Many attorneys begin each year with the goal of ramping up their business development efforts to acquire more clients. They also aim to spend less time on administrative tasks so they can focus more on practicing law. As law firm business development consultant John Reed, founder of Rain BDM, puts it, “The most satisfying thing you can have as a lawyer is a solid relationship with a client where they trust what you’re telling them.” Building that trust and confidence in clients takes time, expertise, and must be reflected in your marketing, business development, and service delivery.
Attracting Prospective Clients through Law Firm Marketing
According to the Thomson Reuters 2022 State of Small Law Firm Report, while concerns over acquiring new clients have decreased slightly in the past few years, business development remains the second biggest challenge faced by small law firms. In order to overcome this challenge, generating fresh content in marketing efforts is essential. But how can attorneys who are already stretched thin meet the growing content needs while also demonstrating their legal expertise?
This is where legal research technology plays a crucial role. Lawyers no longer have to start from scratch. Practical Law offers legal know-how content that can assist attorneys in showcasing their expertise and connecting with prospective clients. Attorneys can leverage various resources, including:
- Dynamic search: Efficiently find the best answers quickly with the help of AI and human expertise.
- Legal updates: Receive specific practice area updates and changes on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Checklists: Ensure all aspects of a case or matter have been addressed.
- Standard documents and clauses: Utilize pre-drafted templates with notes and tips from Practical Law’s team of experts.
Practical Law also enhances business development and marketing efforts. Attorneys can repurpose Practical Law Legal Updates to keep clients, newsletter recipients, blog readers, and social media connections informed about new developments, trends, and legislative actions. It’s not just an opportunity to attract new clients; it also strengthens relationships with existing clients. As Reed suggests, when writing an article about a tax law update, reaching out to a client who can provide additional perspective is a great way to build a relationship without explicitly selling something.
Building Relationships with Prospects and Existing Clients for Law Firm Business Development
Winning new business and nurturing existing client relationships requires effort. People need to feel confident that you possess the necessary expertise and skills to effectively represent them. While you may have the legal expertise and intellectual curiosity to handle any challenge, it is crucial to demonstrate this ability quickly. Practical Law can support you and your firm in promptly responding to client and prospect requests.
Here’s how Practical Law can be of assistance:
- Legal trainings: Preparing and updating presentations for client trainings can be time-consuming. Instead of starting from scratch, you can download and customize Practical Law’s ready-made, regularly updated PowerPoint presentations. These materials help you explain legal issues in terms everyone can understand, with relevant and recent examples.
- Quick response to tricky questions: Practical Law provides maintained documents and resources to help you respond quickly when a new issue arises and ensure you meet important deadlines. When clients witness your promptness, they will be more inclined to entrust you with new matters.
- Competence at all levels of your firm: Even experienced attorneys make mistakes, and junior associates often lack direction. Practical Law offers step-by-step guidance reflecting current law and practices, ensuring that attorneys at all levels have the necessary support.
- Expanded practice areas: Sometimes clients require assistance in practice areas beyond your expertise. Instead of referring that work to other firms, you can use Practical Law’s Practice Notes and Checklists to quickly get up to speed and confidently handle new matters.
However, it is important to note that these resources are not a substitute for the expertise of the attorney. Reed emphasizes that delivering a presentation on tax matters is a good start, but the real power lies in turning that presentation into a conversation about the audience’s tax and other business needs. By asking intelligent questions and providing helpful answers, you establish confidence and uncover true business development opportunities.
Growing Your Footprint with Existing Clients
While expanding visibility through marketing efforts and building relationships with prospects are important, it is equally crucial to grow your body of work with existing clients. Reed advises firms to strategically analyze their top clients from three years ago and compare them to the present. This enables you to ask questions such as: Who fell off the list? Who moved up? What were the reasons for these changes, and what can be learned from them? By gaining insights into what strengthens or weakens bonds with clients, you can capitalize on your strengths.
“As you build trusted relationships with clients, they become your best source of referrals,” Reed emphasizes. When clients are so loyal to your firm that you no longer worry about them leaving, you’ll find more enjoyment in your legal practice.
This ambitious and inspiring approach to practicing law and developing new business doesn’t have to be tackled alone. Practical Law can help you demonstrate your expertise, connect with clients, and instill confidence to win new business and expand your work with existing clients. Visit Garrity Traina to discover how Practical Law can assist you in achieving your goals.