Remember your first day in elementary school, and all the new things – taking a school bus, meeting new kids from other neighborhoods, to say nothing of lots of new rules? As a lawyer, it’s been 20 years or more since your first school days, but those beginnings can still teach you plenty about adapting to unfamiliar settings and new challenges – like attracting clients to build your law practice.
That all-important grade-school concept of “getting along, is now known as “networking.” Let’s be clear at the start: your primary goal in networking won’t usually be signing up new business for your law firm on the spot. Instead, it’s more like the advantages you may remember if your grade-school classmates decided you were worth their time getting to know. Once you passed that test, you were on your way to turning new acquaintances into friends.
Something similar happens in practicing law: a new client may get referred to your criminal law practice by a law school friend whose firm only handles civil cases, because you’re seen as reliable and knowledgeable. (It also shows law school is another place networking can pay dividends down the line.) Similarly, new business can result when a social contact from a church or charity asks you about a legal problem a friend or relative is having.
While your firm will doubtless employ other marketing efforts, word of mouth is a powerful tool. (more…)