law firm business development strategies

Law Firm Business Development Strategies

Running a law firm is no easy task, and attorneys spend much of their time mired in concerns about their client’s cases. In other words, business development strategies – too often – take a back seat to everything else that is going on. Business development for firms is all about strategically pursuing growth opportunities, and a better understanding of the basics can help you maximize your firm’s potential in the context of an individualized process that works for you. 

One of the most important steps you can take toward this end is reaching out for the savvy guidance of a seasoned legal PR professional

How Business Development Differs from Marketing

Marketing your firm focuses on getting your name out there on Google, keeping your Facebook and other social media accounts active and relevant, advertising locally, and beyond. Most firms put someone in charge of marketing, and it’s their job to bolster the firm’s return on its marketing budget. 

Business development efforts have the same goals – generating revenue streams and shoring up revenue growth – but the focus isn’t on specific marketing transactions. Instead, business development is concerned with relationships, which are the foundation of successful firms. By building bridges that span your community, you lay the solid groundwork necessary to strengthen your firm’s standing well into the future.

The Building Blocks of Business Development

There are several distilled business development basics for firms that should remain at the forefront of your efforts – whether you’re a one-lawyer shop or a sprawling legal enterprise. These include fostering strong client relationships, networking, pursuing quality referrals, and giving back to the community.

Fostering Strong Client Relationships

Your clients are the heartbeat of your firm, and focusing on your current clients is paramount. Every positive relationship you develop supports your firm’s reputation, which is your calling card. Your firm is in the business of serving clients, and when you pour your efforts into the clients who are already on your docket, you demonstrate your unwavering commitment to them, which translates to long-term relationships that will serve your firm well. 

Yes, connecting with potential clients is critical, but one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for doing so is serving your current clients to the very best of your ability. By taking a client-centered approach, you ensure that your clients – both current and future – remain your focus and that your firm is on the path toward sustainable growth. 

See Things from the Client’s Perspective

In order to serve each client well, you need to have a feel for their unique perspective. Clients need to feel heard in order to navigate the challenging legal system they find themselves in. When you engage with your clients in an authentic way, you pave the way toward more open communication, enhanced legal services, and stronger bonds.

Take Your Clients’ Needs into Account

Your clients turn to you not only for your professional legal advice but also for the peace of mind you afford them. Facing a legal concern is stressful, but finding an attorney who’s willing to go the extra mile by providing well-considered advice, careful guidance, and emotional support in the face of considerable stress can prove invaluable. When you display authentic empathy for your clients, you help set your firm apart from the crowd. 

Reach Out and Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Your availability plays a critical role in how well you’re able to serve your clients. A hands-off approach won’t cut it if your goal is growing your firm to its fullest potential. By keeping all the following at the forefront of your efforts, you help to ensure that you remain in sync with each of your clients:

  • Putting in the effort to explain every step in the legal process – in a way each individual client understands 
  • Keeping your clients updated as their cases progress
  • Hearing each client’s priorities and ensuring that they guide your legal efforts
  • Strategizing with your clients instead of simply for your clients
  • Asking for your clients’ input
  • Checking in with your clients on a regular basis – even when their cases aren’t especially active

Networking

No law firm is an island, and everyone can boost success with strong connections in the field. In order to establish yourself in your community and in your field of law, you need to do some networking. If this brings to mind glad-handing and other forms of schmoozing, it’s time to rethink what networking is all about. The most-effective networking happens organically, which generally means engaging in meaningful conversations with others when the opportunity arises, which can happen just about anywhere and at just about any time. 

Seize Opportunities

Networking, in other words, doesn’t have to flow from so-called networking events. Regardless of your occupation, people are interested in what you do, and when you’re asked, you should share your story – it’s a great way to get your firm’s name out there in a very personal way. 

It’s also, of course, important to network within the legal community and within your area of practice, but by remaining active in your field, this brand of networking tends to take care of itself. 

Play the Game

The key to good networking of every kind includes simply playing the game, which includes all the following:

  • Staying active in your business and social circles
  • Overcoming any residual shyness or modesty related to talking about yourself or your work
  • Sharing personal stories that relate to your work at your firm
  • Spreading your wings by joining a new organization or taking on a leadership role – without spreading yourself too thin

Just like everything else in this life, successful networking is a matter of finding balance.

Pursuing Quality Referrals

Those seeking legal guidance have always turned to the referrals of others in their efforts to find solid legal representation. Now more than ever, however, these referrals are cascading over into online reviews and testimonials. Statistics overwhelmingly agree that online searchers are highly interested in what reviewers have to say and are very likely to act on those referrals and reviews that speak to them.

A Win-Win for Your Firm and Future Clients 

Too many firms and attorneys are afraid that asking for referrals is a bad look, but nothing could be farther from the truth. You have an excellent service to offer that can help others overcome their legal struggles, and sharing this information with the people amounts to performing a public service. You’re here to help, and connecting with those who can use your brand of help is key to not only growing your firm but also to successfully supporting those in need of focused legal guidance. When you look at it this way, asking for referrals amounts to a win-win.

Testimonials and Reviews 

Those clients who let you know how appreciative they are of your services and how pleased they are with their outcomes are excellent resources. They’ve experienced firsthand what you have to offer, and when they capture their experiences in their own words, it can lead to powerful results. 

The fact is that few efforts rival the value of an authentic review that’s penned by a satisfied client. Letting your clients know how much you appreciate their reviews may be all it takes to generate a valuable catalog of testimonials that supports your business development efforts.

Giving Back to Your Community 

Giving back to your community is not only the right thing to do but is also an excellent tool for securing your firm’s local standing.

Pro Bono Work 

One of the natural ways for attorneys to give back is through their pro bono work. Finding your pro bono niche is immensely rewarding, and it also serves as a ringing endorsement of your firm’s commitment to the community at large. 

Volunteer Work 

You have interests and strengths that translate to work outside the legal arena, and finding a volunteer position that speaks to you personally is an enriching way to do your part while shining a favorable light on your firm.

Mentorship 

Few efforts are as rewarding as mentoring young people who are finding their way in the world, and the relationship forged between mentor and mentee tends to be genuine and long-lasting. Whether you mentor a law student, mentor an associate in your firm, or mentor through a national program such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the benefits to you, the young person you mentor, and your firm are difficult to overstate.  

A Seasoned Legal PR Professional Can Help Strengthen Your Firm’s Business Development 

Business development is important to your firm’s long-term growth, and the focused legal PR professionals at Newsroom PR have the skill, experience, and PR savvy to help you develop strategies that reflect your team’s unique offerings. Our trusted legal PR pros are committed to helping you establish your firm’s solid standing in the community – both in the here and now and well into the future. 

Learn more about what we can do to help you by contacting us online or calling us at 213-422-2738 today.