After two weeks of practicing law, I was shocked and dismayed when I opened my first paycheck and realized that at a small personal injury firm, I was making close to nothing and could not even pay my rent. My boss sat me down and said, “In order for you to be successful you need to bring in business.” I hit the streets running. I met with unions and spoke at events and quickly realized that I had an ability to market to get business. I was compassionate and could listen and was able to garner large settlements in negotiations easily. After building up business in my law practice I started a company that soon became the largest litigation funding company in the country where I ran the attorney marketing department. Since inception I have traveled the country and have met with and presented to hundreds of law firms. I see what works and what does not work.
Fast forward 26 years and I am now an owner of a fast-growing multi-platform financial service company specializing in plaintiff funding, transportation and medical funding. I run our marketing department and am proud to say that we have achieved growth in a competitive marketplace with organic marketing. We have not spent money on ads, SEO or TV spots. We simply create a buzz because we have mastered the 3 Ps. The 3 Ps are passion, promotion and publicity. These are the recipe for the success of my company, Momentum Funding and have also been the formula for the most successful woman run law firms across the country.
As lawyers, we were never taught in law school how to market or how to run a business. Many of you will be judged, promoted and compensated based on bringing in new clients. Many of you can advocate for others. That is how you were trained in law school. However, when it comes to advocating for yourself to get business you are more uncomfortable. Not to mention, that after a long day of work you find it exhausting to spend your evenings at networking events.
The first step is to find your passion and then promote it. Find your niche and focus on telling your own personal story. Writing a business plan can help you discover what sets you apart from other lawyers. For example, what do you specialize in? One lawyer I know was previously a registered nurse. She uses her medical knowledge and background to market as a nurse lawyer. This furthers her litigation strategy and increases her settlements. Other lawyers refer her cases as they know she has the expertise to work on complex medical cases. The nurse lawyer promotes herself by speaking at events, writing articles and setting herself up as the lawyer with medical expertise.
Another lawyer I know handles car defect cases. She is a mother who became an advocate in her state and local governments to change the car seat laws in her state. She had young children at the time and was able to take her passion for children and help others. She uses this passion to create a name for herself. As a result, lawyers across the country refer her product liability and catastrophic cases. Her passion was promoted by her involvement in government where she has become a leader in her state trial organization, creating a name for herself politically and professionally.
One of my favorite marketing niches is the lawyer who has become the motorcycle lawyer. She had a case early in her career where an injured motorcyclist hired her and she settled his case for a considerable amount of money. She then became passionate about motorcyclists and joined many local motorcycle clubs and advertised in motorcycle publications. She is also plastered all over billboards in her geographic market and has become a household name in her community.
Finally, the third P is promotion. Promote yourself through many channels and you will soon determine which channel works for you. Community outreach and charity are key. Find the organizations you feel passionate about and involve your friends and family. This way you can involve your family in order to have the balance you need in your home life. Some lawyers find that speaking engagements and/or political involvement will help promote them. Finally, take on a leadership role in a local organization.
Publicize depending on your budget. As my company Momentum Funding does, you can publicize through organic channels on a small budget by writing articles, contacting the press when you speak at newsworthy events and marketing to your database through emails, letters, and website promotion.
Finally, in order to achieve the balance, you need to juggle your work with your home life and have FUN doing what you love.