Your first big verdict finally comes in! You’re on the road to fame and fortune as a trial lawyer…or so you thought.
As the great result fades away, you expect a flood of new clients and referrals. But something funny happens. The phone doesn’t ring and you’re left wondering what happened. You thought that the great outcome would bring your new clients and more money, but that never happens. You’re left scratching your head and wondering what you did wrong.
Eventually it dawns on you months later that success in the courtroom does not translate into new clients and bigger legal fees. So you go back to doing what you were doing before: taking any case that happens to walk through your door and just hoping that one day you don’t have to take the crappy cases.
Who created this Hoax on Lawyers?
It started the first day you stepped into law school. You walk into the ivy-covered law school with big dreams of courtroom victories and you learn the basics of contracts, torts and constitutional law. After three years of law school, you think you’re ready to conquer the legal world.
But law school didn’t prepare you for the real world.
Once you join a law firm, you discover that success as a lawyer depends a lot more on things that have nothing to do with the rules of evidence, opening statements or motions in limine. Of course, you have to be able to do those things, but your success depends very little on the technical aspects of taking a lawsuit from beginning to end. Instead, your success hinges on things no one taught you in law school—having systems for running a law firm, getting new clients and making money.
If there’s a single inescapable truth I’ve learned in my career it’s this: business development is the single most important priority that every lawyer (including you) should have.
So what do you do now?
Oh, great, you say—no one ever taught you a damn thing about business development, law office systems or marketing in law school. You convince yourself that it’s just fine that you don’t venture into this unknown world and keep doing what you’ve always done. Hey, you’ve got a website and a Yellow pages ad, just like every other lawyer, so
you think that’s enough.
But if you’re still reading, there’s a good chance you’re not happy with the status quo. Let’s start with a critical distinction: you run a business—not a law firm. Yes, that’s right, contrary to what you’ve been told by your law professors, lawyer friends and parents, you are running a business (BTW: if you want a model for the best business/law firm I’ve seen in 21 years of practice, you should learn as much as you can about Finkelstein & Partners—they are the gold standard for a business/law firm).
And what is the goal of every business? Yes, that’s right (don’t be afraid to admit it), your goal is to make as much money as possible. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Fisher is nuts, my goal is to serve my clients and give the best legal representation.” Of course it is, but you can’t serve your clients if you don’t make the payroll. So let’s get real about your top priority of making money.
You must know who your Ideal Client is
First, you must identify your “Ideal Client”. For almost all of us, our “Ideal Client” is not the plaintiff or defendant in our cases, so get that thinking out of your head. Our “Ideal Client” is the person who brought our client to us in the first place, and who continues to bring us a steady stream of new clients.
If you are a real estate lawyer, is your Ideal Client the homeowner buying a new home? NO!!! The homeowner will use your services one time for a fee of $750 and you will likely never hear from him again, if ever, until he buys another home in 20 years. You will be broke by the time the homeowner needs you again. The Ideal Client for the real estate lawyer is the real estate agent who refers a steady stream of new homeowners. Now, we’re talking.
The goal is not to make money on a single transaction. Rather, your goal should be to develop relationships with your Ideal Client that will generate new clients and a steady stream of income for the rest of your career. The lifetime value of your Ideal Client is far greater than the value of a single transaction or settlement.
You must answer this question: who is your Ideal Client?
When a case is resolved, the client is thrilled and you think you’ve got a referral source for the rest of your career. Au contraire, my friend. This client won’t even remember your name in a couple of weeks. And even if the client happens to remember your name, there’s a slim chance he will ever have another case for you. So what’s the point of maintaining this relationship?
But your referral partner will remember you and with the right connection, you may get new referrals every week. As long as you are good at what you do, you will continue getting new cases from your referral partner and once he sees your work, he will refer you to his network of lawyers. The spigot has opened and you’re in business.
But once you’ve identified your Ideal Client, how do you create new relationships and nurture existing ones?
If you buy a new Gardenia and put it in a new planter in your living room, the plant will die if you don’t water it at least once a week, right? The same concept applies to your Ideal Clients—you have to stay in regular contact with them through a variety of ways, including handwritten letters, direct mail newsletters, emails to update them on the status of a case and even tote bags full of bagels.
Why do I write this newsletter every month? That’s right, because YOU are my Ideal Client. I cultivate relationships with lawyers through newsletters, trial lawyer workshops, email campaigns and websites because my Ideal Client is YOU.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing this newsletter, but I don’t do this for fun (well, okay, it is fun). I send you this newsletter at the first of every month so when that next malpractice or catastrophic injury case crosses your desk, you will think of me (yes, I have ulterior motives).
A special gift for you
Just because you read this far, I’ve got a special gift for you. I have a one-hour interview with Ben Glass, Esq., the nation’s top authority about marketing and business development, called “The Secrets of Referral-Based Marketing for Lawyers” and I’d be happy to give you a free copy. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will drop the CD in the mail to you with my thanks.
How can we help you become more awesome?
What if there was a book about law office systems, management and marketing that leaves no secrets behind?
A book that will give you systems for every aspect of your practice, so your law firm runs like a finely tuned sports car while you’re on vacation.
Yes, a book that Ben Glass, Esq., the nation’s leading marketing guru calls, “amazing”.
Now, for the first time ever, this book exists. The Power of a System: How to Build the Injury Law Practice of your Dreams is crammed full of 328 pages of cutting-edge, “you’ve never heard this before”, inside secrets about law office systems, management and practice and for only $26.99 it can be your’s today (heck, we even rush the book to you by Federal Express for FREE if your order from our website, www.ultimateinjurylaw.com).
Now, go to the home page of www.ultimateinjurylaw.com and order your copy of The Power of a System. Let’s get started building the injury practice of your dreams NOW!
P.S.: And by the way, if you’re not absolutely thrilled with The Power of a System, just send it back to me. You’ll get your money back plus $25.00 just for reading my book (sounds crazy? Read the book!) No questions asked and no strings attached!