According to the American Bar Association, there are some 1,338,678 licensed, active attorneys in the United States today — that’s up some 15% from a decade ago! If you have newly graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, and hung out your shingle, you might be finding it a bit hard to gain traction for your practice. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of great low- or no-cost marketing tips for lawyers who are just getting started. Read on for some creative ways to get your name out there!
Network, Network, Network
It’s the legal profession’s answer to the old real estate trope of “location, location, location.” Being active in the community, shaking hands, reading name badges, and passing out your business cards — no matter what type of law you practice, networking is necessary.
Attend young professional events, conferences, civic meetings — any occasions that might get you out and about. Join professional associations and community organizations. Never turn down an invitation to attend a function or be a guest speaker. You just never know what might come from these offers.
Don’t be shy about singing your own praises, either. Tell the people you meet what your specialty is and invite them to share your information with friends and associates who might need your services. Plugging yourself like this might seem awkward at first, but it will get easier, and you’ll get smoother, with practice.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
In a way, the savvy use of social media is like networking for the next generation. Claim your practice on Google, Justia, Avvo, Yelp, and any other directory you can find. Establish a profile on all the major social sites.
You can use Facebook Live to host a Q and A session answering followers’ legal questions or create a series of YouTube videos that pertain to your specialty. Answer questions on Quora. Interact with other attorneys, local business people and community members, and anyone else who will follow you on Twitter.
No doubt you honed your writing chops in law school, so why not let them shine by creating content for your blog? (Your website does have a blog, doesn’t it?) Doing this is good for your SEO and your social. Google ranks websites with frequently updated content higher than their competitors’, and when you post that content on Facebook or Twitter, it helps your profiles look lived in.
“We make sure to post on our blog at least several times each month,” says Attorney John A. Lancione of The Lancione Law Firm. “It’s great if you write the content yourself — it will help you connect with your readers — but it’s also OK to outsource this job to a freelance writer. Just be sure to fact-check and proofread it before publishing.”
Snapchat and Instagram can be a bit harder for lawyers to use to their advantage than, say, hairstylists or boutique owners, but if you can find an angle and make these visual sites work as marketing tools, more power to you!
Volunteer Your Expertise and Time
We get it; you’ve spent years living on ramen noodles and coaxing that old clunker of a car to start up each morning. Now that you’ve earned your degree, you’re ready to start raking in some bucks. You’ll give back down the line, once you’ve paid off some of those student loans and maybe made a down payment on a house so you can finally move out of that tiny efficiency.
However, don’t close yourself off to the idea of volunteering. It is a great way to establish a reputation as one of the good guys, to gain valuable experience and insight, and yes, even to front-load your karma a bit. And — most important of all — you will be using your education and talent to help disadvantaged people. It sure beats sitting around waiting for a potential client to call.
Opportunities Are Everywhere
When you’re young, scrappy, and just starting out, a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking can really help you market your legal practice. Especially if you have decided to go it alone, either in your small hometown or in the big city, these low-cost and even free tips can be just the ticket to give you the leg up you need!