Only about ten to twenty percent of our client base is local. Most of our clients are located outside the State of Michigan and many outside the United States of America. Because we are a law firm specializing in internet law, intellectual property, domain name disputes, corporate services and complex litigation, we tend to get hired by companies and outside counsel in cases where specialization is required. Because our market is global, we are somewhat insulated from the economic downturns which shrink corporate budgets.
Regardless, law firms always go through periods of ebb and flow. I’ve always said that there is a lot to be accomplished during periods where the volume of business is down. Recently, we took advantage of a slowdown to rework our corporate identity, launch a new website and integrate that website with our blogs, attend conferences within our practice areas of e-commerce law, online trademark protection and domain monetization.
Sometimes, you simply need more work.
There are lots of ways to jump-start the engine. Lawyers often fail to realize how much control they have over the volume of work. Here are some of our best tips for creating new case/matter opportunities:
- Out of sight, out of mind: Oftentimes, the reason that no new matters are being authorized by your established clients is that they simply aren’t thinking of you. Rest assured, they are confronting issues which overlap your legal expertise on a regular basis. But they don’t always call. Simply pick up the phone and call a client to find out what’s going on in their business, take a client out to lunch or start providing free updates to the client about recent case law in a newsletter or, even better, your extranet. And oftentimes simply showing up in the client’s inbox or voicemail is enough to start new matters flowing.
- Perform a client survey: Sometimes clients just need to be reminded what a great job you do for them. Other times, you don’t realize you haven’t done such great job for the client. Launching a client service will let you know which clients love you and which need more attention. For the clients that are very satisfied with your legal service, a survey can remind them how good you really are.
- Have a party: We just completed our annual summer barbeque with three hundred in attendance. These events are wonderful for generating business from both new clients and old ones. Don’t forget to give away iPhones, iPods and other prizes so you have an excuse to gather email addresses and names. You could then follow-up with an email after the party with links back to your website.
- Work the web: Every law firm has an opportunity to do business off the internet. Create new web pages, optimize your web pages towards keywords within your areas of specialization, post articles on other websites and otherwise establish and extend your expertise. We get calls every day as a result of posting articles on topical issues of the day. Those posts and articles generate business, oftentimes within a couple of days of posting.
Attorneys need to understand that they cannot always wait for the telephone to ring or an unsolicited email to end up in their inbox. Sometimes, you really do need to go out and find business. Lawyers sometimes get so wrapped up in billing hours that they forget that business opportunities are created as a result of thinking outside the hourly box.