Law firm marketing: why you need to zag when other lawyers zig


Most lawyers are pretty much like their counterparts. We all do the same kinds of work for the same kinds of clients and get it done with the same degree of skill and efficiency.

At least that’s what most people think.

If you’re better than average, you need to let the world know. Brag a little. Strut your stuff. Prove that you’re the better choice.

If you’ve got a successful track record, awards, endorsements, testimonials, and the like, they should be featured in your marketing.

But what if you don’t? Or what if your accolades aren’t any more impressive than the next guy’s or gal’s? What if you’re just getting started in your law career? How do you stand out in a massively crowded field?

You need to be different. When everyone zigs you need to zag.

If you do what everyone else does, the way everyone else does it, you’ll blend into the fabric of lawyerdom, where everyone looks alike and smells alike, and you will get lost.

Instead, I encourage you to get creative about how you package and present yourself. The good news is that because most lawyers are bland and boring conformists, it doesn’t take much to stand out.

What do most lawyers in your market do? What do they look like? What kinds of fees do they charge? How do they package their services? What’s on their website? What’s not on their website?

What can you do that’s different?

It might be something as simple as wearing red socks or a green bow tie. Make it your signature. You’ll stand out and people will remember you. It might also define you in a positive way. “Oh, she’s the lawyer who always wears a rhino pin on her lapel. She must have thick skin and a hard head.”

It might be something as complicated as taking a controversial stand on an important issue, when doing so risks alienating a large segment of the market. You might relinquish your claim to half of the market, but in return, gain the lion’s share of the remaining half.

If most lawyers charge by the hour, you can stand out by offering flat fees. If most lawyers avoid sharing information about their outside interests, you might stand out by promoting photos of your antique cuckoo clock collection.

As you make plans for the coming year, think about what you can do to stand out from the crowd. I know that might make you nervous. Lawyers don’t like to take chances. And if we’re honest about it, we really don’t want to stand out, unless it’s to get noticed for our good work.

But you should. Go a little crazy. Throw caution to the wind. Get down with your bad self. Because if you don’t get noticed and talked about and remembered, it might not matter how good you are at what you do.

Don’t like bow ties? This shows you more traditional ways to stand out in your law firm marketing


How to stand out from the crowd


“There are so many attorneys who do what I do. How do I stand out from the crowd?”

I was thinking about this the other day as I was browsing through the app store. There are thousands of apps for writing, note taking, outlining, and task management. I love checking out new productivity apps, but they are all so similar, more and more I find myself not even bothering to look.

Attorneys have the same challenge. If you do what all the other attorneys do, why should anyone choose you? How do you even get them to look?

App developers and attorneys have three ways to differentiate themselves.


If your services (or app) are extraordinary, meaning so much better than what everyone else offers, you will eventually be noticed. The cream will rise to the top.

I have my favorite note taking app. I consider it the best in it’s class. I even wrote a book about it. However, if I ever found something demonstrably better, I would be open to switching. It wouldn’t be easy to convince me, but it could be done.

Attorneys can stand out from the crowd by working hard to serve them in every way possible. Since many attorneys don’t “get” this, however, this is not as difficult as it may appear. You don’t necessarily have to be the best, just better than the crowd.


Jerry Garcia once said, “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.” You may not be any better than other attorneys, but you can stand out from the crowd by being different.

Are you the only one who does what you do? Do you have a “unique selling proposition” (USP)?

The key word is “perceived”. You don’t really have to be unique. Jerry Garcia wasn’t the best musician and he certainly wasn’t the only musician. But he definitely did stand out from the crowd.


The easiest way to stand out from the crowd is by defining what you do in terms of for whom you do it. By marketing to well defined niche markets instead of the mass market, you can clearly differentiate yourself from other attorneys.

In addition, through your knowledge of and experience in your niche market, you will be able to provide better service and more value than other attorneys who don’t have that knowledge and experience, so you will be perceived as better as well as different.

How do you stand out from the crowd? By being seen as better, unique, or by serving a particular niche market. Any one will get the job done. Get all three right and you may find clients describing you as “the only one who does what you do”.

The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you how to craft your USP. Get it here.