Here are 5 tips that will help you to be the best attorney possible!
It’s quite a well-known fact that business attorneys are an in-demand profession. Think about it, gigantic corporations to small mom and pop businesses from Texas to New York can get hit with a lawsuit at any minute, or they might be the ones to institute such a lawsuit against someone else.
Similarly, the average Joe or Jill on the street who decides they want to quit the rat race and start up their own business will likely need advice and guidance on how to go about doing this. Whether it is the actual formation of an LLC, partnership or a corporation, to the drafting of any of the several documents or contracts that will be needed in setting up and running a business.
When you then consider that there is an upward trend in the number of people who are making the switch to becoming a business owner, with a reported 550,000 Americans starting one business or another every month, that might make it clear just how much help some of these people will need with starting and running their enterprises.
Hopefully, when or if that time does come for that attorney to be called upon, it will be you. However, the one thing you can do to ensure that your chances of being that ‘lucky’ lawyer or law firm that gets contacted, is to ensure that your firm’s website is properly optimized to appear and be found in the search engines. You can do this all by yourself or you can enlist the help of a marketing company to perform good and effective SEO activities for your website. One reason behind ensuring that your website is easily found online is the fact that 58% of all legal consumers use a search engine like Google or Bing to find a lawyer.
That being said, here are some of the things and tips that you can use to be a kick-ass and great business attorney.
1. Know Your Strengths
As much as everybody wants to be perfect at everything, it is as much a fantasy as it is impossible. Therefore, it is always better to find something or a few things to focus on, then study and practice at being the best that you can in those areas.
With that in mind, the fact that the scope of business is unimaginably wide, it behooves you to limit your business law practice to those areas or industries that you are knowledgeable about. So, even though you are technically a ‘business lawyer,’ don’t try to be a “jack of all trade business lawyer” and take on issues or clients in industries that you know little to nothing about.
2. Tone It Down
Odds are your potential clients won’t have attended law school. Therefore try as much as possible to limit or even avoid unnecessary legal vocabulary or legalese. While throwing around legal jargon might seem impressive, it usually is not to regular folks who will usually just feel intimidated or lost. The best way to solve a complex problem is to break it down into smaller simpler parts. The same can be said of any legal matter. Therefore, the use of simple everyday language to explain legal concepts is usually the best way to communicate and help your clients understand what you are communicating to them.
3. Be Reasonable With Your Billing
It is a universally held view, rightly or wrongly, that lawyers are expensive. In the same vein, many lawyers sometimes justify this notion of being expensive by citing the many years they spend in law school, the high student debt they often incur in the process and several other reasons or factors to justify this. It is not uncommon to see a law firm or lawyer charging in the region of $350 an hour for consultation. Of course, there are many lawyers who charge much higher than this, and there are those who are cheaper.
Whatever spectrum you fall into, one good piece of advice to follow is for you to be “reasonable” with your billing. Yes, I know that being “reasonable” is relative, but being reasonable might mean something like first taking the pulse of the average person who comes to you to for legal help, determining which financial bracket they might fall into, and charging them accordingly. In this sense, it might mean having two or three different price points and assigning each price to a specific market segment. For example, you might want to quote a young entrepreneur who is straight out of college and is trying to start a new business less than the small business owner who has an established business. After all, the saying goes that one size does not fit all.
Or you might decide to completely shake up the legal billing industry by offering a flat-fee structure for your legal services, just like the innovative company Whipping The Cat has done.
4. Get Out There
Let’s face it. You can’t create a widely popular and successful law firm on your own overnight. You need to do whatever it takes to get clients to grow your business, and to do that you need to “get out there.” In other words, you need to properly market yourself and your firm.
When it comes to properly marketing your law firm, in today’s legal market there are two categories: digitally and in person.
Getting out there digitally refers to ensuring that you have a good digital presence that entails things like having profiles on relevant social networks, having a good and user-friendly website, and making sure that your website has been properly optimized to appear in the search engines. This last point clearly refers to ensuring that you have engaged a digital marketing company or agency, similar to Telligent Marketing, to run a lawyer SEO campaign for your website.
Conversely, while having a digital presence is great, a physical presence will also go a long way to get your practice in front of your potential clients. This can include things like being more active in your community, attending seminars, attending/hosting networking events, workshops and other events where your potential clients and referral sources are likely to be.
5. Go Above and Beyond
None of the above-mentioned things will matter to your law practice if you do not go above and beyond in providing your customers what they came to you for, and then some more. This is essentially referring to things like providing great customer service, being courteous, understanding and empathetic to your customers and their problems, and making sure you do everything in your power to help solve their problem, and more.
At the end of the day, the quality of the service you provide at every step on the client’s journey with you will go a long way in determining if they become a repeat client and if they are more likely to recommend your law practice to someone else.
In the same sense, any client who comes away with a negative experience after engaging with you and your law practice could potentially cause you to lose one or more future clients with a negative review. There is research that shows the importance of reviews for small businesses and your law firm is no exception!
Whether you are a solo lawyer, a freelance small business attorney, or you are an employee of a midsized/large law practice, the fact remains that there are certain features your practice must have and things that you will need to do, if your business is to stand any chance of surviving, much less thriving or growing. The list above is just a small sampling of several things you can do that will help you become a great or kick-ass business attorney.
Kanayo Okwuraiwe is a startup founder, an incurable entrepreneur, a digital marketing professional, chess lover, brother, son, friend and more. His latest project has seen him create a digital marketing agency called Telligent Marketing that provides law firm SEO services to help attorneys grow their law practices.