By Ken Hardison

Building a Successful Law Firm isn’t something they teach us in law school, is it?

Once we graduate with our JD and embark on what we hope will be a lucrative and satisfying career practicing law, we quickly realize there’s a plethora of “stuff” that we don’t know.

Even if we were Law Review, Moot Court, or Trial Team champions when it comes to the real world of being a lawyer, we enter the game with a significant amount of real-world schooling in store for us- The school of hard knocks and trial and error. 

And when you reach a point in your career when you’ve had enough of lining someone else’s pockets with your hard work and are ready to build your own law firm, you embark on yet another real-world journey that law school has not prepared you for.

I know firsthand how challenging it is to grow a law firm from the ground up because I’ve grown and sold two successful law firms and invested countless sleepless nights and 18-hour days in that process. After retiring from the practice of law, I (Ken) have spent the last 12 years teaching other lawyers- just like you, how to grow their law firms with the Strategies that I had to learn the hard way. 

Here’s one of the Biggest Myths many Lawyers have when it comes to Building their own Law Firms: Being a great lawyer and getting solid results for my clients will get me all the cases I need – WRONG!

Unless you are famous like F. Lee Baily, Johnny Cochran, or Perry Mason, the truth is being a great lawyer will NOT get you all the cases you need to build a successful law firm. Period. 

And here’s the real kicker: Getting fantastic results for your clients does NOT automatically mean these clients will remember you or send you referrals after the representation ends. 

Even if you land your client a phenomenal settlement or verdict, the painful truth is that most clients will forget what you did for them. They simply get on with their own lives, and they stop thinking about your law firm shortly after the check is deposited or cashed. 

That’s why you must create Strategies to Create Top-of-Mind awareness in your past clients’ minds. You must keep reaching out to your past clients so that they don’t forget about you.

If you want them to tell their friends and family about you, you must stay in contact with them utilizing systematized strategies that nurture your relationship with them perpetually.

  • Send them email blasts 
  • Send them paper and/or digital monthly or bi-monthly Newsletters
  • Send them cool swag like calendar magnets, pizza cutters, pandemic masks, pens, local ball team sports calendars, and such with your firm’s logo on them
  • Send them Birthday Cards and Holiday Cards – (Here’s a tip- send Thanksgiving Cards rather than Christmas cards- so that you stand out from the mass of cards most people receive over the holidays.) 
  • Send them personal handwritten notes whenever they refer a friend or family member to your firm. 

Use your imagination. Think about the ways in which you can create top of mind awareness – by building and sustaining a relationship with your past clients. Make sure they know that you LOVE referrals (Place stickers that say We love referrals on every piece of mail you send out to clients and past clients- and put this same phrase on the bottom of your emails and in your newsletters). There are so many ways to keep in touch with your past clients, and these simple strategies cost very little but yield a fantastic ROI.

Far too many lawyers think that being a good lawyer is what it takes to grow a law firm, but the truth is that you must do more if you want your phone to continually ring with new clients.

Set about creating a system of simple strategies designed to keep your past clients from forgetting about you. 

IF you give your clients excellent client service, and then establish methods of maintaining top-of-mind awareness, many of your clients will refer their friends and family to you when they need a lawyer. But if you rely on your “reputation” and results alone, you will be sadly disappointed.  

Simple strategies like those outlined above cost very little but will yield a steady stream of referrals to your firm over time. Former clients that become your “raving fans” will inevitably tell others about your firm. Building referral systems is one of the most powerful and effective marketing strategies that any law firm owner can implement to grow their law firm. And these strategies are EVERGREEN- Unlike the world of Digital and Social Media Marketing, SEO, and PPC- which is constantly evolving- these simple REFERRAL strategies are timeless. They will always yield results. 

So, keep doing quality legal work and giving each client exceptional client service – but then set about taking active steps to stay in touch with each former client. In this way, your former clients will be reminded that you haven’t forgotten about them, and you will find that they won’t forget about you, either.   

** If you want to learn more Strategies for Law Firm Growth, click here: www.pilmma.org

*** If you want to learn more about building a powerful REFERRAL Marketing System, check out my book, Systematized Marketing, available on the PILMMA website.