How to get your clients to support your law practice


My wife and I are continuing to unclutter. Yesterday she brought our daughter’s Irish Dance costumes to her old school to see if they could use them.

The school today is much smaller than it was ten years ago when my daughter attended. My wife noticed that there isn’t room for the parents to congregate inside the school like we used to do. It looked like most parents dropped off their kids.

When the school was bigger, many parents stayed for the class. We spent time together–at the school, during competitions, and eventually, outside the school envirnonment–and we got to know each other and our families. The school became a social incubator and helped foster relationships that still exist today, five or ten years after our children attended.

When we were active at the school, there were competitions and shows and we parents contributed much time and effort building sets, working lights and music, and selling tickets to the shows to our friends and neighbors. Yes, we were supporting our children, but the amount of effort we contributed would not have been anywhere near the same had our social group of parents not been so strong.

Today, I’m sure they don’t get anywhere near the amount of parent involvement we had, simply because the parents don’t know each other as well. As a result, the smaller school is more likely to stay that way.

A business can leverage their customer base by creating a social environment where their customers can build strong ties among themselves and, therefore, also with that business. A law firm can do the same thing.

Most lawyers have a one-to-one private relationship with their clients. They don’t “cross pollinate” their clientèle. Because of privacy issues this is to be expected. Most clients don’t want anyone to know they’ve hired a bankruptcy or criminal defense lawyer. But not all practices are so constricted.

A small business practice, for example, has clients who can benefit from knowing each other. They can refer business, exchange ideas, and recommend vendors. If you hold a monthly event–a mixer, a breakfast or lunch, a seminar series–where your clients regularly come together, they would build a social network of their own. Your clients would benefit and as the organizer of these events, so would you.

When you have strong relationships with your clients, they are much more likely to remain your clients. No other lawyer will get their referrals. And if you need a favor–sending traffic to your web site, promoting your seminar, or distributing your new report–your clients will help. In fact, they’ll probably be more likely to do so because of the added accountability of the social network.

If there’s any way to build a social element into your practice, I suggest you give it a try. If this isn’t appropriate for your clients, you can do the next best thing–organize a breakfast or lunch or other regular social event for your referral sources and friends of the firm.

Strong relationships with your clients and referral sources help you strengthen and grow your practice. When they have strong relationships among themselves, your growth can be accelerated.

You don’t have to be the sponsor of that group, just the organizer. And the best part is you won’t have to listen to accordion music.


How to get your clients to help you increase your law firm’s profits


client interviews, surveys and law firm auditsIn his report, “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession,” posted last week, Bob Denney said that one of the trends that was heating up in the marketing and business development area is “client interviews and audits”. He said, “More firms are recognizing, however slowly, that the feedback and information obtained from them–particularly when they are conducted by knowledgeable outside consultants–are critical in strategic planning and development of growth strategies.”

Asking your clients how you’re doing and what you can do better is the best market research you can get, and it’s free. Not counting the cost of the outside consultant.

There’s no better “intel” than that from someone who actually paid money to hire you.

Using outside professionals to do the surveys is also good advice. A firm that specializes in this kind of research will ask the right questions and they will know how to critically evaluate the answers. And using an outside service instead of doing it yourself will undoubtedly provide more honest feedback.

If you don’t want to hire an outside firm, interview your clients anyway. The feedback may not be as accurate but it’s better feedback than you’re getting right now.

Client interviews can help you learn what you are doing well and what you can do better. They can help you improve client relations and communications. And they can help you discover new marketing opportunities. All you have to do is ask.

Surveys are an easy alternative to interviews. You can post them on your web site, using free sites like and By providing anonymity, clients will be more likely to respond honestly. Open-ended questions can lead to some surprising discoveries. Multiple choice questions can help you identify patterns that deserve your attention. If 70% of your clients say you need to communicate with them more often, that’s something you cannot ignore.

At the very least, call a client today and ask them how you’re doing. You never know what you might learn and what you learn could earn you a fortune.