Lawyers with a real niche practice are pretty much aware that it is easier to have clients, prospects and referrals understand what they do. Generalists have a harder time standing out from the crowd, when it comes to being recognized as different from every other lawyer in their area. I’ve written before about how a solo or small firm can have a general practice in a small market, but in larger marketplaces (i.e. big metropolitan areas) it is a lot more difficult to stand out.

In either case, a narrow niche is still better, if there is enough work out there for your niche in the first place. Trey Ryder has an article in his recent newsletter that advocates for a narrow niche as well. We both agree that “the more narrow your niche – and the more effective your marketing program – the more your practice will soar.”

He cites the case of a lawyer who represented a city against the manufacturer of faulty plastic pipes used in a water utility system. After he was successful, “another city came to him. Then another and another.” Presumably, he focused on letting other cities know about his practice, and now “attracts clients from all over the country.”

So, even those in smaller markets can have a broader regional, even national, practice with a recognized and specialized niche.

  • Tom, I agree completely. Prospective clients light up when they know you are an expert. They sense it through your questions, answers and words you use.
    Differentiation is the key in a mature industry like law and accounting.
    In addition to what is mentioned above, credentials, certifications, degrees, etc., are very important.
    Experience, technical knowledge and the ability to market will bring you success.

  • The only way I see having a narrow niche being effective, is if that niche attracts a large market. To place yourself in a box which offers minimum skills/products can only be profitable if you have a large market to cater to, you are in great demand! If not, then you have nothing else to offer anyone. Even seafood restaurants offer more than just seafood these days.

  • Julien has a point that narrowing your niche decreases your client pool, but it also increases your knowledge, as Chris points out. When you combine expert status with a limited customer base, the result is that you have an opportunity to enter communities and get known as the GO TO GUY/GIRL. Anything more is an avalanche, new customers come when the old ones know you’re the best.

  • I am also agree with this.