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How to Generate a Lot of Business as an Attorney: 9 Ways to be Profitable

published June 18, 2021

By Managing Director
( 29 votes, average: 4.1 out of 5)
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Law firms are companies like any other, which means that they generate business and profit from staying afloat. That is why any attorney must know how to get the clients, who will secure you a steady flow of work and help you get ahead and become successful. If you are skilled with signing on clients and creating work and income for your employer, every law firm will fight to hire you. This article will show you how to get clients and grow your business book to help you create a better legal career.
 

Many law students and young lawyers think that to be a good and successful lawyer. Of course, it would help if you billed a lot of hours and do quality work. While you should do both of these things, you need to generate business to advance your career.

 

The 9 best ways to get clients and generate a lot of business as a lawyer:

 
  1. Everyone you meet is a potential client.
  2. You have to talk about your work to get business.
  3. You have to set a good example.
  4. It would be best if you were interested in other people and their legal troubles.
  5. You have to meet people and create relationships with them.
  6. Specialize in getting more business.
  7. People have to know you to want to do business with you.
  8. Read up on marketing strategies.
  9. Don't quit.
 

Everyone Is a Potential Client for Law Firms


Most attorneys and even law students make a big mistake because they do not look at everyone around them as potential clients. Instead, they often try to assess people they meet to see whether they could potentially become their client and often might think that they are "too good" to have, for example, their cleaner as a client. However, this can be detrimental to their business development as well as to their career. Every person you meet could potentially be a future client.

Don't make the mistake of discounting anyone from your potential client list. For example, you never know when the cleaner, janitor, or auto insurance salesman you meet might need your services. Perhaps, these individuals are connected to someone powerful who might need your legal services, definitely someone you want in your network.

In my legal career, I have been able to get a significant amount of money from a client like this - someone you wouldn't think could become your client in the first place. That is why you should never underestimate people you meet. Even if you work in a prestigious law firm, especially if you practice law independently, you should never look down on people because you never know when they might require legal assistance. And how you act toward them will determine whether they will want to choose you or someone else from the legal industry. If you have a positive interaction with as many people as possible, you're nice to people and take an interest in them; you will often find out that they have more power than you can realize.
 

Don't Underestimate People in Services or Sellers as Potential Clients.


You meet countless service people daily - your hairdresser, repairman that fixed your drain, tailor you visit regularly. All these people are your potential clients. Please don't take them for granted, and always be nice to them. You never know what they can do for your business development. They also meet people from all corners of life with different issues, and if you are always nice and respectful to them, they will think of you when they hear that someone needs legal services.
 

Don't Underestimate Peers and Employees as a Potential Source of Business.


Your mates from high school, college, or law school or your former employees can be a wonderful source of new clients. Therefore, you should always treat them well and keep in touch. You never know if one of them will be your future client. I know multiple attorneys that weren't that nice to people at the beginning of their career and now consider it a big mistake as they lost prospective clients like that.
 

Don't Underestimate Your Relatives as a Potential Source of New Business.


Relatives can have a great business generating ability. They can be sources of prospect clients by telling people around them you work in the legal profession or can even use you for legal work themselves. Keep good relationships with them, and you can be sure that they will be the best advertisement for you because they will spread the good word.
 

Don't Underestimate Your Former Employers as a Potential Source of Business.


Former employers are a great source of business in any practice area, especially with the one I work in with LawCrossing and BCG Attorney Search. I can't even try to count the number of people I practiced law with who referred themselves or other young lawyers to me. If they believe in you and the work you do, these former employers might have work they don't have time for they will pass on you. That is why it is vital to leave their law firm on a good note, never burn bridges, and keep in contact. They can give you a lot of new work and even talk about you positively in front of other potential clients or employers.
 

Don't Take Your Current Managers for Granted.


If you work hard enough and bring in enough business to your current firm, your boss might be a great source of future business. Just like your former employers, they might give you work or cases they don't have time for anymore and don't want to do.

If you work hard and put effort and time into being nice to people, creating relationships with them, and considering them as a potential source of revenue, it will eventually pay off.
 

To Develop Your Business, You Have to Talk About Your Work


The second thing you can do to help you upscale your client book is to let people know about your work and your expertise in it. Whether you are a new lawyer or already an accomplished one, you have to tell the world about it. Otherwise, they will not know that you exist.

I realized the importance of this point during a presentation by an old attorney from a prestigious southern law firm. The presentation was specialized for franchising law, and it was extremely long, boring, and dull. Still, after the three-hour-long talk, at least 10 franchise owners came up to the speaker to get his contact information. They all wanted to hire him to help them with legal issues. He must be an expert when he can talk for that long about his job.

He picked up many clients that day, and all he had to do was get up and talk. And it would be best if you did that too. It would help if you learned to talk about what you do and make sure that you do it so that clients see you as an expert in your legal practice. If they view you that way and believe you, they will trust you with their own issues.

But this doesn't have to mean only talk about what you do in talks with a big audience or simply writing articles on legal career-related topics. Instead, it would be best if you talked about your work enthusiastically with everyone you meet for your business development -- with your clients, friends, family, in your office, and on different social media platforms. It will help you get new business and new legal clients if you have a passion for what you do and let everyone around you know about it.

People tend to remember those who show enthusiasm about what they do for a living. And to get a lot of business, you have to be remembered. So, get passionate about what you do, talk to everyone about it, and you can gain more business than you thought possible.
 

To Gain Business for Your Law Firm, You Have to Set a Good Example


If you want to gain new clients and generate business, you need to set a good example. It means that you have to act and talk like a lawyer people would want to represent them. It would help if you seemed like a go-to lawyer, someone people believe will represent them and win the case for them. Think about what type of attorney you would want to hire and become this person.

From my extensive experience as an attorney and as someone who hired other attorneys for businesses, I noticed several factors that influence clients' hiring decisions.

One of the most important things clients are usually concerned about is the lawyer's honesty. No one wants to hire an attorney they know is the least bit dishonest. Especially if they are billing you on an hourly basis, it is important to realize that it will get out if you do something dishonest, whether at work or in your personal life. It will get out, and it can discourage potential clients in the future. If you want to develop your business, you have to be honest.

Another thing that may concern your potential clients is to go out to "party" with your clients and frequently overdo it. Everyone is entitled to their own type of personal life, but it might often reflect negatively on your ability to generate business if you get out of control. Clients want someone on top of their game and can make clear decisions, not someone who cannot control themselves. Most firms and clients look for competent people who look steady, responsible, and respectful, not ones who create more problems with how they act.
 

You Should Be Interested in People and Their Legal Issues


This point ties to the first one, but if you want to increase your business, you must be interested in other people and their legal problems. People want to feel cared for and want to know that someone will help them with their issues.

If you are passionate about what you do, you are cognizant of those around you to help. People will also accept your advice because they consider you an expert who is good at their job.

So, if you get into the habit of listening to and being interested in the legal problems of people around you, you will become better at it. You will start to notice it more and be proactive with what you can do for other people.

This interest in other people will pay off because they will be grateful to you. They will want to work with you again or bring new business to you because they are invested in you and your law firm.

Allow the people around you to talk and discuss what they care about, what bothers them, listen attentively, and show interest in what they say. It will make them feel understood, which is always a good building stone of any relationship. Moreover, as an attorney, your job is to help others. So the more you learn about your clients, the better help you can provide. And the more business you can generate.
 

Meet People and Create Relationships for Business Development


Creating business means getting new clients or getting more work from the clients you already have in your business book. And clients are people, which means to get new clients, you have to go out there and meet people. You also have to build lasting relationships to secure a connection to turn to you if they need legal assistance.

So, you need to go out and get to know people. And not only people who work in your industry. This is more important the younger you are. Especially if you are a young attorney, you need to go out of your comfort zone and try to form relationships where you can. That is the best way young lawyers generate business.

There are countless situations where you can meet new people and try to connect with them. Try to get yourself into these social situations and not be afraid to initiate conversation and form connections. Once you have these relationships and people trust you, they will gladly refer anyone who needs legal advice to you.
 

Attorneys With Specialization Get More Deals


Another thing important in the business development of lawyers is to specialize. Attorneys who specialize always get a lot more work than those who don't. If you have a specialty, you're going to do much better because people refer clients to specialists more often than nonspecialists.

The more you specialize, the better. If you specialize in litigation, that's good. But if you specialize in representing, for example, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners that explode or injure people, that's even better. Because then people can point to you as being an expert in one type of work. And you will also have much less competition in a very specialized market.

But to really secure all the business you can have, you also need to be a good marketer. Good marketers will typically have the ability to be seen for what they are doing. If you need to buy a book online, you immediately think of Amazon. If you want to buy a new high-quality coffee machine, you usually go to a specialized shop or website that pops up at the top of your search and not those general stores with everything.

The same principle applies to law practice. If you own a franchise and need someone to give you legal advice related to your business, you will try to find the biggest expert on franchising law, not some law firms that do general litigation. The specialist almost always gets the deal. Clients want people that know what they're doing, so they want very specialized lawyers. Because when you specialize in something, you spend much more time understanding the issues of that specialization. And the more you understand it, the better you get. In return, you also get more clients through referrals because others can see how good you are.
 

Be Friendly and Familiar to Get the Clients


There are many legal professionals in the world, but clients hire only one attorney. If you want people to choose you out of this big sea, they have to know you. You have to be familiar with them, even friendly. It would help if you took the time to stay in touch and build these relationships regularly. You can do so by wishing happy birthdays to your clients and their family members every year. You can send them interesting articles through social media platforms. You need to be updated on what is going on in their lives, and you can also tell them about significant news in yours. They have to know that you are there and can call you anytime, whether they have a simple question or get into dire trouble. It won't take you that much time to call them or leave a message, while it can make all the difference to your business development.

Many people understand the importance of getting to know people, getting close to them for business, and signing on clients. When I was still a new lawyer, it was not long after law school, I really wanted to do good, so I sought out this guru that helped other attorneys get clients. He was a sort of legal profession's mentor. His whole method was built on writing down people you know and then contact them to let them know that you are there and networking.

But you can do this even without an expensive session with a guru. Just think of all the people you know! Get into contact with them, preferably by phone, but social media is fine too. Ask them about what is going on with their lives, and tell them you are there. There is nothing better you can do for your personal and professional network. You will get much more business than before and be a much happier and better person.

Being familiar with people is important in getting new clients in a well-known law firm or working as a new business with a smaller law firm. So, start contacting people and widening your professional network.
 

Knowing Marketing Strategies Will Help, You Grow Your Business Book


For people to want you to represent them, they first need to know that you exist. Good marketing is the only way apart from networking that you can tell people about yourself. The best thing you can do if you are serious about practicing law and business development is reading marketing books and attending seminars.

You don't have to become an expert in marketing to utilize this information and help your business. Even if you find the most effective marketing lines and then use them in your letters to prospective clients, it will help you develop your business. But the more time and effort you invest into studying marketing, the more you can get out of it.
 

If You Want to Grow Your Business, You Cannot Quit.


The most important advice I can give that can help improve lawyers' legal careers is that you cannot quit if you want to succeed and get business. Even if you currently have no or very little business, it is important to continue your legal search and stay resilient. One client can change the course of your life and that of your law firm, so persistence is the ability you want to have on your business development checklist.

Even if you lack some of the points mentioned above, you are only one person. You cannot be the best at everything, especially not as a new lawyer. But still, you have to start somewhere. If you don't consider yourself skilled in marketing, you can still focus on advertising your law firm on social media. If you consider yourself a bit socially awkward, that doesn't mean that you cannot create long-lasting relationships with a few big clients. Or even just a few small businesses. Many smaller law firms do perfectly fine with a smaller number of faithful and consistent clients.

But the important thing here is to persist. If the strategy with social media doesn't pan out, try something else. Very few attorneys become successful on their first try. I know what I am talking about. I have met hundreds of attorneys as a legal recruiter through BCG Attorney Search and LawCrossing, some right out of law school, others already well-established in the legal employment space or the senior management structure. And only those who didn't quit were able to get great legal placement and grow their business book eventually.
 

The Basics of Business Development for Lawyers


This article gave you a few tips on how to generate business, and it might be some of the most important information you read as an attorney regardless of whether you are fresh out of law school or already have a few years under your belt. Well, when I really think about it, it might be even more important to attorneys with a few years of experience because the truth is, young lawyers usually generate business. They are fresh, eager, confident. They know the power of marketing and social media. Clients want to hire attorneys like that. And when they fail, they still have time to try again.

But when older business lawyers who are already partners cannot generate new business, they risk losing everything. The firm decides how much they earn, or they decide to let them go. And if they get fired as partners with no business, they really don't have many options left.

So, learn how to generate business, improve your career, and make all your professional dreams come true.

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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 www.LawCrossing.com.

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