Marketing plan for lawyers: getting ready for the new year


I’m being interviewed later today by a reporter for the Canadian Bar Association. She’s doing a story about what young lawyers need to do to prepare for the new year. I plan to tell her the same thing I would tell any attorney. Just follow these three simple steps:


The first thing you should do is to figure out where you are. A good way to do that is with a “S.W.O.T. Analysis”–figuring out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


Are you in danger of losing a good client? Are unreasonably high expenses causing cash flow problems? Have you been accused of doing something wrong that’s hurting or may hurt your reputation?

If there are holes in your ship, plug them so you can continue your journey. Do what you have to do to eliminate threats and minimize potential losses, but don’t dwell on them. Deal with them and move on.


Are you deficient in any areas of knowledge? Do you need to improve certain skills? Do you need more referral sources, more clients, or better clients? Are you attracting clients who can’t or don’t pay? Do you need to get better at getting retainers? Is your bookkeeping a mess?

Figure out where you are weak and then look for solutions. Take courses, ask other lawyers for help or advice, buy equipment, delegate or outsource the problem so you can focus on your strengths and opportunities.


What are you great at? Find something you excel at and leverage it to make it even bigger and better. Focus your time and energy on taking something that’s going well for you and build on it.

If you get good results with a certain type of client or case, you should focus on getting more of those clients or cases. That may mean eliminating other practice areas or turning away clients who don’t fit your ideal client profile.

In the marketing arena, if you are good at networking, do more of it. Ask your contacts to introduce you to their colleagues. Find a second networking group if you have the time or a better group if you don’t. Work deeper within the organization to gain even more influence. Volunteer for committees, take on more responsibilities.

If you like the Internet, create more content, learn about SEO and social media, do more guest posts, and start creating videos.

If you like to write, write. If you like to speak, speak.

Look at your skills and your preferences and focus on them. What do you do best? How can you do more of it and get even better at it? How can you leverage it to get an even bigger return?


Make a list of people you know and like and brainstorm ways you can improve and deepen your relationship. They can lead you to new clients and new referral sources. They can provide you with advice and ideas. They can send traffic to your website, provide content for your blog or newsletter, and promote your event or offer.

Make another list of people you don’t know who sell to or advise your target market. Make plans to approach them to see how you might work together.

Go through your notes and files and collect all of the ideas you have recorded for marketing your practice, improving your work product, increasing your productivity, or increasing profitability. Put a star next to your best ideas.


Once you know where you are, the next step is to determine where you want to go. What do you want to accomplish next year relative to your practice or career?

Instead of writing down five or ten goals, as you may be inclined to do, I suggest you write just one big goal. Come up with as many candidates as you want to but then, choose one big goal that gets you excited.

Selecting one goal will force you to focus on that one goal, and nothing else. The odds are that many of your candidate goals are related to your one big goal and are, in fact, stepping stones on the path to reaching it. If your goal is to increase your net income to $250,000, for example, other goal candidates, e.g., “bring in six new clients per month,” are action steps you need to take to accomplish your singular income goal.

Of course you will have additional action steps. You don’t just bring in six new clients, for example, you have many things you need to do to bring in those clients. And that leads us to step three.


Why a plan? Because you need to know what to do, silly. Because come the first of the year, when you’re ready to get to work, you need a list of projects and tasks that will move you forward towards your goal.

Why simple? Because if your plan isn’t simple, you won’t do it. You’ll get bogged down in detail. You’ll spend more time working with your lists and planning your plans, and have little time to get anything done.

So, figure out where you are, then where you want to be, and from that, write a plan for accomplishing it. Keep in mind that the plan you start out with will almost never be the plan that gets you to your goal. That’s because plans change, circumstances change, and you will change. And that’s okay. Your plan will get you started, and getting started is the most important part.

The Attorney Marketing Formula comes with a simple marketing plan for lawyers. And a lot more stuff you need to know.