We at Grow Law Firm won’t tell you much by telling you that building a clientele varies enormously depending on the type of law you practice and your personality. However, there are three main areas around which you can build your clientele. It would help if you remembered that its three axes are intimately connected and that putting all your energies into one will be less effective than working on all three simultaneously.
- Your current customers: In all industries, serving customers well will always be the key to successful customer development. A professional approach, availability, and fees that consider the market will be useful to retain your customers and encourage them to refer their contacts to you. Word of mouth is the oldest and one of the most effective marketing tools.
You tell me that these are the clients of the senior partners, never mind, offer them the same service as your clients because your “intermediate” vis-à-vis the client will see his career progress at the same time as yours. In 10 years, he may be the decision-maker who will give you a mandate. Ten years is indeed a long time. And that’s why you have to seek out your first client proactively.
- Your visibility: If no one knows what you are doing, no one will call you, so you have to make yourself known. Happy hours, the chamber of commerce, and non-profit organizations are only effective if you are good at them. Being good at making a happy hour effective is more difficult than you might think. Sitting on the board of an NPO will bring you nothing if you are not efficient and involved in this NPO; the same thing for the chamber of commerce.
The first clients when you learn how to get personal injury clients for example you will have will not be paying, and you will probably have to do it on your own time, but keep in mind that, contrary to what many people believe, it is your clientele that you develop as much, if not more than that of the firm. It is normal for you to devote your own time to it. If you’re lucky, your firm will credit you for this development, but don’t expect them to count this time the same way as your billable hours.
- Your expertise: It is clear that your ability to build a clientele depends on the quality of your work; however, by “expertise,” I refer to a specialization that would set you apart from our colleagues. This is still long-term work, but your goal could be to become a reference on a specific aspect of the law. If necessary, additional training combined with a few mandates in this field of expertise could allow you to establish yourself as an “expert” in the field. For example, a lawyer specializing in soil decontamination could be called upon to intervene in files managed by colleagues from his firm but also be solicited by external lawyers.
By becoming a reference, your clientele will consist of lawyers and companies working in a sector related to your expertise. All that remains is to combine this expertise with the visibility acquired by writing articles in specialized journals.