industry, or your research could lead you to other opportunities.

If you can’t see a way to leverage this trend–let it go.

You tried, it wasn’t there for you. Go find something else to get excited about. Maybe “drone law” is a thing.

Unless you can’t let it go.

If you are enamored with the self-driving wave, if you love reading about it and watching videos and talking to people, if you want to be the first kid on your block to drive, uh, own a self-driving vehicle, stick with it.

You may never find a way to marry your interest with your law practice but it’s nice to have a hobby that fulfills you. A happy hobbyist makes a happy lawyer.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

How to find and approach new referral sources


Wanna know my secret?


A subscriber sent an email recently, praising my newsletter. I share it with you because it reveals my “secret” for building readership, fans, and clients.

See if you can spot the secret:


Thank you for your newsletter.

Yours is one of the few newsletters that I read everyday!!!

It always adds value and it is not always hyping the latest greatest webinar or makes me watch a 5-minute video to find out if I am even interested (which means I usually DONT watch the video).

I like how you provide value in a time efficient manner but also include a link for more information.

To me, this positions you as a more credible expert who gets someone’s interest by providing value so the person wants to learn more.

If I have to jump through a lot of hoops (aka watch a bunch of LONG videos) then I will probably never do it.

By the way, I have bought several of your publications and books.

Have a great day!!

He also forwarded an email he got as an example of what he doesn’t like. It was a freak show of graphics, hype, and obnoxious calls to action. A melange of “yuck”. (It was also unclear what they were even selling).

If you compare that mess with my emails, you’ll know that my secret isn’t really a secret at all.

It’s not that my emails are plain text emails instead of a “pretty” HTML newsletter, although that’s part of it. It’s not that I’m not “in your face” with aggressive sales pitches and hype and zero value. It’s not that I just say what I want to say instead of forcing you to go watch videos.

It’s not any of those things, it’s all of them. And more.

It’s the subject matter of the emails. I share ideas that can help you increase your income, be more productive, and make your day a little less stressful and a little more fun.

It’s the stories I tell, often based on personal experience, which illustrate my points and provide a glimpse into me, the person, and not just me, the attorney.

It’s my informality and (lame) humor. You may not laugh but you won’t fall asleep.

It’s that I write “to” you, not “at” you. Just the two of us, having a chat.

And it’s the brevity of the messages. In a few minutes, you get a dose of something to think about or something to do. I give homework, but it’s not overwhelming.

The secret is that I write what I would want to read. And because I was in your shoes for many years, I know what you want to read.

So there you have it. Write to your clients and prospects what you would want to read. You know them, so give them what they want.

Keep it short. Keep it real. Keep it simple. And have some fun with it.

If you do, your clients will look forward to hearing from you, praise you, and buy everything you sell.

Here’s how to use email to build your practice


Tell ’em why if you want ’em to buy


Years ago, I read Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, the lead prosecutor in the case against Charles Manson. Bugliosi presented the timeline and documented the evidence in the case in meticulous detail.

But he didn’t just describe the facts and the evidence. He explained why it mattered. He put everything together into a masterfully persuasive account, as though he was again presenting the case to the jury.

I remember thinking, “nobody who reads this would have any doubts about what happened, or the correctness of the verdicts”.

That’s what we expect of a prosecutor doing his job. It’s also what we expect lawyers to do when advising their clients.

When you tell your clients what you recommend, you must tell them why.

It may be obvious to you, but it isn’t necessarily obvious to the client. Even when it is, telling them the facts and arguments you considered helps them to see why they should follow your advice.

I’m sure you do this (most of the time). You’re not like my father who sometimes grew tired of my relentless “why” questions and said, “Because I said so!” (Wait, your dad did that too?)

Anyway, I’m sure you tell clients why they should follow your advice, but do you do that in your marketing?

I’ve seen too many ads, blog posts, articles, videos, emails, presentations, and so on, where the lawyer doesn’t tell people what to do (call, email, fill out a form, etc.), or if they do, they don’t tell them why.

Tell people why they should call, download your report, or subscribe to your newsletter. Tell them why they need a lawyer, why they should choose you, and why they shouldn’t wait.

If you want to get more clients, tell people what to do. And why.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula


Prospecting for gold in your law practice


When my daughter was in grade school I went with her on a field trip to Sacramento. One of the events on the agenda was panning for gold in a stream that once teamed with prospectors. They spent their days sifting through water, dirt, rocks, and sand. The more “non-gold” they got rid of, the more gold they found.

There’s a marketing lesson in this for lawyers.

If you want to find more “gold” (bigger cases, better clients), you need to get rid of as much non-gold as possible, as quickly as possible.

Why spend your time and resources courting clients who aren’t a good fit for you?

Other lawyers filter out cases and clients they don’t want after they talk to prospects. What if you filter them out before you talk to them?

When you create a profile of your ideal client, make a list of clients and cases that aren’t ideal. If you handle plaintiff’s personal injury cases, for example, your second list might include fender benders and soft tissue injuries.

Then, create a page on your website and describe the clients who aren’t a good fit for you.

You’ll stand out for being honest and transparent. You’ll build trust and create higher perceived value for being selective. You’ll attract better clients who see that unlike other lawyers, you don’t take anyone as a client.

Be honest about what you don’t want. You’ll get rid of more dirt and find more gold.

Need help figuring out who you do and don’t want as a client? Get this


Get bigger by thinking smaller


Seth Godin just said what I’ve been telling you for a long time: niche it.

Actually, he put it this way:

“When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve.”

In other words, target small niche markets and own them.

Godin says that when you focus on “the minimum viable audience,” your message is more powerful and more effective, and as your influence in that market grows, word of mouth about you will spread throughout the market and into others.

In other words, you get bigger by thinking smaller.

Godin says that this is how big companies and brands got that way. “By focusing on just a few and ignoring the non-believers, the uninvolved and the average.”

Focus on your ideal clients and the influencers in your chosen niche markets. Get to know them. Serve them. Let them see your dedication to their market.

Forget about the rest. Let other lawyers fight over the rest, while you get the lion’s share of the best.

Want help choosing your target market? Here you go


Stop wishing for what you don’t want


You’ve got problems. Challenges. Difficulties. You try different marketing techniques but they don’t work. Or they take up too much time. Or you hate doing them.

You’ve got clients who drive you crazy. Your rent has gone through the roof. You can’t find decent employees.

You work hard, you do good work, but the bigger cases and better clients seem to elude you.

Practicing law is a lot harder than you thought, or harder than it used to be, and you want things to change. You want it to be easier.

No, you don’t. Stop wishing for what you don’t want.

If it was easy, you would earn less. You are well paid because you’re able to do things other people can’t do.

When I was 16 I had a summer job as a stock clerk in a department store. Although it was physically demanding and I worked long hours, the job was easy. That’s why it paid minimum wage.

Stock clerks don’t have to solve difficult problems or make difficult decisions. They don’t have to worry about marketing or hiring people or making overhead.

They show up, do the work, and as long as they don’t screw up too much, they continue to have a job. But they will never earn much or have the opportunity to do great things.

Because the job is easy.

Building a law practice? That was hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. But because it was hard, it forced me to get better. I had to learn how to bring in business, hire and manage people, keep clients happy, work with other professionals, and a host of other things that professionals have to do.

Because it was hard, I had the opportunity to have a prosperous career.

Thank God it was hard.

Every great opportunity comes with problems and challenges. If you’ve got them, be thankful.

Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish that it was easier, wish you were better”.

Well, don’t just wish it. Do something about it. Work on your skills. Sharpen your saw. Do the things you don’t want to do.

Don’t run from challenges or wish they didn’t exist. Seek them out and let them make you stronger.

Learning how to market my services was a challenge. Here’s how I got good at it.


To change your results, you must do this first


Many lawyers email me with comments or questions about something I’ve written. Some of them have emailed before or hired me for a consultation, and I remember them.

I see a troubling pattern in some of them. They are stuck in a pattern of conduct based on their beliefs about what they can and can’t do, or what will or won’t work in their market or in their practice area.

I give them advice but they don’t follow it because it is inconsistent with their beliefs.

Until they change their beliefs, they will continue getting the same results.

It works like this:

Our beliefs determine our attitudes, in this case, towards learning marketing strategies and techniques and implementing them.

Our attitudes affect our activities–which ones we do, how often we do them, and how we go about them.

Our activities determine our results. Our results determine our success.

It doesn’t start with activity. It starts with beliefs. If you want to get different results, you have to have different beliefs.

How do you change your beliefs?

You start by learning. Read, take classes, soak up new ideas. Don’t dismiss new ideas, immerse yourself in them.

Then, spend time with people who are successful doing what you want to do. Watch them, talk to them, emulate them. Go where they go and do what they do.

Yes, do what they do even though you don’t believe it will work for you. Try and see what happens. Review your results, and try again.

Eventually, as you get some positive results (despite your beliefs), those results will affect your beliefs. Which will affect your attitudes. Which will affect your activities. Which will bring you better results. Which will strengthen your beliefs.

In other words, you change your beliefs the same way you acquired them in the first place.

Get better results in your marketing