How to Get Your First Clients as a Solo Lawyer in 2023: 7 Simple Ways
Are you fresh out of law school, just started your practice, and want to get new clients for your law firm? You may need to develop or revise your digital marketing strategy to get more clients effectively. Most law firms are still using obsolete client acquisition methods such as word-of-mouth referrals or mailers, which may have been effective years ago, but less today.
In this article, you’ll learn about ways to improve your law firm marketing strategy and build a strong client base.
When you’re starting as a solo practitioner, identify the types of legal clients you want to work with. The sooner you do it, the better because, that way, you can deal with the problems that resonate with you.
Plus, specializing in a niche shows you as an expert in your field. The legal industry is a serious field, and clients prefer to work with an expert over a generalist. While you may fear missing out on opportunities by narrowing your focus, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.
Let’s say you deal with personal injury or corporate law. The competition among general personal injury or corporate lawyers would be fierce. But, if you’re known for being a specialist in white-collar crime litigation, a specific corporate legal issue, or car accident injuries, you’ll attract first-hand clients.
When you’re building a law firm as a solo new lawyer, networking is the key to growing your new business.
While it may be tempting to just network with your fellow attorneys and call it a day, you need to create a networking strategy that helps you land new clients.
One approach can be to target individuals outside of the legal profession who serve in your industry. These individuals can become valuable referral sources.
For instance, if you specialize in real estate law, networking with realtors can bring direct referrals if you’re a personal injury lawyer, network with doctors. For corporate lawyers, joining a golf club to connect with potential clients may prove beneficial.
Your reputation will gradually spread by actively engaging with professionals in your field and leveraging your skills. So that, when people require similar services, you’ll be top of mind of those people.
To start networking, explore groups and events related to your legal services on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Meetup. Additionally, maintain professional relationships with former school and college friends as they can also prove helpful in the future.
Getting referrals for your law firm shouldn’t be your sole strategy. Referrals can come from past clients, current clients, and even other lawyers.
Some ways to get referrals are:
- Ask – Directly asking clients, past or present, for referrals is the most straightforward way to implement this strategy.
- Streamline it into your client’s customer journey – You can send an email or SMS with a link to a referral form after the end of a client’s case.
- Provide an unforgettable client experience – Customers remember a business when they have the best experience. Do this, and the referrals should keep coming in.
- Incorporate referral requests on printed marketing materials – Whether it’s a brochure, newsletter, or sticker, you can include a note that says something like, “We appreciate referrals,” and include details on how to refer your law firm to others.
The most crucial strategy to get more referrals is to provide the best legal services to your existing clients. Additionally, you should make an effort to clearly state what someone needs to do if and when they decide to refer your firm to others.
Legal directories can help increase your law firm’s search visibility. Think outside of Google and branch out to directories created exclusively for lawyers like Avvo, Lawyers.com, yelp, super lawyers, Find Law, Nolo, Expertise.com, and more. Here are some of the top legal directories that you can consider.
Avvo is a popular legal directory and a general resource for people looking for lawyers. Their website allows users to find a lawyer by location or practice area. They offer free and paid options to list yourself or your firm in their directory.
Lawyers.com is another popular legal directory that claims it has 95% of US lawyers. A subscription allows you to create a customized profile, peer and client reviews, and preferred placements.
Nolo is a legal directory and legal resource website. They have a Pay-Per-Lead service that provides leads to lawyers for a fee. Leads are generated from Nolo’s client queries (via a website form), which are then forwarded to the appropriate lawyer or law firm.
You can explore many other legal directories, but these three are the leading ones in the industry.
Your primary goal for creating a Google Business Profile is to help the prospects living in the neighborhood find you easily. Technically, to appear in the “near me” searches like “road accident lawyer near me” or “divorce lawyer in Boston.
So, start by claiming your GMB profile, then enter your firm’s name, correct business category, address, phone number, email, and business hours. Ensuring that these pieces of information are updated helps you get ranked in relevant local searches.
Note that Google considers three factors for ranking a business in local queries:
- Relevance. Google’s algorithm determines whether your firm’s information (business category, law office location, etc.) matches the search query.
- Distance. Google selects businesses that are nearest to the user.
- Prominence. Google also looks at how popular or visible your business is online, which includes your website, social media profiles, and directory listings.
A Google Business Profile puts your law firm on Google Maps and allows you to appear in the local 3-pack. The local 3-pack is the top 3 businesses appearing in any location-based search engine results page. This is what it might look like:
In addition to a Google Business Profile, you need to optimize the quality content on your law firm website for local SEO. Creating a dedicated web page for each location can be beneficial if you have several law office locations. Here’s an example from one of our clients, Wattel & York:
Focusing your efforts on local SEO opens up more possibilities for your firm to get potential clients nearby or look for a specific law office to visit. We have written a detailed local SEO guide if you want to learn more about it.
Having a law firm website boosts your chances of landing new legal clients, as the majority of people today just Google search for everything. To create a great site, consider hiring a specialized web design agency, as many lawyers neither have enough time nor expertise in this area.
Check out the website we made for The Law Firm of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, and Wolff.
Regardless of whether you hire an expert agency or take a DIY approach, your site should include the following:
- Home page – main page visitors see
- About page – shares law practice story, mission, vision, and values
- Service page – lists practice areas
- Contact page – provides address, phone, email, and social media links.
Once you have a website, focus on getting traffic and leads with a solid SEO strategy.
If you want to boost your law firm’s visibility cost-effectively, SEO for law firms can do the job. It involves researching keywords related to your legal services, improving website content, and incorporating relevant keywords to attract clients.
If you already have a content marketing strategy in place, we can help you with high-quality legal content creation and optimize your site’s technical SEO. A balanced SEO strategy covers these bases leading to organic growth for your law firm website.
Use your legal blog to answer frequently asked questions about your law practice. This can be anything from “How to file a personal injury claim” to “What is the process of getting a divorce?”
Doing this educates readers and is a powerful way of convincing your target audience or prospective clients to hire you.
Here’s an example of an FAQ page for our client, 1800 Injured.
FAQ pages help win over potential clients and overcome any doubts or objections they might have about hiring you.
Having an active presence on social media platforms can pay off long-term. Start with a social media strategy for lead generation and social media management for lawyers. Here’s a quick rundown for the same:
- Comply with lawyer advertising best practices
- Read the 2022 ethics regulations of the American Bar Association
- Create a sharing policy and choose a platform
- Identify your goal and decide on your posting schedule
- Share legal advice regularly
- Use case management software
The content you create will depend on your area of practice—for instance, criminal defense and family law would have different approaches.
Check out the personal injury law firm Kirakosian Law’s Facebook page posts for inspiration.
This example post has a catchy image, concise caption, and a call-to-action to get prospective clients to contact the law firm through their website.
Building and managing a good reputation is non-negotiable if you want a successful career as a solo practitioner. It establishes trust and credibility among clients and colleagues.
So, start building your reputation by engaging in pro bono work to give back to the community, gain valuable experience, and showcase your skills to potential clients.
As you grow, you’ll also need to maintain the reputation you built actively. Practicing professionalism, continuously providing amazing services, and managing online reviews and ratings are some ways to do it.
While online reviews are important, they may not always be positive. Responding to all reviews, especially the negative ones, allows you to address concerns, explain misunderstandings, and show your commitment to resolving issues.
This is important because online reviews on Google and legal directories, ratings, awards, and accolades, or answering legal issues in forums are some of the go-to social proof for choosing a lawyer.
Additionally, advancing your career through specialized certifications or advanced degrees can demonstrate your commitment to excellence and set you apart from other lawyers. Obtaining awards, accolades, and positive ratings also add to it.
Offering a free consultation is great for getting clients as a lawyer. It’s an effective strategy for getting new clients as they experience your service without fees or upfront payment.
One of our clients, Liberty Law, specializes in wrongful termination and puts its free consultation service on its home page, with a phone number and a contact form for potential clients.
Free consultations can help you fast-track your lead generation efforts and get as many new clients in the door as possible.
As a solo practitioner operating on a tight budget, you can focus on DIY lawyer marketing and reputation building. Establishing a strong online presence and spreading your brand awareness is indispensable.
Once you’ve laid a foundation and are ready to scale your legal marketing efforts, hire an agency like ours to maximize your growth and drive tangible results.
Feel free to contact us if you need any assistance building your website. We offer a free custom audit for firms we have a mutual fit with.
Article by Kim Barloso
Kim Barloso writes different types of content that helps businesses and brands establish their online presence. Before venturing into writing ten years ago, she was a communications trainer for customer support companies. These days, she keeps herself busy with writing and catching up on true crime documentaries.
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