This week in Things I Wish I Knew, Solo attorney, Joleena Louis, explains how narrowing her practice to a niche area ended up having a profound effect on her solo law firm.
When I first started my practice I received referrals from friends and family members for a variety of legal issues, none of which included my actual practice area of family law.
I have to admit that in the beginning it was tempting to take on some of these cases primarily because I needed the money.
Fortunately, I was warned by other solo’s that this was not a good path to take if I wanted quality referrals.
Knowing Where I Wanted to Practice, But Not Being Specific Enough
However, family law is a very broad area so did I need to dig deeper to find that niche? Would I not get more work if I kept it general?
I started out taking any family law case that came to me and I had a very difficult time narrowing down my ideal client; when referral sources would ask me what type of cases I was seeking, I would just say any type of family law case.
While this lead to referrals for my solo law firm, many were poor quality and were not willing to pay my fees.
Making a Change and Specifying My Ideal Client
I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to get better clients.
I started by thinking about the cases that brought me the most satisfaction and I found that I really enjoyed working on custody matters, especially fighting for fathers who wanted equal parenting time.
Custody cases are expensive so my best clients are professionals because they typically have the resources to go forward.
Finding My Niche and Its Effect on My Referrals
Due to this influx of quality referrals, I am able to charge a higher fee.
Obviously, I do take on other types of family law clients or cases, but I now describe a specific type of case that has my preference.
A referral source may know several family law attorneys, but they now think of me when they come across this particular type of case and it has done great things for my career as a solo attorney.
Not choosing a niche practice area is one of the 7 deadly mistakes that prevent law practice success.
Learn how to avoid the other 6.
Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a ﬁrm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial ﬁrm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ start-up program in Downtown, New York. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew… explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law ﬁrm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur.