Jan. 6, 2021 – How important is marketing and networking your law firm?
On Jan. 13, at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Lawyer Marketing & Networking Expo, presented by Practice 411™, attorney panelists will discuss successful strategies for starting or growing a law firm, overcoming challenges, and building trust with clients and the benefits of community engagement.
Here are a few of their favorite tips:
1) Balance Client Expectations
Clients have different expectations and demands of their legal counsel. Keeping an up-to-date calendar and providing clients with realistic timeframes help manage client expectations.
“I am a big proponent of a calendar. The longer you practice, the more able you are to gauge time commitments and how long it will take you to accomplish something,” said Lynette Kay Fons, panel moderator. In addition to calendaring, case management software1 can help lawyers streamline communications with clients, increase billable hours, and optimize document storage and retrieval.2
“It is easy to make a promise and not give yourself enough time to perform a particular task,” Fons said. She recommends building extra time cushions into your schedule, especially when you’ve promised clients to have tasks completed by a certain date.
2) Serve on Nonprofit Boards
Attorneys are often called upon to serve on local nonprofit boards. Volunteering to serve on a board is a significant time investment, and an attorney should only choose those boards that advance important causes to that attorney.
“Being an attorney in the community makes you are a part of that community. It’s always important to give back,” says panelist Evan Lin. “Give back to a cause that you care about. Do not join a community board just to join a community board. Make sure it is something you are passionate about, because people will see that.”
Lawyers serving on nonprofit boards should be aware of their ethical obligations regarding privileged information3 and avoiding conflicts of interest.4
3) Establish Trust with Clients
“When you are building relationships with clients, it is so extremely important to have trust. When clients are hiring me, I explain to them how trust will be the foundation of our relationship. And what I’ve learned is that having the conversation up front is extremely valuable in maintaining a solid relationship going forward,” says panelist May Lee.
Lee also recommends informing clients of what they can expect from your representation and what your expectations are for your clients. If either side does not live up to their end of the bargain, open and honest communication can help get the parties back on track.
4) Build on Prior Experiences
Panelist Aaron Abram recommends that attorneys trust in their own experience and self when starting a law firm.
“My previous experiences, especially in compliance, help me practice in law. Having that type of confidence and knowledge, and then bringing that same passion to the practice of law … helps me out in the courtroom and helps my clients feel comfort with me,” Abrams says.
New attorneys can also benefit from the State Bar of Wisconsin’s mentoring program, Ready.Set.Practice – which matches new lawyers with experienced volunteer mentors to assist with law practice management, effective client representation, and career development.5
Another great resource is the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory, an online, searchable list of nearly 400 lawyers willing to consult with other lawyers who have questions or need guidance in specific areas of practice.6
5) Benefits of Community Involvement
“At Stafford, we are really fortunate because we have different avenues to get involved with the community. There are so many volunteer opportunities, and our attorneys take advantage of those opportunities to give their time to folks who might not be able to get help elsewhere,” said panelist Katie Harrell, a partner at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP.
“We feel good about volunteering and I know that people are always so appreciative. We do a great job of getting out there and giving back to our community,” Harrell said.
Find Your Winning Strategy
At our upcoming Lawyer Marketing and Networking Expo on Jan. 13, there are multiple opportunities to ask our marketing experts and other attorneys what successful strategies have worked for their organizations or clients, and to find out what winning strategy will work for your firm. There will be dedicated times to visit the exhibit hall or network, or ask questions in the live Q&A rooms. We hope to see you there!
Reserve Your Spot: Lawyer Marketing and Networking Expo, Jan. 13
Discover how to operate a more successful, profitable law firm with proven tools and techniques at the Lawyer Marketing & Networking Expo 2021, on Jan. 13, 2021.
The Expo is a one-day, online event presented by the State Bar of Wisconsin Practice411™ law office management assistance program. The tuition cost is only $49 for the full-day event.
At the Expo, you’ll gain insights from Wisconsin attorneys, practice management advisors, and marketing professionals on:
- the dos and don’ts of advertising;
- search engine optimization (SEO) best practices;
- social media strategies and addressing negative reviews;
- measuring your marketing effectiveness;
- the most helpful apps and software; and more.
Most importantly, you will have an opportunity to ask speakers and network with presenters and your peers during dedicated Q&A and networking sessions. And, if you are considering hiring a company to provide marketing services, you can visit the vendor hall and chat with booth representatives.
For more information, visit wisbar.org/marketingexpo.
1 Members of the State Bar of Wisconsin receive discounts on case management software – visit Membership & Benefits on WisBar.org.
2 The Secrets of Selecting Practice Management Software, InsideTrack, (Feb. 6, 2019).
3 Dean R. Dietrich, Lawyer-Board Members' Business Advice Likely Is Not Privileged, Wisconsin Lawyer, January 2019.
4 Dean R. Dietrich, Ethical Dilemmas: Conflicts Arising from Service on a Board, InsideTrack, Nov. 18, 2020.
5 Be a Mentor or Get One: Mentoring Program Helps Young Lawyers and All Lawyers, InsideTrack, Oct. 7, 2020.
6 Need Advice from a Colleague? Turn to Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory, InsideTrack, Feb. 5, 2020.