This weekend I attended the Legal Max seminar hosted by Dave Lorenzo, the man pictured to my right. I learned some really great ideas that I wanted to share on my blog. One of the things that struck me about Dave and the other awesome presenters was their enthusiasm. As I wind down 2014 and think about the strides I've taken in my legal career, it was important to me to sharpen my business chops and make sure that I invested time in learning what it would take to bring my law firm from good to great. These are the three things that left the greatest impression on me from the conference.
1. Differentiation is Everything. Lawyers are everywhere and legal services are available in abundance from Legal Zoom to prepaid legal plans. The attorney who doesn't take the time to do things differently from her peers is destined for a mediocre career and a constant struggle to make new clients. My goal in 2015 is to be the lawyer who brings the most value to her clients and keeps in touch with former clients because at the end of the day, my clients are my biggest priority. Like all relationships, it's paramount for me to keep the lines of communication open between myself and my current and former clients. They should never forget that they have a lawyer in the family.
2. Being on the first page of Google is a misguided goal.
“If you aren't on the internet, you don't exist to people looking for lawyers on the internet.” –direct quote from Brian Tannebaum, former Above the Law.com columnist
Mr. Tannebaum's presentation made a great point: people are on the internet looking for information and the best deal available. If I want to be the cheapest attorney, then the internet browsing crowd is my target audience. If I want to create a different type of client base, the internet becomes significantly less important. There are so many ways for me to keep in touch with current and former clients, so why should I spend money on an “internet marketer?” That expense could be used to improve the quality of service I provide my clients, so unlike the herds of other lawyers, my goal is to do things differently from my competitors. I certainly hope people continue to browse my website, and my plan in 2015 is to focus on writing quality content that helps people make better choices in their lives. If they decide they want to hire me after reading something that resonates with them or helps them answer a question, then fantastic. Otherwise, I want my blog to be a source of useful information that gives people an idea of who I am and how I may be of service to them.
3. Don't assume people know what you do. This applies not only to lawyers but to folks in all service-oriented professions. My friends and family may know I'm an attorney, but do they really know what I do? It would be naive of me to think that my family and friends actually read my blog or take that big of an interest in what type of law I practice. So what's a lawyer to do? What's a CPA to do? What's a therapist to do? We have to make an effort to remind people of what it is we actually do and what kinds of clients we are looking for.
Friends, family, and former clients are just like everyone else. They are focused on themselves and their own lives. The only way to stay on their mind is to get in front of them in some way. This simple idea made a big impact on me, and I look forward to creating an email and a print newsletter to keep in touch with the people in my life to let them know what I'm doing and remind them that I'm always here, no matter what their problem may be. Even if I can't directly respond to their problem, there's a good chance I can refer them to someone else that I know and trust. Aside from all of the great things I gained from the conference, I also went on a fantastic boat tour of Miami Beach, Florida. Overall, it was a great weekend, and I look forward to putting these insights into practice as we head into the new year. To check out photos from my trip, feel free to add me on Instagram @sugarlandesq.