How to Get Clients as a Lawyer: The Ultimate Guide
You’ve finally done it. After years of studying the law and honing your craft, you’ve started your own firm. Now you’re faced with the same dilemma faced by anyone who strikes out on their own: actually getting paying clients.
As luck would have it, there are many ways of boosting and managing client intake. Though it probably wasn’t covered on the LSAT, getting and retaining clients is a skill you can learn, like any other.
Let’s discuss a few of the strategies for how to get clients as a lawyer.
How Are Clients Finding Lawyers?
A productive way to start is by asking the question in reverse. Rather than thinking “How do lawyers get new clients”, ask “How do clients find their lawyers?”
First off, there’s word of mouth. When people are looking for plumbing services or a mechanic they’ll often poll their friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances for good recommendations. This isn’t to say people ignore other factors, like online reviews—in fact, in a recent survey 80% of respondents indicated they look at reviews when considering an attorney. But no matter how many 5-star ratings a business has online, nothing beats an endorsement from someone they know and trust.
For this reason, it’s very important that you always keep your clients’ satisfaction top of mind. When someone is seeking out legal representation it’s a safe bet that a serious problem has emerged in their lives; if you help them through it with compassion and competence, they’ll remember that and tell other people.
Though referrals and word of mouth are two major sources for getting new clients, many people will conduct their own searches before (or instead of) asking someone else. While this may have once involved searching the Yellow Pages, these days this process is more likely to include using a search engine and visiting a law firm’s website.
In fact, recent surveys have found that 64% of people said that they would turn to a Google search when it came time to find a lawyer specializing in personal injury or accidents. Making sure you have a professional-looking website, therefore, is an important part of attracting new clients.
Additionally, after the recent pandemic, many of us have restructured our work and lives in substantial ways. Prospective clients are likely to want either the option of working with your firm remotely or to want a mix of in-person and remote interactions. This likely wouldn’t have been the case a decade ago, but times have changed.
By making it easier to find information about you online and offering flexible options, you clearly set yourself apart from the competition.
How to Get Clients as a Lawyer
All that said, there are many things that can figure into your plan for how to get clients for your law firm. These next few sections will provide the strategies you need to succeed.
It’s important that you have a website where potential clients can find you. But the internet is a big place, and so numerous techniques have been developed to funnel prospective clients to your website instead of someone else’s.
These are collectively known as “digital marketing”, and there are a few major categories you need to be aware of.
Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is more or less what it sounds like, and consists of optimizing your website so it ranks higher in search engines. SEO itself is generally broken down into “technical SEO” (making sure your website is coded in a way that makes it easy for search engines to find) and “content SEO” (publishing content that boosts your rankings). The former is best left to a competent SEO firm that knows how to manage the details, but the latter is something you can do by publishing useful articles on your website.
Pay-per-click (PPC): PPC consists of running paid advertisements on Google, Facebook, or other social media sites like Twitter. With a PPC campaign, you are charged every time a person clicks on your ad, hence the name pay-per-click. PPC is a remarkably effective way of marketing to potential clients; whereas a newspaper ad is targeted at “whoever buys a newspaper”, a Facebook ad could be specifically targeted at “professionals in their mid-30s who live near Omaha and enjoy boating.”
Social media: There are many ways of organically using sites like Facebook or Twitter to your advantage without running a PPC campaign. Simply using them by routinely posting commentary, sharing articles you write, and interacting with followers or other professionals in your field could be enough to help you in getting clients for your law firm.
Legal directories: If you’re looking for more answers to how to get clients for your law firm, it never hurts to add yourself to a legal directory that clients can search when they need professional help. There are paid legal directories, like SuperLawyers and FindLaw, and there are free legal directories, like Avvo and Justia. You’ll have to look at the fees involved and decide whether it makes sense given your budget and goals, but it’s nevertheless an option you should be aware of.
Reputation and Review Management
Regardless of what line of work you’re in, your reputation is an extremely important asset that should be carefully managed. Given how important referrals are, you need to do everything in your power to make sure your clients are satisfied when they deal with you. The happier they are, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to their friends, family, and professional network.
But that’s not the only thing you can do. Reviews on sites like Google and Yelp are very important these days, so when you wrap up a case with a client, ask them to leave you an online review. As these reviews grow they’ll contribute to your overall reputation and help set future client expectations in a way that works to your advantage.
One thing you need to be prepared for is your first bad review. Sooner or later, someone is going to be unhappy with your services, and they’ll likely go online to express their displeasure. When this happens, keep tight control of your emotions. You might be tempted to rise to your own defense (especially if you know full well that the client is being unreasonable), but this is a mistake. The correct response is to apologize to the client and make amends as best you can. Managing client relationships is an extremely important part of running a firm, so it’s a skill you’ll want to focus on cultivating.
Go Above and Beyond to Gain Referrals
Given the importance of referrals, they need to be a core part of any strategy to get more clients for your law firm. Besides simply offering remarkable service, don’t be afraid to gently remind clients of how far referrals go in keeping the lights on. If you want to succeed in business you can’t be afraid to market yourself, and most people won’t mind a little promotion if you’re not overbearing about it.
Create a Website
We live in a world that’s extremely digital, and getting more so all the time. Your firm, therefore, needs an online presence that describes your services and qualifications.
Building a website isn’t the only way to do this, but it’s certainly one of the easiest and most effective. Ensure that your website is clean and professional, and if you really want to increase the odds of getting clients for your law firm, consult with an SEO professional.
Though building websites on your own is fairly straightforward as coding tasks go, these days it’s generally a better use of your time to use software that handles most of it for you. MyCase’s website builder put a special emphasis on creating websites that are fast and responsive. People no longer have much patience for slow, buggy websites, so make sure yours prioritizes the customer experience.
Publish Helpful Content
Once your website is established, you should consider publishing helpful content on it. This could be simple blog posts, FAQs where you tackle common sources of confusion, ebooks, webinars, and more.
Of course, not everyone who reads your website will become a client, but a fraction of them will. If a person knows you from having read your articles in the past they’ll already feel that they have a connection to you, which will make them more likely to remember your name if they need legal services in the future.
How to Secure and Retain a Client
Making potential clients aware of your existence through social media, a website, or a PPC campaign isn’t enough. What happens afterward—their experience with you throughout the legal process—is arguably even more important.
Keep in mind that “the client experience” refers to the whole of your interaction, from the first email to the last. It’s not just how confident you are in court, it’s how warm and comforting you are during lawyer-client interviews. It’s not just whether you won them a big settlement (though that’s never going to hurt), it’s whether you make settling the bill easy by having a variety of ways to accept payments.
How to Get Clients for Your Law Firm
Jurisprudence is a crucial part of a functioning society. People need to know that contracts will be honored, grievances addressed, and the cause of justice served.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you, as a lawyer, won’t have to think about marketing and getting clients for your law firm. This whole process is much easier if you’re using high-quality legal software such as LawPay.
LawPay makes it easy to stay on top of your caseload, manage payments, and integrate with other software you might be using. To experience firsthand all that your firm can accomplish with LawPay, schedule a demo today!