This week in Things I Wish I Knew, solo attorney Joleena Louis takes the next step in building a niche solo practice: assemble a team of professionals.
A few weeks ago I mentioned my plans to continue to focus my practice to not just representing men in custody disputes, but to specifically targeting professionals and higher net worth clients.
Over the course of this year, I plan to write periodic updates about my implementation of this plan, and will provide regular updates about how things are going, including what’s working and what is not. You will know these posts because they will all start with “How to Build a Niche Solo Practice”, just like this one is.
My hope is that the mini-series will serve as a road map for anyone else who is building a niche solo practice, and (selfishly) it is a way to keep myself accountable in a very public way.
Why I Chose this Niche
I decided to target higher net worth clients because I enjoy working on complex custody cases. These cases can get costly and require the parties to have substantial assets to engage in the dispute.
Higher value cases allow me to take on fewer of them to meet my revenue goals, enabling me to give higher quality service.
Meeting Client Demands by Assembling a “Team”
An important aspect of attracting higher net worth clients is having a quality team of professionals that work well with my firm and my clients.
Clients with fewer assets are willing to forgo certain kinds of professional advice or shop around for the lowest cost provider. However, it’s been my experience that higher net worth clients expect their divorce attorney to be prepared with the referrals they need.
My plan is to be able to provide my clients with a list of quality and trustworthy professionals to be a part of their divorce team. In theory, these professionals should also serve as good referral sources.
So for the next couple of months I plan to focus my networking on accountants (divorce, financial planning & forensic accountants), residential real estate agents, real estate appraisers, valuation experts, insurance brokers, trusts & estates attorneys, and therapists.
The Benefit: Referrals & Effiencies
Having a team in place provides value to my clients because they will have to spend less time and money searching on their own for these types professionals. It’s a way for me to add value to my clients beyond the services I get paid to provide.
An additional benefit is that, since I would already have a relationship in place with these professionals, it will result in fewer billable (and non-billable) hours collaborating on my clients’ cases.
For example, I already know exactly what documents certain CPAs require from new clients so time and money is not wasted communicating this information.
It will also enable me to provide a comprehensive package, sort of a one stop shop, for everything my client needs. Along with litigation planning, I will be better able to help my clients with pre-divorce planning and help them leave with a plan once the divorce is final.
I don’t have my strategy completely nailed down in terms of how I am going to meet these professionals. I will likely be starting with the people who I already know. I’m sure there will be many twists and turns that I look forward to sharing.
Want more ways to build a bigger referral network?
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.