From the Multnomah Lawyer: Ask the Expert - What Can I Do to Market Myself?

Dear Expert,
I am a new attorney working at my first job at a small firm. Other attorneys in the firm have referred a few cases to me and we do some marketing. However, I would like to bring in more clients on my own. What are some things I can personally do to market myself at little or no cost?
-Wanting Clients
Dear Wanting Clients,
In law school, you spent a lot of time learning how to conduct legal research and write a proper legal memorandum, but very few new attorneys learned much, if anything, about how to market themselves as attorneys, which is an important part of practicing law if you want to be successful. While other attorneys in your firm can refer cases to you and help you with some marketing, there are many things you can personally do to get your name out there. I like to break marketing up into two categories: online marketing and in-person marketing.

The internet is how many people find attorneys these days, so it is important that you have a strong online presence. When you are thinking of going to a new restaurant, you probably like to read customer reviews online. The same is true for potential clients searching for an attorney. There are many websites that have attorney reviews. If you have a positive experience with a client, you can ask them if they would be willing to post an online review when their case is complete. The more positive reviews you obtain, the more you will stand out to a potential client searching online.

If your firm does not already have an online blog or newsletter, talk to the other attorneys in your office and see if this is something they would be interested in doing. Blogs and newsletters are a great way to not only get your name out there, but to show off your knowledge. Oftentimes, when people have a legal problem, they search for answers online. If you can create a blog that addresses many of the questions that your clients have, potential clients searching the internet will see you as an expert in the area and will appreciate the answers you have provided.

While the internet is a great way to market yourself and attract clients, it is also important to make in-person connections. A great first step is to get involved in your local bar association. Other attorneys can be a great referral source because they often get asked for referrals by clients, friends, and family members. When you meet another attorney, make sure to give them a business card, tell them about your area of practice, and let them know you would appreciate any referrals.
Also, consider your practice area and how to reach potential clients. For example, if you do elder law, is there a local senior center that would allow you to do a free presentation? If you do family law, is there a local divorce group that you could address? Think of groups that would be most likely to need your legal services and find ways to speak to those groups.

Lastly, get involved in a local organization that you feel passionate about. I know being a new lawyer can be demanding and it’s not always easy to find time to volunteer; however, getting involved in your community is a wonderful way to meet others and make personal connections in your community. Oftentimes, these personal connections can lead to referrals. Also, volunteer work is a great way to stay sane while still practicing law!

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