Been meaning to comment on some marketing advice I saw on Law Practice Today back in August.  The article entitled “A Business Development Checklist for Young Lawyers” by Kelly O’Malley at Fox Rothschild struck me for two reasons:  her checklist should get the attention of more than young lawyers, and, at least in part, should be read and followed by the increased number of solos out there.

My focus in this post then is on the items O’Malley mentions that could help solos and very small firms (that do have the benefit of a marketing department or multiple practice areas to call upon for help).  Here are a some:

  1. Keep your bio current.  You should constantly update your web site (you better have one) information, including matters handled (don’t mention client names without their permission, even if it is matter of public record), speeches made, etc.;
  2. Develop an elevator speech.  Saying “I’m a lawyer” or “employment lawyer” is NOT an elevator speech.  Rather, something along the line of “I help employees/employers avoid workplace problems” is better. See these posts for additional references to elevator speeches;
  3. Use social media.  But, be careful what you put out there.  For professional purposes LinkedIn is better than Facebook IMHO.  Also, don’t spend too much valuable time being social online or hiding “behind the computer.”   Turn social media contacts into face-to-face contacts, whenever possible;
  4.  Get out and about.  Network events in your community and trade group conferences where your ideal clients hang out.  Take clients, referral sources, prospects (keep ethical rules in mind), reporters, classmates, etc. to lunch (at least one per week, as monthly is too infrequent).  Read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  Join and be active in organizations, whether business, community or bar related. Be a player and raise your profile to attract those clients you want;
  5. Reach out quarterly to your contact list.  Contact by telephone, email or in-person those contacts that could help you grow your business.  Try to help them as it is better in the long run to “Give to Get;” and
  6. Keep in touch.  In addition to your quarterly contact list, send holiday, birthday, congratulatory cards and notes.  They should be handwritten and hand-addressed.  BTW I like Happy Thanksgiving cards to avoid the December rush.

O’Mally’s advice is not just for young lawyers only.  I know plenty of experienced (in legal matters) lawyers, many in larger firms, that could use help in developing business as well.