How Do I Get My First Law Firm Clients?

How Do I Get My First Law Firm Clients?

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As part of our law school & careers features, for paralegals, newly graduates, and those simply hoping to jump into an exciting world of law, here Andrea Hall, Founder and Principle of US based The Hall Law Office, LLC, talks to Lawyer Monthly about the first steps in building your own firm and attracting your first few clients.

This is probably more of a question for someone who is out on their own as opposed to someone who is working at a law firm. With that being said I think some of the things I will mention are applicable to both.

When you are self-employed you eat what you kill. The more you kill of course the more you get to eat. I told that to someone one day who was not self-employed, and they still remember it and remind me quite often of my comment about how much money I earn.

Here are the top five things you should remember when thinking about getting your first few clients.

1. Remember that you are always performing and no matter where you are

You always have to make a good first impression. If you are at the grocery store and you meet someone there is only one chance to make a good first impression. The minute people find out you are a lawyer they of course want to pick your brain. 9 times out of 10 people want your card as they never know when they just might need a good lawyer. Make sure that your business card show cases who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world.

2. Networking

For me this was the most import thing I could do. Now I am not saying that you need to spend all your time networking because this can become a second job for sure. Join the local Chamber or a networking group or meet-up group. Friends and family are always the best source of clients. They know you best and of course will have instant credibility with people they supply your name to. For me I took as many local criminal defense attorneys out to lunch to show them who I was, pick their brain for information and tell them to send me the clients who they didn’t want or who couldn’t afford their services. Which leads me into my next point.

3. Reduce your rates or charge less than other attorneys

I know this might sound counter intuitive as you are wanting to eat and make a living yet in order to build your practice and get your name out there you sometimes have to do things for a little less. For me I was able to build my reputation on the great work I did for my clients and over time I was then able to raise my rates to what other people were charging with no questions asked. Now my experience came from opening my practice right out of law school. If you are coming for another firm where you already have a reputation that precedes you the clients will come just be patient. It takes time for the community to know who you, recognize your talent and send you referrals.

4. Do pro bono work

I know that you are on a budget yet I firmly believe that what you give out you get back. Take at least 1 -2 clients a year that you work their case for free. Know that the client is someone who truly needs your expertise and is in a position financially that if you don’t help they won’t have someone who will fight the justice system for them. It will make your heart feel good and of course this client will be eternally grateful.

5. Take time for you

No matter how hard you strive to be successful if you don’t take time to create balance and happiness in your own life you will burn out. Make sure you are eating healthy, exercising, creating balance with your personal and professional life and most importantly don’t forget to have FUN! The best part about being your own boss and creating your own schedule and eating what you kill is having the life you always wanted so make sure you have FUN!

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