Ten ways attorneys can use a newsletter to grow their practice

For many attorneys and law firms, newsletters bring in a lot of business. If you don’t have a newsletter, here are ten reasons you should:

  1. To get more business from current clients. A newsletter is an effective way to let clients know about your other services and show them how they can benefit from those services, without being “salesy”.
  2. To get repeat business from former clients. People who hired you once will hire you again–when they’re ready. A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with them until they are.
  3. To add value to your services. A newsletter can provide an added benefit for clients. Give clients “subscriptions”. Put a price tag on the newsletter but send it free to current clients.
  4. To educate prospects. A newsletter that provides prospective clients with valuable information helps them make better decisions, allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and provides a mechanism for staying in touch with them until they are ready to hire you.
  5. To generate word-of-mouth referrals. Newsletters have pass-along value. A good newsletter will be shared with an average of three other people, even more online.
  6. To build your contact list. You can offer visitors to your web site a subscription to your newsletter in return for providing their email (and other contact information). When speaking or networking, you can offer to send your newsletter to people who provide you with their business card.
  7. To establish expertise and credibility. Your writing helps prospects, publishers, reporters, meeting planners, and referral sources see you as the expert you are.
  8. To provide content for, and traffic to, your web site. Your newsletter can drive traffic to your web site or blog. Your newsletter content can be re-used as content on your web site or blog, generating additional traffic from search engines and social media.
  9. To shorten the sales process. People who respond to your newsletter are better informed about what you do and pre-sold on your ability to do it, in contrast to people who come to you via advertising.
  10. To serve as a networking tool. Your newsletter is a tool to reach out to other professionals. You can interview them for an article, conduct a survey, ask them to write an article, or ask permission to put them on your mailing list.

A newsletter requires an investment of time, and possibly some capital, but the return on that investment can be substantial. If you want to grow your practice, a newsletter is one of the most highly leveraged marketing activities you can do.

Can you imagine a world without lawyers? I’ll bet Amanda Knox can’t.

Lawyers are routinely vilified. Epithets abound. We are the subject of the cruelest jokes.

And yet, where do people turn when they are in trouble? Whom do they go to for advice when they want to protect their rights? Who defends the indefensible?

Amanda Knox was just released from an Italian prison after a four year nightmare. Without lawyers, she would still be languishing in her cell.

Without lawyers fighting the good fight, our rights, our entire way of life, would devolve and anarchy would ensue. We must never forget how important we are, not just to the individuals we serve, but to the society we live in.

In Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Dick the Butcher says, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. This is often quoted as a denouncement of lawyers but it is a misreading. Dick was referring to ways a rebellion in the planning might be successful. He recognized that to succeed, they must get rid of those who know and enforce a system of laws. It is, in a roundabout way, an endorsement of lawyers.

Lawyers, be proud of what you do. Defend not just your clients but your profession. Educate your clients and your friends about what you do, but also why it matters.

But don’t stop there. When you see a colleague behaving in a way that belies the dignity of our profession, call him on it. Counsel him. And, if necessary, report him.

Be a champion of the high standards our oath demands and exemplify those standards in your words and deeds. Our profession must police itself. The alternative is a Bar that does it for us, but too often, they go too far.

In a victory for common sense, a Florida court just struck down as vague one of its Bar Association’s limits on lawyer advertising. A bar association should enact rules of professional conduct that define standards of behavior and it should provide redress for the most egregious transgressions of those standards. But when a bar association imposes vague, arbitrary, and unreasonable standards upon its members, as Florida has long been criticized for doing, it says to the world, “We don’t trust our members and neither should you.”

Bar associations can improve the image of lawyers not by policing them more but by trusting them more.

Farming for law firms: getting a higher yield from your client relationships

To be productive, a farm needs acres and acres of land. Rich top soil,  seeds planted a few inches under the surface, within reach of the sun’s rays, regular water, and the loving care of the farmer. The farmer knows that each seed can yield only so much, so he plants lots of them. More seeds, bigger harvest.

A farm is “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Unfortunately, so are many law firms. They plant a lot of seeds, going wide instead of deep, collecting fees and moving from new client to new client. But while a seed planted in the Earth can only yield so much, clients can yield far more than the fees they initially pay.

Each client can also:

  • Hire you again
  • Hire you for other services
  • Provide referrals
  • Introduce you to prospects, referral sources
  • Promote you via social media
  • Send traffic to your web site
  • Recommend your newsletter, ezine, blog
  • Distribute information by and about you
  • Invite their colleagues to your seminars
  • Provide information to you about their industry and/or key people
  • Give you testimonials and endorsements
  • Provide feedback about your marketing

The big money in a law practice is not the initial harvest, the fees earned on front end. The big money is earned on the back end. You may earn $10,000 from a client today, but $100,000 over their lifetime.

To bring in his big crop, the farmer must nurture his seedlings. So must you nurture your clients. Communicate with them. Appreciate them. Acknowledge them. Give to them. Build strong relationships with your clients and they will bear much fruit and continue to blossom for many seasons.

A farm is an inch deep and a mile wide; a law firm should be an inch wide and a mile deep.

Poll: How has the economy affected your law practice?

How has the economy affected your law practiceHow has the economy affected your law practice?

If you practice real estate law, the last couple of years have probably been rough. On the other hand, some real estate lawyers are reinventing their practices and appear to be thriving. The economy has been good to them.

I believe that while some lawyers are doing better in this economy, most lawyers are not. Most are treading water and more than a few are going under.

To me, this is obvious. There are fewer (paying) clients and fewer jobs for lawyers. This morning I read an article about a law student who looked at the job market and asked the dean of his law school for a refund. I previously noted a law school graduate who sued his law school for misrepresenting his prospects for a job.

So, are things better or worse for you? Are you hanging in there or hanging by a thread? Please answer by responding to this (anonymous) poll:


The ABA Journal wants to know what lawyers think about the economy. I don’t.

How’s business? The ABA Journal wants to know. They are surveying lawyers on the job market and the state of the economy. They’ve asked me to mention this on my blog, so here it is:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=9Dhw2g7bX_2bxfq4mW8eB1Cg_3d_3d

Surveys are interesting, but guess what? The job market and the state of the economy have no bearing on your life. Unless you believe it will.

If you believe the economy will materially affect your practice or job, it will. If you believe it won’t, it won’t.

Does that sound naive? Some kind of new age hooey? Well, if you believe that, then for you, that’s exactly what it is. But I have different beliefs. I believe we create our reality. I believe we can choose to be successful in the face of adversity or we can choose to capitulate, wring our hands, and suffer along with everyone else.

It’s our choice.

You can choose personal responsibility. You can choose to be optimistic. You can choose to see opportunity when others see Armageddon. In the Depression of the 1930’s, unemployment was twenty-five percent and millions suffered. But many made fortunes. I guess they understood that periods of great change create opportunities for the status quo to change. Of course that’s also why many previously wealthy people jumped out of windows.

Business philosopher, Jim Rohn, said, “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” How are you choosing to set your sails?

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Update: In case you’re interested, here’s a link to the survey results: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/14307_lawyers_predict_the_future

Abraham Lincoln advertised his law practice; why don’t you?

Okay, I’m not going to get into a rant on why lawyers who don’t advertise shouldn’t denigrate lawyers who do. I’m just going to present this ad by one Linclon & Herndon, Attorneys and Counsellors At Law in Springfield, Illinois, who advertised their availability for hire in what appears to be a newspaper of general circulation.

 lincoln.jpeg