In the extremely competitive legal services industry, it's challenging to make your practice stand out. Clients ultimately want to work with a lawyer they trust and with whom they can connect. Here's how you can use your strengths to connect with clients and create a thriving practice.
It's tempting to try to match resumes with other lawyers, but there will always be someone smarter, more experienced and with a more impressive case record. What you may be missing is your own competitive advantage. What those other lawyers don't have is whatever it is – your background, a cause you believe in, specialized training – that makes you different.
Most people only visit a lawyer a few times throughout their life. It's tough for them to choose between attorneys because, on the surface, they all seem to be the same. What a client looks for is someone they can trust and someone with whom they can communicate. Dig deep, or not so deep, to identify what it is that connects you to your potential clients.
If you're like many lawyers, you came to the profession through personal motivation to improve the lives of others. Draw from this experience to develop a potential niche for yourself. Perhaps you were an advocate for workers' rights or participated in development projects overseas. This information makes you an ideal fit for workplace discrimination cases or advisory work for nonprofits.
Your life experience helps give clients a better picture of who you are. It sets you apart from another lawyer who may be equally qualified from a legal perspective but who may lack the drive, compassion and determination your clients seek.
Most lawyers hold multiple degrees. Don't hide this information if it's relevant to your practice. If you were a social worker or nurse, that's extremely attractive to someone who wants to hire a lawyer for a family law or personal injury case. The diversity of your skillset not only helps your clients legally, but it also helps you to assess their motivation and provide the best possible representation.
If you have a master's degree or other specialized training, it can help pivot your practice to a lucrative niche. A business lawyer with a degree in taxation or accounting can draw in new business owners who aren't quite sure of the advice or services they need but want the most qualified legal counsel possible.
In addition to your education and life experience, who you are can go a long way to set you apart from the competition. If you run an immigration law practice, potential clients would love to hear your own story of being the child of immigrants or having gone through the immigration process yourself.
Advertise your multilingual capabilities or experience with cultural communities if that information makes potential clients more comfortable trusting you as their legal counsel. Your role as a parent, spouse or other ways you define yourself is invaluable and provides meaningful connections you can make with clients.
Your clients may think the practice of law is all about rules, regulations, courtroom procedure and conflict. In reality, it's about people. In order for them to feel at ease with contacting your firm and discussing their private legal concerns, they need to know more about you. Revealing details about your background, life and specialized knowledge isn't just good marketing. It helps connect you with the right clients – those you can actually help.