Anonymous User wrote:
armenazo wrote:How does your boss go about bringing in business? Referrals? Targeted advertising? Word of mouth?
Think you could do some of that to justify her paying you a higher wage? Why/why not?
We are currently revamping our whole approach to our website and SEO. We run a yellow pages ad. We are also involved in collaborative divorce groups, take court appointed work/mediations, and swap referrals with other lawyers in town outside of our practice area.
To be frank with you, however, my boss is not the most popular attorney in town. She is socially awkward and not in step with the prevailing political attitudes in the area. She is a transplant from the north and is not very good at or interested in hobnobbing. Word of mouth is word of mouth and it's not really in our control, but that is the way we get most clients. Yellow pages would be second.
I am involved in marketing efforts, blogging, trying to establish personal connections within the community, etcetera. But I have only been here since september and that kind of thing takes time. I contribute ideas regarding our website and things like that, but we're putting the SEO efforts into the hands of professionals. I would love to be able to bring in new business at will, but it's a time-consuming process and it can't happen overnight, especially for a young attorney 3.5 years out of law school. I am trying to build some community ties here though through volunteer work and I am considering the mason lodge. Taking court appointed work also helps to get your face and name out there, but the best quality clients come from other satisfied clients, so I really believe that the best marketing a lawyer can do is to do great work for clients, treat them fairly, make sure that they feel like they are a high priority (even if they are not), and show them respect. So I try to do that. Marketing and learning how to drum up new business is something I am interested in learning and getting good at, but truth be told I don't think my boss is very good at it. Almost all marketing also costs money. When you don't control the purse strings, it's a bit difficult to take over marketing efforts as an associate.
As an aside: SEO professionals are full of shit. They're just going to recommend you guys purchase Google Ad Words and maintain a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and blog in your free time. All of that stuff is important, but it's only used by clients to establish your legitimacy, and see you have an online footprint, not to bring in business.
I'd recommend that you compile a list of family law firms with 2-10 attorneys that are within 50 miles of your area. Put their firm names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses into an Excel spreadsheet. Begin the process of calling every partner on your list. When talking to them, mention that your firm offers a referral fee. After you discuss the specifics of the referral fee, advertise your firm, your (and your boss') educational accolades, professional accolades, and significant jury results. Squeeze this all into 15 seconds as that is all the time you will be given. Practice your pitch for days, as all it takes is one time to make a bad impression. In reality, you will probably have less than a 1% success rate.
For the people who don't outright reject the idea, ask them what their e-mail address is. After the phone conversation, send them an e-mail containing a more comprehensive summarization of what you discussed. Create a nice looking e-mail signature, with your firm's fancy fonts/styles, that will have hyperlinks to your website, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.
Schmooze, kiss ass, and recognize that the work you're performing in these marketing sessions is probably more important than anything else you will do in your day. While good work product is important, plenty of small firms have gone out of business that put out the finest paperwork. Additionally, putting out truly "great" work product takes time - time that your clients will be suspicious of paying when they receive your firm's bill. Make a comprehensive form directory that you will use for any generic complaint/motion/discovery item.
Remember: market, market, market. Your situation sucks, but small law can be profitable. If you start bringing in cases, your boss may take you on as a partner, or one of your referral firms will as well.
Hope this helps. I used to work at a very prosperous small firm with only two attorneys, that made roughly $2,000,000 every year. One of the partners who followed this advice I'm giving you used to be the associate for his current partner.