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Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Paralegal

published February 18, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 494 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
You know you're a talented paralegal, that you're resourceful, reliable and experienced. To be a success as a freelancer, you'll have to find ways to let your future clients know this too. And that means you'll have to sell your paralegal skills. In fact, your talents as a self-marketer are as important to your success as your expertise as a paralegal.
Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Paralegal

Marketing is not a magical art, whose secrets are known only to a select few. It's something you can do well if you're willing to keep at it and if you're willing to be expressive about what you have to offer. The basic key to marketing is to market consistently and to follow up every lead or opportunity. Combined with doing your homework on what you have to offer and on what your clients need, a consistent marketing effort should just about ensure you of success. In this section we'll give you some brief tips on how to set up a marketing campaign, which should be useful as a starting point. We could suggest that you pick up some books on selling techniques and marketing for small businesses. Additionally, talk to some other freelancers to see how they've done it.

To sell your paralegal skills is to show how your product or service meets the needs of your clients. This means you've got to know what your clients need, want and value. These are called "benefits." A benefit is not the specific tasks that you'll perform for your clients; it also includes how those tasks will help the client. Some typical benefits are increased productivity, savings in time, better work quality, convenience and economy. You should recognize that if a prospective client is not using you now, then he or she's having the services you want to provide handled some other way. Can you show the client why he or she should call you, instead, the next time a need arises?

To get started on your marketing campaign, make a list of all the skills you have and of the specific tasks you know how to perform. Next, look at your prospective clients. Check off on your skills and tasks, and list all the skills the client may need or. Imagine all the different situations in which a potential client might need you. Be as specific as possible- are they big spillover projects? What about highly skilled tasks where the client is not likely to have the expertise in house? Or are they rush short-deadline projects? Write down how each service, quality and skill you have personally and professionally will benefit the client in these situations. Now you're ready to put together some marketing literature.

Your brochure is another means by which you get to sell your paralegal skills. There's nothing like a brochure to transform you from a paralegal to a professional freelancer. Your brochure tells your story: who you are, what you do, how you will benefit from your clients and who your clients are. It shouldn't tell your whole story, for you'll want something left to say when you meet your client for the first time. A good brochure needn't be complicated or fancy, but it must be well-written and nicely designed. Keep it brief. Include your name, address, phone number, and some information about your specialties, services and experience. Brochures can get expensive, so keep it simple. A brochure that consists of a single sheet of good stock folded in three and mailed in a regular business envelope works well. Or, simply have your brochure typed and offset on two or three pages of bond paper (or red-ruled legal paper).

Armed with a brochure, letterhead and business cards, you're ready to begin contacting clients. The most effective way to start is with a phone call to your potential clients. Telephone those attorneys who might be interested in your services, and identify yourself as a professional paralegal consultant. Don't be longwinded, but focus in on how you can help them. An introduction like this works well: "Hello, my name is Judith Brown. I'm an independent consultant specializing in probate paralegal work, and I'd like to discuss how I can improve your work productivity. When would it be convenient for us to meet?" If you're unable to pin down a set time for an appointment, drop by anyway to leave your brochure. When you're in the office, ask to see the partner or associate you spoke with. You might get a meeting on the spot.

You can also use a direct mail campaign to sell your paralegal skills. This can be done two ways. You can mail out your brochure to clients, following up with a phone call to arrange a sales appointment. Or you can send each client a letter (using a word processor would be helpful here), telling the client what you have to offer. You can try to get the client to call you for a free brochure, for example. Or you might tell the prospective client that you'll be calling shortly to set up an appointment.

The more calls you make, letters you write and leads you follow up, the more successful you'll be. Marketing is a numbers game. For every 100 "no interest, no need" responses you get from a client, you'll get some positive responses- maybe two or three or maybe 25! It all depends upon how well you've targeted your clients and presented your services. Remember too, that every "no" today could be a "yes!" tomorrow as your clients' needs and perceptions change. So call all your prospective clients back every few weeks to keep in touch.

Every successful freelancer with whom we've spoken has stressed the importance of networking. For freelance paralegals, there are two types of networks: the network of your clients and former employers, and the network of your paralegal peers. The importance of your client network should be evident. The lawyers for whom you've worked are the ones who'll attest to your reputation and to the quality of your work. As you probably know, the law is a profession that hinges upon reputation. And before anyone hires you for a project, it's a good bet that he or she will call a colleague to check your credentials. So pay attention to your reputation in the legal community. Do good work, and remind the lawyers of that. Whenever you complete a special project, ask the attorney for a letter of reference. You'll have something to show prospective clients, and they will have something on file to refresh their memory when a colleague calls about you.

Your attorney contacts are important, but so are your contacts with other paralegals. They're the ones who'll keep you up on changes in the field and legal market, who'll tell you which firms are loaded with work and who'll pass on their extra work load to you. Join your local paralegal association, attend the meetings, and become involved.

Freelance paralegals should also use directories, in order to target clients. When you select clients to contact, look for those who indicate a specialty in your area of expertise. Be sure to get the name of the partner or associate; chances are better that your mailing will be read if it's addressed to an individual instead of to a firm.

You might at first think that your clientele would be small firms, corporate legal departments or independent practitioners because larger firms will have their own in-house paralegals to handle all the work. It's not necessarily so. Big firms have an in-house staff, but they also can have an enormous work load. Freelancers are ideal for taking care of the "spillover" work and for handling specialized assignments. And don't overlook corporations. They're a good possibility for the specialty paralegal.

Advertising is a great way for the novice freelancer to reach a large audience. But it's an expensive way to market your services. Unless you have a lot of capital to start with, forget about ads in the yellow pages or the daily newspaper. Stick to classified ads in the legal newspapers, under "legal services." Advertising rates are less expensive than in most big city dailies and your ad will be seen by the people you want to reach- the attorneys in your city. Don't overlook inexpensive advertising. Put your notices and brochures on the bulletin board of your local bar association.

Whatever means of marketing you choose, don't forget to follow-up with it. A regular follow-up campaign is a crucial part of your business. Keep a file of everyone you've contacted, along with the dates of your calls and letters, and the responses. Set a regular schedule for calling or mailing back: every month, for example. If there are any articles written about you, or if you've accomplished something outstanding since your last mailing, include this new information. Reach them through telephone after every mailing. In short, do everything you can to keep yourself visible in the legal community- and to keep your name first in mind for the attorney who needs paralegal services.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published February 18, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 494 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.