Many areas of practice have a natural focus. A particular sub-set of the general population that needs their services. Workplace lawyers might focus on businesses based on employee numbers while property lawyers focus on developers. Other areas, such as family law or estate planning know they get the best clients from referrals and can focus on those.
But what about the general litigation lawyer, how do you find clients that are about to sue or be sued?
The short answer is that generally you can’t! So what are the alternatives?
One option is to maintain as high a level of visibility amongst your current and past clients and your referrers as possible.
But this is what all lawyers, accountants and other professionals should be doing. Its a marketing fundamental, not a marketing leading strategy.
The better option is to focus your practice on a particular industry niche. You might still accept litigation matters on a wide range of issues but you focus your efforts on demonstrating your expertise in a particular area.
Entire firms, particularly in personal injuries or US style class actions, have committed to this approach.
But if you’re a business or commercial litigator your focus needs to be on that particular subset, that industry niche that you can understand, relate to and demonstrate your expertise in.
Building and construction is a prime example. Its both a clearly defined industry niche and an area prone to an above average amount of disputes in projects.
But focussing on a industry niche takes more than just telling people you specialise in that type of litigation. You need to walk the talk and put in the hard yards to demonstrate to members of the industry, who have seen plenty of lawyers before you, that you have a genuine commitment and understanding of their industry. You need to be active in their industry groups, support industry initiatives, present at industry seminars, compile testimonials from clients in that industry.
You also need to be in it for the long haul – don’t stop going just because you have a few new files come in the door.