Networking and marketing your firm are the life force of private legal practice. You can be the best lawyer in the world, but if clients don’t hire you, you’ll never get the opportunity to prove it. The pandemic has erected the biggest hurdle for direct legal marketing that we have ever experienced in our lifetimes.
Yet, the revolving closure of bars and restaurants, and self-adherence to socially responsible behavior, does not prevent you from doing the things that will actually help grow your business. Sure, the occasional case has come from a dinner or happy hour, but some of the most successful lawyers in town haven’t ordered a drink for years.
First and foremost, the key to getting clients is doing a great job for the ones you have. To that extent, the pandemic has presented many (not all) of us with more time to focus on our existing caseloads than ever before, since our dedicated marketing time is significantly less. This is a great time to focus on creative discovery or motion strategies, deepening your understanding of complicated legal issues in your areas of practice, or learning a new area of practice altogether.
Right now, you also have a captive audience on the internet. There are endless opportunities to present at online CLEs if you’re proactive. You can also find various print or online publications looking for contributions, or you can focus on effective online marketing. This is also a time where you can reach a larger audience via social media, but you should be introspective about whether your social media contributions help or hurt your private legal practice. Various bar and public interest associations are always looking for members to join, contribute, and be creative for their continued vitality through this challenging time.
This is also an excellent time to focus on your physical and mental health. Eventually this long hibernation will end. We will all socialize with one another again. You will want the confidence in marketing your practice that comes from having your physical and mental ‘stuff ’ together. [Memo to self: Bottom halves of suits will soon be required.]
Admittedly, this article comes from somewhat of a place of privilege. For those of us who are further along in establishing our practices, the pandemic has not been as devastating. If people knew your practice before the pandemic, they know it during the pandemic. While there are presently increased challenges for a new enterprise to prosper, I have no doubt there are young and hungry lawyers in our community figuring out how to make it work.