5 Low-Cost, High-Impact Networking Strategies for New Solo Attorneys
Attracting a steady stream of ideal clients is an obstacle that many solo attorneys face at some point in their careers, especially when launching a new practice. Whether you’re fresh out of law school or taking your next step professionally, finding the right clients is essential for long-term success. While there are many tactics ranging from networking and business development strategies to leveraging the latest in digital marketing, due to time and budgetary constraints, you may not be able to dabble in everything right away.
It’s all about finding the right mix of tactics when you’re just starting out. Below are five low-cost, high-impact strategies that will help you make the most out of every interaction as you begin your solo career.
For more tips, download our new playbook, 3 Keys to Launching a Successful Solo Practice, with expert advice from three successful solo attorneys.
#1 Always Carry Business Cards
Rule number one. Never leave home without business cards. A common mistake made by many new professionals is not having a business card when it’s needed most. It’s easy to remember to pack them away when attending a conference or professional networking event, but there are many impromptu scenarios in day-to-day life that you may find yourself wishing that you had a stack in your back pocket. Keep a stash in your car, your briefcase or purse, your gym bag, your house and at your desk. You never know when you may meet a potential client or referral opportunity.
#2 Effectively Manage Your Contacts
Speaking of business cards, make sure that you are effectively managing the contacts you make. Don’t make the mistake of taking a business card or name and forgetting key details about the person you’ve just met. If you are someone that prefers to keep tangible business cards, be sure to write down some key words and phrases to jog your memory and store the card in a safe and accessible place. If you prefer to go paperless, there are several highly rated apps you can store contacts and memory-jogging information in. Recalling a life event, occupation, family details or any noteworthy discussion will stand out weeks or months after you’ve met. This will also establish a personal connection and show that you care about providing a personal level of service.
#3 Everyone is a Potential Client
It may not always seem like it, but your daily routine brings you into contact with a multitude of potential clients. Even the most routine and mundane interaction can bring you into contact with someone in need of your services, now or in the future. For example, let’s say you begin your day at a local coffee shop. Be friendly with the baristas and make sure they know your profession. Make conversation with other regulars. You never know who may have an immediate need for representation, or any other number of legal issues that can come up with those you encounter in your daily routine. Not only will you establish yourself as a friendly regular, you’ll have started building a potential referral network.
#4 Guard Your Reputation
Your reputation is vitally important to the success of your career. In today’s digital age of online reviews, this extends beyond word-of-mouth and is incredibly far reaching. Keep this in mind in how you conduct yourself and how you deal with clients, current or potential. In addition to your word-of-mouth reputation in the local legal community, you should also be aware of, and actively manage, your online reputation. This is more important than ever, so be sure set up a system to effectively monitor your online reviews and be responsive, especially to any negative reviews that may come up.
#5 Network and be Social
Since every person you meet is a potential client, it is important to get out and network and socialize. Attend local bar functions and become involved in your community. Not only will it keep you immersed in the local legal community, but you can give back with pro bono service. Additionally, if you have the funds, sponsor a local team or donate to a school or local organization. Remember, you never know who may need your services.
Taking the first step to launching a solo practice will put you well on your way to a rewarding career. To learn more about beginning and managing a flourishing solo practice, check out our new playbook, with expert advice from three successful solo attorneys.