Law and business may be different fields but are two sides of the same coin. Attorneys dedicate their lives to the study of law, from undergrad to grad school with high GPAs, excel in law school, study for the bar, and learn to practice the law through trial and error. There is not much room for business development growth in an attorney’s life. Successful firms are business savvy and understand to be known in the community, they need to market themselves to the community.
Having a clear understanding of what your firm values and its intentions helps maximize impact on potential target audiences.
Some companies get purpose-driven and mission-driven confused. They both serve the same strategic role in defining your firm but through different practices.
Purpose-driven companies are committed to working for more than profit and shareholder value. It’s often related to the greater good, usually timeless, and global in scale, so it rarely changes.
On the other hand, mission-driven has the same positive impact on a narrower set of people, usually the stakeholders. The mission is allowed to change over time if there are market shifts or business objective changes.
Values define what the organization believes in and the behavior it agrees to live by every day. Values set expectations on how employees behave when interacting with clients and partners. Having a clear vision of your values sets an example of professionalism for the firm that a community and clients come to respect.
Successful firms understand that their legal work provides a service for the community. It’s not usually a good day for clients if they turn to lawyers for help. Most of the time they’re at their wits’ ends. Successful law firms that understand how to be there for their clients go above and beyond to provide consistency in a timely manner.
Take time to listen to your clients’ post-case reviews. Their feedback provides for areas of improvement in service, and possibly getting your firm name well known. View the clients as an extension of your firm.
For example, if your firm offers free consultations, add some legal tips and alternative methods to the consultation. It may seem counter-intuitive now, but this legal advice for the client will inform them that you care. Providing exceptional service to clients influences positive word-of-mouth and becomes recognized in their community. Rather than seeing you as just another attorney, you’ll be “their” attorney.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask clients for referrals. Chances are they may know someone, (friends, family, peers) who may also need a lawyer. Reach out to clients proactively, whether it be through emailing, mailing, phone calls, etc. to find clientele. Waiting around for them to find your doorstep, assuming they’ve heard of your name, will take a bit longer than your coffee break.
The best of the successful firms don’t stop at these markers of success and then stop. They continue to reflect on their current practices, innovate their services, educate themselves, and up-skill themselves. Aim to be a successful law firm by committing yourself to your firm’s marketing strategy, clean mission, and values, and becoming more client-driven.