As a young attorney I often found myself asking:
Where do I find new clients, and how do I get them?
Two years after graduating from law school, I contemplated changing firms. My colleagues seemed to be “on the move.” They were receiving plum assignments and their salary increases were topping mine. We all worked the same number of hours and achieved the same level of performance. So why were they moving up on the career ladder? I realized that my colleagues were bringing in clients–and I wasn’t. Five years out of law school, I recognized that it was time for me to start building my book of business. The more clients I had, the more opportunities I knew would open up. I needed to establish my independence as an attorney.
So what did I do? I reached out to my mentor who shared three pointers with me that helped her become a successful attorney. I abide by these guidelines, and have ever since. I call these my Three Ways to Generate New Clients.
First, I began a regular stream of communications with my contact list. Each day, I called or emailed one contact to check in—ask how they were doing and how their practice was going. I didn’t sell during these communications. Rather, I let them know I was thinking of them. My communication with these contacts deepened my relationships with them, and they soon started to call me with projects.
Second, I joined a committee at the Chicago Bar Association. Other lawyers were some of my best referral sources, particularly for matters that were outside of their capabilities. I began to receive calls from committee members who recognized my expertise.
Third, I researched opportunities for speaking engagements and volunteered my time speaking about legal topics of interest relevant to my audience. For example, I spoke at my local Chamber of Commerce community meeting about the importance of protecting a company’s intellectual property. I discussed how employers can prevent lawsuits by their employees at a CLE event hosted by my firm. By teaching others industry-relevant material, I was able to create many valuable relationships.
After following my mentor’s advice, my phone soon started to ring. I acquired five new clients within six months, and several more within the next few years. Many of these new clients have stayed with me for years and have referred new business to me.
To learn about how you can build your client base, check out my Legal Ally Rainmaker course.