One abrupt surprise that many lawyers find once they start their own firm is that there’s more to running a practice than just practicing law. You have to maintain an office, stay up to date with scheduling, market your firm, keep your cases organized, and keep the momentum growing your practice — all while being a lawyer.
It’s enough to make your head spin.
It’s not long before you realize that you’re more than just a lawyer; you’re also a business person. Unfortunately, law school doesn’t teach you how to treat your law firm like a business, so it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed throughout your client intake process — and for a good reason! Running a business is hard.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. You just have to start thinking like a CEO, not just like a lawyer. Let’s break down how to do that by starting where everything stems from first: attracting clients.
The first step to becoming a successful law firm is attracting clients. However, it's easier said than done. Since law school doesn't teach you how to find your own clients, you usually find yourself inevitably asking how you will attract them.
The answer is certainly not a simple one, but the good news is that there are several strategies that are bound to yield results. Let's take a look at some of the most effective ways for attorneys to attract clients.
How to Attract Clients
As with any industry, networking is one of the best tools you have for bringing attention to your brand. The more that you can network with other professionals in your line of work, the better. It's not unheard of for lawyers to refer clients to each other, which can be incredibly helpful when you're just starting your practice. However, it's important to mention that you shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that networking with lawyers is the only way to build a network. Some might even argue that the most effective way to network is to branch out with people who aren't in the legal industry at all but rather in your area of practice.
That means if you specialize in intellectual property, then it's advisable to rub shoulders with industrial designers and entrepreneurs. Get to know where these kinds of people hang out, in the real world and online. There are plenty of groups in places like Facebook, which could be a fantastic place to network with potential clients. Ultimately, networking is a numbers game. The more people that you know, the more possibilities you have to earn clients.
Even though Google is an incredibly important place for your law firm to attract clients, there's something to be said about word of mouth. Finding legal representation isn't like making a reservation at a restaurant. A lawyer could potentially have the fate of someone's future in their hands, so people want to know they're making the right choice.
Statistics show that over 60% of legal clients found their lawyer from asking a friend or family member. So, it goes without saying that networking is one of the most valuable ways that you can build a reputation for your law firm. Talk to everyone and anyone that you can, and don't be afraid to let the fact that your lawyer slide into conversations here and there.
Who knows — something as simple as striking up a conversation with the cashier at the grocery store could lead you to your next big case.
Best Tips and Practices
One of the biggest mistakes that new lawyers make when trying to network is over-selling their business. The last thing you want to do is come across as desperate or overly self-promotional. Make sure that when you're networking that you stay sincere. People appreciate a genuine connection rather than one that's clearly sought out for self-interest. Lawyers already have a lot of negative stereotypes attached to them. Prove people wrong and be relatable and sincere Rather than coming across as only having dollar symbols in your eyes.
Believe it or not, blogging isn't just for sharing fashion tips or how to make a salad in a mason jar anymore. Blogging is a critical part of an effective marketing strategy. An online presence is crucial, and legal is one of the best ways to stand out and engage new clients.
If you've never blogged before, don't panic. The idea isn't to write the next Moby Dick, but rather to share your authority on a subject you're good at — law! Don't get too far ahead of yourself overthinking your blog posts. Try to blog about something that falls within your area of expertise. The best way to attract clients to your blog and ultimately your website to hire you for their services is to post valuable and exciting content.
The more shareable your blog posts are, the more you'll start to build your reputation with Google. As a lawyer, Google is your best friend, and your blog is the friendship bracelet that will ultimately tie you together.
Chances are you probably don't have tons of time to blog since you're busy practicing law. If possible, commit to blog at least once a week. The idea is to write something which is in tune with what people are searching for on Google. A lot of your leads will be looking for specific search terms online. For example, what do I do if I get injured on the job? Your blog post should come up as a valuable resource for whatever question potential clients are searching for. If your blog produces high-quality answers to some of the most common legal questions, then it's only a matter of time until you rank well in search queries.
Above all, make sure that you post regularly. A legal blog is the most effective when you can manage to do it consistently. The more content that points towards your website, the more traffic you'll start to generate towards your business. More traffic on your website means more potential clients.
Best Tips and Practices
Find Your Niche
Casting a wide net may seem like a great way to get more followers on your page. However, trying to touch on all law subjects can ultimately lead to your blog getting lost in search engines and may not pay off the way you would like it to. Instead, dedicate your blog to your specific expertise and stick to topics that fall within your niche.
I mean, let’s be realistic — who wants to listen to a family law attorney talk about medical malpractice? It's not practical to talk about things that fall outside your legal realm. Stick to what you know best and keep your subject matter relevant to your firm. Your audience will appreciate your blog's insight much more if it's an area of law that you actually practice.
Know Your Readers
Any time that you're attempting to reach an audience, you have to know who they are. Get to know who you're writing for and how to build your relationship with your readers. If your blog's visitors are mostly one particular kind of person, then you'll want to use the right language and subject matter to reel them in.
Above all, make sure that you feel accessible. Using too many fancy legal terms or complicated language can turn people away. Use relatable terminology that anyone can understand.
Spontaneous posting isn't the best way to keep your audience engaged. Posting regularly will breed loyal readers since they know what to expect. Even though it might seem more realistic to post whenever you find a free moment, you’re ultimately throwing away an opportunity to keep your audience engaged.
The great news is that there's plenty of technology out there that makes posting regularly simple, even with a busy schedule. Plenty of third-party applications allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time and spread them out at the time of your choosing. That way, your posting schedule is predictable and regular, which leaves readers knowing exactly when they come back for more.
Invite Guest Contributors
A great way to bring a fresh perspective and a new audience to your blog is to invite guest contributors. When you allow someone else to take the microphone for a moment, you're diversifying and building on your blog's subject matter. Ideally, you should invite guest bloggers that are already well established in the legal blogging and social media world so they can help promote your blog. You’ll need all the word of mouth that you can get!
Don’t Forget SEO
Although the contents of your blog should come first, you shouldn't forget the importance of SEO. Make sure that you're using keywords that will leave bread crumbs on Google for visitors to find you. The more visible you can make yourself to search engines, the better. If you're not sure how SEO works, then you might want to consider brushing up before you dive into starting a blog.
When most people think about email newsletters, they think of boring, unoriginal content doing nothing more than promoting a business. Usually, they get deleted right away and likely unsubscribed from altogether. However, this is a huge missed opportunity. A newsletter can be so much more. Think of a newsletter as a traveling blog. It's an opportunity to bring your useful content straight into the inbox of potential clients and establish trust with your audience.
The right newsletter can totally revolutionize the way that you promote your brand. People will eventually start to look forward to your newsletter since it comes packed with all sorts of relevant content.
Best Tips and Practices
Newsletters work best when created on a schedule, just like a blog — post too much, and you might come across as spam. However, post too little, and your audience may lose interest. Scheduling about once a month or once every quarter is a great place to start. It doesn't matter whether you write it, someone in your staff, or outsource to a professional writer — the idea is to create high-quality content that sparks people's interest.
Places like Twitter and Facebook are goldmines for finding clients. Social media is all about sharing content that ultimately brings people back to your page to follow you. When you have a lot of social media followers, you build credibility for yourself as a lawyer. The idea is to stay top of mind, so with millions of users on social media platforms a day, it's a fantastic opportunity to make yourself visible.
Best Tips and Practices
If you’re thinking, how am I going to attract social media followers if I don't even know how to get clients yet? Don’t worry — it’s not rocket science! When it comes to getting attention on social media, the more creative you can get, the better your results will be. You can even have fun while marketing your law firm by gaining followers through the following proven methods.
Join Legal Groups
Don't forget social media is all about being — well, social! The best way to get a conversation going and start making connections is to participate in groups. Whether you join groups with fellow lawyers or everyday people looking for legal advice, posting regularly and participating in the conversation is a great way to attract visitors to your social media page.
If you're really feeling motivated, you could even create a group of your own. The idea is to get involved in a community where you’re an active participant.
Use Dynamic Photos
Social media is all about posting visually appealing content. When people are scrolling through their feed, they're much more likely to stop and read a post if there's an eye-catching image attached to it. Studies show that posts that include an image are much more interacted with than those that are text only. Feel free to add your original images or use many of the free stock images out there online.
Make sure that whatever image you post is relevant to what you’re talking about. Above all, make sure that it's clear and focused. Blurry photos look unprofessional and won’t do you any favors.
Nowadays, social media has become one of the most popular destinations for watching videos. Many lawyers have great success posting videos with a daily snippet of legal advice or valuable information related to their area of practice. In addition to making your own videos, you can also share other people's content as long as you provide credit. Although it’s generally considered okay to post something off-subject once in a while, you should try to stick to a legal theme. Otherwise, posting off-topic can confuse and turn away your followers.
Many lawyers get it wrong on social media by forgetting that it's a two-way road. In other words, don't expect your followers only to interact with you without giving something in return. When followers comment on your posts or send messages, it's critical that you reply within a reasonable amount of time.
Social media is a place to exchange, and if your followers don't feel like you're exchanging back with them, it won't be long until they unfollow. Social media is a place to build connections and converse, so make sure you’re replying to everything.
Pay Attention To Analytics
Platforms like Facebook make it possible to pay attention to which posts are performing the best on your page by providing free built-in analytics. Whatever followers are responding the most to— post more of! Giving people more of what they want will lead to increased engagement, better exposure, and ultimately more followers — which means more credibility for your page!
Adding yourself to a directory is a straightforward yet effective way to get your name out. Some of the directories online are paid, and others are ad-supported free services like Yelp. The idea is to get yourself on any directory website that you can. Even Google Maps is helpful to be on.
Best Tips and Practices
If you're not sure where else to add your law firm, start looking for other law firms in your area. Start paying attention to which lawyers consistently show up the most, and take note of the directories that they're on that you add yourself to those directories to ensure that you're doing exactly what the successful law firms are doing.
As if attracting clients weren't already enough work, it's only half the battle. Once you bring clients in, you'll have to convince them to stick around. A one-time client certainly has value, but loyal clients are the most valuable because they come back for more.
They’re also valuable because loyal clients give credibility to your law firm. When you delight your clients so much that they only want to work with you, then it's obvious that you're doing something right.
The question then becomes, how do you retain clients? Regardless of what your legal specialization is, the same rules apply.
It’s all about making them happy.
Happy Clients = Happy Practice
Wait a minute; you’re a lawyer, not a customer service specialist. Your job is zealously representing your clients and getting them favorable results on their case, and that’s enough, right? — Wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, client satisfaction is not just about how you perform in the courtroom. It’s about how happy you make your clients — which surprisingly doesn’t always ride on how well you perform on their matter. There are lawyers out there who don’t get their clients the best possible outcome on their case, yet they still have clients that are thrilled with them — Why?
It comes down to many different elements that contribute to the client experience as a whole.
Let’s break down what those elements are:
Ultimately your clients come to you because they need legal services. First and foremost, you need to fulfill your commitment to providing the job you’ve promised to do: practice law.
Your clients are putting their trust in your hands. Be someone they can rely on every step of the way.
Lawyers are often perceived as dishonest or unfair. Remember, just because you can charge for something doesn’t mean you should. For example, technology like Lawmatics makes it possible for clients to self-schedule free of charge, which can significantly boost the customer experience.
Valuing Your Customers
Customers immediately sense if profitability is number one on your agenda before they are. The best customer experiences are the ones that make your customer feel like they’re assets —not just revenue.
When clients feel like they’ve been given just a little more than average, they’re delighted. By throwing in extra effort and positive experiences, your customers will feel even more valued, particularly during your intake process.
Far too often, legal clients have what they believe to be a fantastic consultation with a lawyer, only to find that the magic quickly wears off. Because of inconsistencies in their communication, they quickly start to develop a poor impression of their law firm.
A consistent effort is one of the most essential parts of creating a positive customer experience.
By delighting clients on every step of the journey through positive experiences, you’ll find yourself with happy clients, and in turn, a happy practice.
What a Legal Client Journey Is
As the name suggests, a client journey is a collection of experiences throughout a customer’s path with any business, in your case, a law firm. Make it an enjoyable journey for your client, and you’ll have yourself a happy client, even in the absence of favorable results for their case. Crazy right?
Every single stage of your client’s journey is an opportunity to delight your customer. Instead of throwing away missed opportunities focusing on cases alone, take every chance you can get to wow your clients.
Lawyers should be focusing on how they provide legal services rather than simply providing legal services. By focusing on the client, you can totally redesign your law firm and deliver an unequaled experience.
Why a Client Journey Matters
Customers today expect more than ever. It’s no longer okay to perform a service without a stellar customer experience attached to it. That's why, in today’s business world, more and more companies are moving towards experience-based business models rather than service-based ones. People want to be wowed, and they want to share that experience with other consumers. Give them good stories to share!
The people who are most likely to leave an online review for your law firm are the ones that have either had fantastic experiences or terrible ones. The people who experienced “okay” service aren’t likely to leave any review at all.
Online reviews are a critical part of building a positive reputation for your law firm since most people do a Google search before contacting your practice. You want to make sure that the first reviews that come up are good ones.
In short, a positive experience for your clients doesn’t only benefit them — you have a lot to gain from it too!
Human Nature Seeks Feeling Valued
Lawyers have a reputation for not having much time for clients and lacking empathy, so why not exceed their expectations?
People want to feel valued, appreciated, and heard.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes, and it will come across in the service you provide. Getting to know your clients enables you to put your energy where it counts in their client journey. Focus on what you can do for them, not the opposite, and they’ll be a loyal client for life.
Not All Customers are Alike
As lovely as it may sound to imagine that a one-size-fits-all approach works for every client, it’s simply not the case. Clients are more than just numbers or demographics. They each have a unique set of circumstances and needs, so the kind of journey you provide should be tailored to their uniqueness.
Relevant information can be used to segment your clients into appropriate categories, so you can make their interactions with your firm that much more personalized. Lawmatics segmentation software makes it easy to break your clients into groups for the purpose of enhancing their client journey.
Now that you have a better idea of why the client journey is important, let's delve into each stage.
The Three Phases of the Client Journey
A client journey begins the moment they contact your firm. It’s your make-it-or-break-it moment to give them a reason not to go to the next law firm listed in their Google search results. Where a lot of law firms go wrong is failing to make the good impression that they need to make to start the client journey off on the right foot. Perhaps they don’t give the potential client the response they were looking for. Maybe it lacks luster, or maybe they fail to return their call at all. All too often, lawyers have so much going on that their communication is seriously lacking.
Yet, good communication is one of the most desirable traits a lawyer can have. Clients want to know that their lawyer is going to get back to them about their case details. Since first impressions count, it’s critical that you show a potential client during those first few moments of interaction what they can expect if you work together: good communication.
But let’s be realistic. You only have so many hands. It’s mentally and physically impossible to give the level of attention that each client needs individually and simultaneously, all while practicing law.
This is where automation is critical. A CRM for lawyers and attorney intake software like Lawmatics collects a potential client's contact information for you, inputs it into your database, and engages immediately — without you having to lift a finger.
2 Active Matter
Once a lead becomes a paying client, they’re now in the second stage of their journey, which is an active matter in your system. Even though it might be easy to assume that the hard part is over now that you’re hired, it’s hardly the case.
It's an opportunity to showcase how attentive and communicative you are with them as each new part of their case develops. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you don’t have to impress them just because you already landed the job. Current clients are still incredibly valuable since they promise potential referrals and repeat business. Don’t be afraid to market to them just like leads by sending them valuable newsletters or resources.
It helps to make them feel connected to you by giving them direct access to their case through a client portal. Technology like MyCase, which started primarily as an attorney-client communication portal and then evolved into a full-blown legal practice management software, makes clients feel included and invested in each step of their case by providing a gateway to everything that’s going on.
Instead of communicating with your client through traditional communication channels spread out between email, telephone, and snail-mail, you can share information all in one single location. Not only is it an opportunity to delight them with direct access to your law firm, but it’s also an opportunity to delight them with cutting-edge tech that shows off how modern your practice is.
3 Former Client
So, you’ve carried out a client's case to the end. This is where many lawyers hang up their hats, give themselves a pat on the back, and move onto other things. As far as they're concerned, they've achieved client success.
Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest missed opportunities out there. A whopping 75% of law firm business comes from referrals. That means if you’re not wowing your clients all the way to the point that their case has drawn to a close, then you’re missing out on one of your biggest sources of business. Your legal client lifecycle isn't done yet.
Don’t stop the attorney-client communication there! Remember, the most successful law firms know that their clients aren’t just customers but a relationship that requires nurturing through your law firm CRM.
Keep them engaged through engagement cadences like email drip campaigns and newsletters. Don’t close the door, but rather keep the conversation going. Check in how they’re doing, ask them for reviews, wish them a happy birthday — do things that remind them you care just like you would in any other relationship.
The idea is to delight them by showing them you remember them, and you value them. In turn, they’ll do the same for you! Customer loyalty sprouts from a memorable attorney-client relationship.
How To Delight Your Customers Through Each Stage of the Client Journey
The best place to start when developing a plan for a positive customer journey is by putting yourself in your client's shoes. How would you like to be treated as a customer? What makes you tick as a client? The more you start to think about what makes you happy as a consumer, the better you’ll start serving your clients.
Think of your clients as someone you're courting. What does it take to win their heart?
Get to Know Their Preferences
Nothing says great customer service like catering to your client's needs. Take some time to get to know what your client's preferences are and how they do business. Get a feel for how they like to be communicated with and deliver catered service based on their individual needs.
An all-in-one approach doesn't work if you hope to deliver ideal customer service. A positive customer journey starts with a personalized approach that makes your clients feel valued. By taking the time to do business with your client on their terms, they'll feel appreciated and valued.
Match Their Communication Style
It's great if you can determine as early on as possible what kind of communication style your client has. Some clients don't like to be bothered with much more than an email here and there. Yet, there are other clients that would like to know what's happening with their case at all times. Using technology to give your clients direct access to their case is a great way to provide them with updates without having to call them every time there is an advancement.
Always Deliver Your Best
Let's face it, a day in the life of a lawyer can be stressful. There are days when there's a lot on your plate, and the last thing you feel like doing is putting on a smile. After all, you were trained to practice law, not provide a gleaming smile. Unfortunately, a big part of your job as a lawyer is providing customer service. The trick to creating happy customers is to treat every client as if they were your most valuable and treasured client. That means putting your best foot forward even when you're not in the mood.
When a client contacts you, you may not always have the answer right away or the time to answer in detail. Instead of being cutting or impatient, simply say that you're currently working on getting back to them with an answer, and you'll let them know as soon as possible. Always be friendly and never let your clients see you sweat. Above all, never seem too busy for your clients. This is where automation can come in handy when clients need a response fast, but you're busy handling other matters.
Don’t Bill For Every Little Thing
We get it — your time is valuable. But billing for every little thing will eventually turn people off. Rather than keeping a running bill for every task, hand off a load of work to automation. A CRM for attorneys can do all sorts of responsibilities for you, like self-scheduling appointments, which means one less item added to your client's bill. The less you bill your clients, the happier their client journey will be.
Say Thank You
Whether you have just had a meeting together, a phone call, or you wrapped up the case entirely, a great way to go the extra mile for your clients is to thank them. Something as simple as a thank you can be the very thing that makes a client loyal for life.
A simple text or email thanking them for the opportunity and reiterating the next time you'll see each other is a great way to nurture your relationship. The idea is to send a personalized message that shows you care about them as a client and you're grateful for their business.
Delight Your Clients Every Step of the Way With Lawmatics
Growing your law firm is no small task. It’s a monumental project that you need all the help you can get on. With so much competition out there, your best tool for winning clients' business is to wow your customers every step of the way with the help of Lawmatics robust technology.
Automation makes clients feel connected to you every step of the way. It provides an effortless and client-centered approach — one that won’t just encourage repeat business but also shared experiences and referrals.
No more having to choose between losing valuable time lost on practicing law and giving clients the attention they deserve. Now Lawmatics does it for you.
Are you ready to learn more about mastering the client journey? Check out our Tech Tok video presented by lawyer and Lawmatics CEO Matt Spiegel, who shares more insight on how to achieve customer delight in your law firm.
Matt was Co-Founder and CEO of MyCase, the legal practice management software company previously mentioned. He is now Co-Founder and CEO of Lawmatics, the #1 attorney-client relationship management platform that provides law firms with legal intake software, CRM, and law firm marketing automation. In this Tech Tok, Matt talks about why it’s critical to invest in the client journey and how to use technology to differentiate your practice so that you can win more business, impress your clients, and be more efficient. Check it out here.