Great advice on starting a new law practice (or growing your old one)


Marketing legal services is simple. A lot of common sense, really. You don’t need a bunch of high tech solutions or a complicated process. What you need are people.

An article in today’s Forbes Magazine tells the story of a Los Angeles lawyer who started her own practice in the summer of 2010 and in less than two years built a successful estate planning practice.

In, How I Got My First Client and You Can Too, attorney Sonia Tatiyants outlines what she did to get her first client and beyond.

She didn’t advertise or build a powerful web site. She didn’t have the money to do that, even if she wanted to. What she did is decidedly low cost and low tech. She began by contacting everyone she knew to announce the opening of her new practice.

It doesn’t get simpler than that.

By the way, if you’re not new, find a reason to contact everyone in your database and remind them that you are still here. Someone on your list needs your services, or they know someone who does.

Tatiyants followed that up by starting a lunch group where she could network with other estate planning attorneys. She also networked with “like minded, driven, entrepreneurial individuals. . .,” who collaborated with her and became a source of referrals.

Taking things a step further, Tatiyants also realizes that her clients can not only send her referrals, they can become a source of business for the professionals in her network. In positioning herself as a “trusted advisor,” her clients and contacts look to her for referrals when they have a problem or need. She refers them to the other lawyers, CPAs, financial planners, and insurance agents in her network.

She also understands the importance of keeping her clients happy. One way she does that by making sure they know what to expect with their case. By managing their expectations, her clients don’t get frustrated with delays or when they get something in the mail.

Finally, she understands that for her practice to continue to grow she needs to put systems in place that will allow others to do administrative tasks so she can focus on the lawyering (and marketing).

Great marketing advice for new lawyers and old. Even lawyers who are very old.

But there’s something she left out of the article that I know every lawyer would like to know. How did she get featured in Forbes magazine?!


Can pro bono legal work help you grow your law practice? Yes it can.


marketing legal services with pro bono workWhen I opened my own office shortly after law school, I had an abundance of free time and a lack of clients or experience. Once or twice a week, I volunteered the day at a legal clinic for women. The clients had mostly domestic violence and other family law issues. When I began, I knew very little about family law but I quickly learned. I was able to use those skills in my private practice.

Last week was “pro bono” week. This article presents the “Top 5 Reasons to Do Pro Bono Work“. I’m sure I can lay claim to all five. The article misses a reason, however. My pro bono work helped me to build my practice.

The clinic I worked at allowed us to offer our paid services to the clients. Granted, most of them had little or no money, but I did get some paying work. And little or nothing was definitely better than nothing. It allowed my nascent practice to stay afloat, which allowed me to continue to volunteer.

I also got some referrals from those clients. Yes, most of them were in the same financial shape as the clients who referred them, but not all of them.

I was also able to network with the administrators of the clinic, their benefactors, and the other attorneys who volunteered. I met people who introduced me to others and as my network grew, so did my practice.

I’m not ashamed to admit that growing my practice was one of the reasons I volunteered at the legal clinic. I don’t think any of the hundreds of clients I saw for free or almost free would have any objections.