Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Need Advice on Getting New Clients

Hi. I need some tips on how to obtain more clients. Curren nyclawyer11/30/18
What type of law? thirdtierlaw11/30/18
I do a mix of things such as file trademarks, file LLCs, col nyclawyer12/01/18
real estate closings are just about always through referrals dingbat12/01/18
That’s the trick isn’t it. Best advice I ever got was ke midlaw12/01/18
How do I go about finding better professional networks (outs nyclawyer12/01/18
You’re doing it wrong. Advertising that says “hi I’ dingbat12/01/18
I get a lot of people—ie friends of friends— looking for waka12/02/18
I learned from my brother, who's a doctor, the appropriate r dingbat12/02/18
I do that sometimes. More often, I use 2 approaches. I jeffm12/02/18
Great advice from jeffm. Waka, don't even start off giving p cranky12/03/18
Much depends on how you are presenting yourself. If you are wallypancake12/03/18
To the OP, you're doing the right thing networking with othe cranky12/03/18
My bar association in NYC does have a referral program. But nyclawyer12/06/18
I feel like that junky lawyer above who people think are nic jdslug12/03/18
I do the opposite. I’m up front about the fact that I’m dingbat12/03/18
I charge flat rates for some types of work such as filing co nyclawyer12/06/18
One issue I would have with referring anything to you is tha orgdonor12/07/18
This, a thousand times. When I refer clients, I’m putting dingbat12/07/18
I wouldn't expect a competitor to refer business. It would nyclawyer12/07/18
My brand is that I'm mostly going after business clients. A nyclawyer12/08/18
That's a difficult business to establish. I'm not surprised orgdonor12/10/18
Not really. Businesses are everywhere. The beauty of havin jeffm12/10/18
this a thousand times. I'm about to take a case that's not dingbat12/11/18
Good luck with that. Use extra caution starting out in liti jeffm12/11/18
I've told the client I don't do litigation. I will merely b dingbat12/11/18
Good. It's a real good way to learn some litigation if you' jeffm12/11/18
I've told the client I don't do litigation. I will merely b dingbat12/11/18
This is my goal, to obtain business clients that will produc nyclawyer12/11/18
"Other than the occasional help with a commercial lease, it jeffm12/11/18
It’s a balancing act. I tend to charge quite a lot, becau dingbat12/07/18
No flat fees here. Hourly rate or contingency if I think I c jmoney12/07/18
What types of business clients generate a steady stream of w nyclawyer12/11/18
All kinds. I got my start as a solo building up a clientele jeffm12/11/18
If you are friends with some insurance brokers that can help jd4hire12/11/18
Hey there. NYC lawyer too with a marketing background. Mi harryslopes12/11/18
OK. Post your throwaway e-mail here and I will e-mail you. nyclawyer12/12/18
Good Ol' Boys That and nothing else in most jdxs. jmoney12/11/18
I agree, but not so easy to pull off in New York City. nyclawyer12/12/18
If you're in a big city, you have to specialize to make any guyingorillasuit12/12/18

nyclawyer (Nov 30, 2018 - 10:13 pm)

Hi. I need some tips on how to obtain more clients. Currently, I get them through referrals. However, that's not enough. Any tips appreciated. Thanks!

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thirdtierlaw (Nov 30, 2018 - 10:32 pm)

What type of law?

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nyclawyer (Dec 1, 2018 - 4:55 pm)

I do a mix of things such as file trademarks, file LLCs, collections work (plaintiff or defendant) litigation, review contracts, immigration and real estate closings.

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dingbat (Dec 1, 2018 - 5:38 pm)

real estate closings are just about always through referrals, so build your network with realtors.

Immigration work, that you can advertise for.

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midlaw (Dec 1, 2018 - 5:37 pm)

That’s the trick isn’t it. Best advice I ever got was keep in touch with people. Most clients worth having don’t hire randos.

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nyclawyer (Dec 1, 2018 - 7:08 pm)

How do I go about finding better professional networks (outside of bar associations)?

I'm very good at keeping in touch with people I know. I even send handwritten holiday cards. But this doesn't really produce enough referrals. If anything, it produces more headaches since I get more people asking for favors than referrals.

I currently get most of my clients from 2-3 attorneys and past happy clients. I had previously hired a company to do Google ads for me. I got many calls, but most potential clients just wanted free advice. Most would not even pay a nominal fee for a consultation.

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dingbat (Dec 1, 2018 - 10:35 pm)

You’re doing it wrong.

Advertising that says “hi I’m an attorney” gets people looking for free advice. Advertising that says “I can solve your X problem” gets results.

Sane with networking. My experience with professional networking groups is that most people say “hi, give me your client list”. But the good ones say “let me help you serve your clients better”

Remember. Nobody cares what they can do for you. But everyone wants to know what you can do for them. Always position yourself as helping solve a problem.

For example, I discuss with financial advisors how I can set up legal structures that allow their clients to retain more assets that they’ll continue to manage.

Likewise, if I advertise, I find a target market and discuss how I solve a particular issue

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waka (Dec 2, 2018 - 9:18 am)

I get a lot of people—ie friends of friends— looking for free advice as well. I handle it by explaining that I work with other attorneys who handle different parts of the case (research, filling, etc) and I can help them out for free but they have to pay for the other people in the office.
In reality, I just have an office sharing agreement with a few other atty and we use one another as a reason why we can’t do free legal work.

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dingbat (Dec 2, 2018 - 11:04 am)

I learned from my brother, who's a doctor, the appropriate response.

If someone goes up to him and says "I have a rash", or something like that, his response is always "that looks serious, you should go see your doctor right away"

Someone comes to me with a legal problem, I just give them a very quick worst-case scenario and tell them to go see a specialist right away.

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jeffm (Dec 2, 2018 - 11:24 am)

I do that sometimes. More often, I use 2 approaches.

If the person's issue requires a lot of work, I say, "This is going to require a lot of work, and it'll probably cost you in the range of $X to $Y." If it's a small deal, I say, "I can handle this for you pretty cheaply," and I tell them the price.

The trick is to tell them about the money before they can ask you to do it for free.

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cranky (Dec 3, 2018 - 2:47 pm)

Great advice from jeffm. Waka, don't even start off giving people the impression you can do some stuff for them for free. I liked Jeff's comparison to giving dogs free cheese. Then they will keep coming back for a little more every time they want free cheese. I've gotten used too many times from cheapos who are either sort of friends, or friends of friends, thinking I'm a nice person and will help them whenever they come calling, like a free legal hotline. Lay down the law from the beginning so people will value your time and expertise.

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wallypancake (Dec 3, 2018 - 10:48 am)

Much depends on how you are presenting yourself. If you are presenting yourself as the junky lawyer who attracts to non-paying clients then that is what you will get. If you are presenting yourself as the lawyer who can handle the difficult cases then you will be able to get clients willing to pay a premium. There is a lot of good advice on this thread for your advertising strategy. In addition and probably before you advertise, you should do some introspection to see how you are presenting yourself.

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cranky (Dec 3, 2018 - 2:52 pm)

To the OP, you're doing the right thing networking with other attorneys and doing things with bar associations. Maybe one of the bar assocs. has a referral service you can join. You still might get lousy people and might have to agree to discount your consultation fees, but it's better than the phone not ringing at all. I get my best referrals from other attorneys who might be too busy to handle smaller cases, or other attorneys who don't do the same areas of law as I do. Networking in general, like BNI, meet-ups, religious/community organizations have not been a good use of my time; there are too many joe schmoes who will only think of you when they want free legal advice.

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nyclawyer (Dec 6, 2018 - 1:19 pm)

My bar association in NYC does have a referral program. But the requirements to get on are too difficult. I don't meet the minimum number of cases yet they want for specific areas. Thanks for telling me not to waste my time at BNI meetings. I had considered doing that as well but never applied.

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jdslug (Dec 3, 2018 - 5:21 pm)

I feel like that junky lawyer above who people think are nice and works for free. Referrals have been the best source for clients for me. My advantage over other lawyers is that I’m a contingency lawyer and I tell clients that there is no fee unless you collect. The free part registers real well.

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dingbat (Dec 3, 2018 - 9:51 pm)

I do the opposite. I’m up front about the fact that I’m expensive, but I’m worth it. Plus I mostly charge flat fees, so people don’t feel ripped off

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nyclawyer (Dec 6, 2018 - 1:23 pm)

I charge flat rates for some types of work such as filing corporations, trademarks, or home closings. One problem I find is that the clients will constantly call with all types of random questions and scenarios. Obviously, they don't do this when I bill by the hour.

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orgdonor (Dec 7, 2018 - 7:53 am)

One issue I would have with referring anything to you is that you do too many different things. If you only did immigration, for example, I could be confident my client would return to me for non-immigration work. But what if they decide you are cheaper or better? These are relationships - not contracted for service agreements. Why would I introduce my clients to you?

Likewise, why would a client call you, specifically, if you're doing all of those things? What's most troubling about your business plan is that you're in corporate work, real estate, litigation and a kind of administrative law (immigration).

What does the real estate agent think if she finds out you're doing lit? Will you be in court when she needs you to get an extension? And so on.

I think you need to focus on a brand.

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dingbat (Dec 7, 2018 - 8:43 am)

This, a thousand times. When I refer clients, I’m putting my reputation on the line, so I want to make sure they’re getting the best. And, I put hard work into getting clients, I don’t want them stolen.


If your main feature is that you’re cheap, you’ll only get my problem clients. The ones who can’t afford to pay (and usually are most demanding) or the ones who would be too much of a headache for me to ever deal with.

If you’re positioning yourself as a sh-tlawyet, you’re only gonna get sh-tclients

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nyclawyer (Dec 7, 2018 - 3:29 pm)

I wouldn't expect a competitor to refer business. It would have to be a lawyer who does a totally different area like criminal law or family law. Or one who was from a different jurisdiction or had a conflict of interest.

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nyclawyer (Dec 8, 2018 - 10:14 pm)

My brand is that I'm mostly going after business clients. All of my practice areas fall under the umbrella of handling the many needs of a business. Even immigration is related as many immigrants open businesses or companies hire immigrants.

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orgdonor (Dec 10, 2018 - 9:40 pm)

That's a difficult business to establish. I'm not surprised it's hard to find the clients you're seeking.

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jeffm (Dec 10, 2018 - 11:34 pm)

Not really. Businesses are everywhere. The beauty of having them as clients is that you don't need too many before you have a steady stream of work.

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dingbat (Dec 11, 2018 - 10:10 am)

this a thousand times.
I'm about to take a case that's not really my area of expertise at a rate far below my usual as a way in with a group of businesses because I know it'll be a steady stream down the line.


Basically, one guy here owns multiple businesses; he wants to sue someone, but his normal litigator (a solo) is too busy. I've presented myself as someone who ordinarily prevents such disputes, so I've been asked to do all the legwork. For me, it'll be an interesting challenge and learning experience, as I ordinarily stay far away from litigation. But more importantly, going forward mr. business owner will learn the value of having me prevent this kind of sh-t from happening in the first place, and will therefore pay me accordingly.

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jeffm (Dec 11, 2018 - 10:27 am)

Good luck with that. Use extra caution starting out in litigation. A savvy opponent can shred a newbie sometimes. It would be good for you to have a veteran litigator you can at least consult.

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dingbat (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:12 am)

I've told the client I don't do litigation. I will merely be doing the leg work, and his regular litigator will take care of the rest.

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jeffm (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:17 am)

Good. It's a real good way to learn some litigation if you're inclined. I would highly recommend it. It will make you that much more versatile.

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dingbat (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:14 am)

I've told the client I don't do litigation. I will merely be doing the leg work, and his regular litigator will take care of the rest.

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nyclawyer (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:49 am)

This is my goal, to obtain business clients that will produce a steady stream of work. It hasn't happened so far. I've had a few major business litigation clients. However, one of them sold his business and the other clients are based outside my jurisdiction and don't have much litigation in my state.

I've worked with restaurant owners and medical professionals (not doctors, but others like opticians). Other than the occasional help with a commercial lease, it doesn't produce a steady stream of work.

I find business litigation clients to be among the best. I can generate a lot of revenue from that.

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jeffm (Dec 11, 2018 - 12:23 pm)

"Other than the occasional help with a commercial lease, it doesn't produce a steady stream of work."

It takes time. Some clients will need you more than others. They will also refer you to their friends and business associates.

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dingbat (Dec 7, 2018 - 8:39 am)

It’s a balancing act. I tend to charge quite a lot, because I know I’ll be peppered with all kind of questions. If I was charging a flat $399 for something simple, i’d limit the questioning a lot more

Unlimited questions are for high flyers, not cheapo’s

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jmoney (Dec 7, 2018 - 6:25 pm)

No flat fees here. Hourly rate or contingency if I think I can get 6 figures or more in recovery.

GOB - good ol boys. That's how you get clients that get more clients. Figure out what your local GOB situation is and get in there ASAP.

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nyclawyer (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:50 am)

What types of business clients generate a steady stream of work? I want to focus on finding those.

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jeffm (Dec 11, 2018 - 12:25 pm)

All kinds. I got my start as a solo building up a clientele mostly consisting of businesses in the construction industry - from contractors, to subcontractors, to materials suppliers, etc. Construction is a hotbed for litigation, and lawyers are needed all the time.

Consider car dealers - another big one. RV dealers.

I looked for people who were likely to need litigation or collections.

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jd4hire (Dec 11, 2018 - 1:06 pm)

If you are friends with some insurance brokers that can help. Insureds who have SIRs likely have a say in defense counsel whether it be med-mal, construction (bonds and surety), worker's compensation or large general liability policies. They also can help plug you in for speaking engagements with their insureds - hot to avoid X, what to do when you receive notice, etc. When you provide a good presentation, some of your audience may be facing that very issue.

Another group - get in good with the claims adjusters. They have CPCU societies and you can give presentations for them. As they progress sin their career, they often have say in who makes the cut for a carriers staff counsel. If you can land a carrier (dependent upon the size and the amount of claims they have in your jurisdiction), you could fund an office on one carrier alone (of course that's a terrible idea because if and when you lose that client, you're hosed).

I switched to plaintiff work and I don't have to worry about generating business as we are flush with referrals. It is sooooo nice not to deal with business development for a while. Our results bring the cases.

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harryslopes (Dec 11, 2018 - 8:29 pm)

Hey there.
NYC lawyer too with a marketing background.
Might have some interesting perspectives on this.
Absolutely nothing to sell, just strategies that I have personally used.
What is the best way to get in touch if interested?
Can I share an email address here?

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nyclawyer (Dec 12, 2018 - 9:49 am)

OK. Post your throwaway e-mail here and I will e-mail you. Thanks.

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jmoney (Dec 11, 2018 - 11:14 pm)

Good Ol' Boys

That and nothing else in most jdxs.

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nyclawyer (Dec 12, 2018 - 9:48 am)

I agree, but not so easy to pull off in New York City.

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guyingorillasuit (Dec 12, 2018 - 2:56 am)

If you're in a big city, you have to specialize to make any money at all. That's just my take on it.

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