Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

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jtabustos
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Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby jtabustos » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:15 pm

I've been very curious about this. I know that in many cases small law requires strong business skills - sometimes more so than lawyering skills from what people say here - and that you need to be able to attract and maintain a client base in order to have continued business.

One thing about my background is that I am part Asian Pacific Islander American (what a mouthful!) and am curious if there are models for small law legal success that rely on ethnic/racial niches. It's not so much that I would want to exclude non-APIA's in my clientele base (if I were to actually go small law), but instead I'm trying to think of it as a strategic market.

I know in CA I have seen one commercial/ad for a Chinatown area immigration lawyer. I can't remember her name, but I've seen the woman in commercials a few times. But I'm not sure how successful she is. And I wonder if that type of marketing ultimately limits or pigeonholes you too much for future expansion?

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nickb285
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby nickb285 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:58 pm

I think the biggest area where it will help you is immigration--kinda obvious, but still. I would suspect you might also get a boost if you're doing things like family law (people tend to trust those who look like them when it comes to personal matters). Outside of those, though, I'd suspect that your biggest racial/ethnic boosts are going to come from networking opportunities (whether through student organizations or community stuff or whatever).

That said, I'm a honky 0L so I could be talking out of my ass.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:10 pm

nickb285 wrote:I think the biggest area where it will help you is immigration--kinda obvious, but still. I would suspect you might also get a boost if you're doing things like family law (people tend to trust those who look like them when it comes to personal matters). Outside of those, though, I'd suspect that your biggest racial/ethnic boosts are going to come from networking opportunities (whether through student organizations or community stuff or whatever).

That said, I'm a honky 0L so I could be talking out of my ass.


Nah, you are right. Immigration has a ton load of minorities in it. I want to do either immigration or plaintiff side employment law. I am hoping my fluency in Spanish bumps me way beyond most people enough to get me a job. The best part about immigration law is that most people (like the ones you find on TLS) don't care to practice it (they consider it "shit law"). So, I imagine T-14 + foreign language + minority + not as much competition = golden chance at immigration law. Some immigration law firms do pay pretty well.
Last edited by bizzybone1313 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stillwater
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby stillwater » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:15 pm

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Last edited by stillwater on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:26 pm

stillwater wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:
nickb285 wrote:I think the biggest area where it will help you is immigration--kinda obvious, but still. I would suspect you might also get a boost if you're doing things like family law (people tend to trust those who look like them when it comes to personal matters). Outside of those, though, I'd suspect that your biggest racial/ethnic boosts are going to come from networking opportunities (whether through student organizations or community stuff or whatever).

That said, I'm a honky 0L so I could be talking out of my ass.


Nah, you are right. Immigration has a ton load of minorities in it. I want to do either immigration or plaintiff side employment law. I am hoping my fluency in Spanish bumps me way beyond most people enough to get me a job. The best part about immigration law is that most people (like the ones you find on TLS) don't care to practice it (they consider it "shit law"). So, I imagine T-14 + foreign language + minority = golden chance at immigration law. Some immigration law firms do pay pretty well.


shitlaw looms bro


Fragomen bro. http://www.fragomen.com/. To the best of my knowledge, they pay about $120K. And there are other law firms out there similar to this one that aren't really considered Big Law and pay well. Or maybe I am just living in a big fantasy land and will be doomed to do "shit law" my whole life.

This ain't shit law. My goal is to get this mythical mid-law job ya'll guys say doesn't exist. In fact, I don't need a six figure job. Anything after about $70K and I will be OK and be able to take care of myself financially. I wouldn't take a $50K job over Big Law though.

utlaw2007
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:28 am

jtabustos wrote:I've been very curious about this. I know that in many cases small law requires strong business skills - sometimes more so than lawyering skills from what people say here - and that you need to be able to attract and maintain a client base in order to have continued business.

One thing about my background is that I am part Asian Pacific Islander American (what a mouthful!) and am curious if there are models for small law legal success that rely on ethnic/racial niches. It's not so much that I would want to exclude non-APIA's in my clientele base (if I were to actually go small law), but instead I'm trying to think of it as a strategic market.

I know in CA I have seen one commercial/ad for a Chinatown area immigration lawyer. I can't remember her name, but I've seen the woman in commercials a few times. But I'm not sure how successful she is. And I wonder if that type of marketing ultimately limits or pigeonholes you too much for future expansion?


Criminal law is another area of law that has a heavy concentration of minorities.

As to your advertising question. I think airing a commercial or billboard targeting minority clients is suicide if you still want to be able to attract non minority clients. You still want to target advertise to those groups if you feel that is an advantage, but you don't want to do that target marketing on such a large scale with a billboard or commercial. Billboards are incredibly tacky. Commercials aren't much better, but they are sometimes a necessary evil. But there is no way you will be able to afford a commercial or even a billboard anyway. Most of those guys that have commercials are millionaires. So you need to find another way of advertising to these groups.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Wed May 01, 2013 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: Are There Ethnic/Racial Niches for Small Law?

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:37 am

But you're not looking at the big picture properly. It's not like minorities can't perform the same tasks that non minorities can. You need to think how you can provide legal services to different groups of people. There may be things that certain minority groups do at a fairly significant rate that are no different than what non minority people do. Why wouldn't those minorities need legal services?

I can't tell you how you should market yourself and what practice areas you should adopt because those are trade secrets. I have laid out a general blueprint for those things on other threads. Just search my name on this board and copy and paste those things to save for a much later date. But that is the best small firm business advice you are going to get concerning the legal industry.




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