Making Your Practice Work - 10 Surefire Ways

Practice Development: 10 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Firm’s Business Generation

By Ira H. Leesfield
Leesfield Scolaro
2350 South Dixie Highway
Miami, Florida 33133
(305) 854-4900
e-mail: leesfield@leesfield.com
Internet: www.leesfield.com

Rule 4-1.4 Communication.

(a) Informing Client of Status of Representation. A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

Rule 4-1.1 Competence

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Rule 4-1.3 Diligence

A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Outline

The challenges to building a successful law practice have never been greater. Legislative enactments, lawyer competition and aggressive marketing strategies have forced even the most conservative practitioner to thinking in new terms about practice development. The following suggestions incorporate “old fashion” business building principles with innovative, state of the art, marketing tools and concepts.

Whether you utilize all of these suggestions, none of them, or improvise your own marketing strategy, it remains axiomatic that no practice can survive without building and expanding your firm’s reputation. So, please consider the following tested sure fire practice tips which have worked for our firm over the past 28 years:

I. It’s all about clients:

Your clients will always be your best source of future business. Your satisfied clients will spread the word in their communities of friends, work and social activity, so please remember,

  1. Keep an accurate client list and database.
  2. Stay in touch with your clients frequently.
  3. Return telephone calls promptly.
  4. Let your clients know you care and remember them.
  5. There is no case too small. . .
II. Networking.
  1. If you don’t have a business card. . . use a napkin.
  2. Networking electronically.
  3. Networking on the web. www.leesfield.com
  4. Networking by mail, newsletters and client correspondence.
  5. Networking through speeches and writing.
  6. Networking through family and friends.
  7. Networking with strangers.
III. Building and maintaining a reputation for results.
  1. Nothing succeeds like success.
  2. Do what you do best.
  3. Courthouse and Courtroom work – Appearances in Court and Trial.
  4. How to handle the press.
  5. Journals, periodicals, magazines, newsletters, case reporters.

ABA
Florida Bar
AFTL
ATLA
Monroe County Bar Association
Dade County Bar Association
Florida Association of Women Lawyers
Matrimonial Bar
Specialty Bar Periodicals

IV. Building a web page
  1. Get help from the experts.
  2. Accuracy and updating.
  3. Representation of your firm’s work, philosophy and results.
  4. Do’s and don’t’s of building a powerful web page.
  5. Make it clear, concise and user friendly.
  6. Employ a search engine.
V. Building your practice by being available
  1. Available by phone, in the office or away from the office.
  2. Use and abuse of e-mail.
  3. Availability in the community.
  4. Memberships and organizations that matter to you.
  5. Participation in community events.
  6. Sponsorships, charitable and civic work.
VI. How your staff feeds into a successful practice
  1. Have an airtight system in your office which allows you to be contacted at all times.
  2. Hire people who are professional, dedicated, proud and who care about you and your clients.
  3. Incentivize and compliment your staff to help build your practice.
  4. Hold staff meetings to discuss cases and office policy.
  5. Chain of Command.
VII. Your lecture circuit
  1. Speaking to legal groups.
  2. Speaking to civil groups.
  3. Writing articles for various periodicals, legal and non-legal.
  4. Spreading the word, locally, statewide and nationally.
  5. Writing a column.
  6. Involvement in civic, church/synagogue and educational groups.
VIII. Creating your newsletter
  1. Make it different.
  2. Make it important.
  3. Make it interesting.
  4. Make it valuable to the reader.
  5. Make it a publication the reader will keep.
VIX. Maintaining contact with lawyers and clients throughout the year
  1. Telephone calls, letters and events, gatherings, parties
  2. Send out announcements of firm changes
  3. Invitations to events, seminars, announcements. (“Apples & Oranges”.)
  4. Hosting and attending events.
X. Always, always, always return your telephone calls
  1. Maintaining a callback list and have your legal assistant do the same.
  2. Decline business courteously by telephone and mail.
  3. Turndown letters should be sent certified.
  4. Bring clients to your office.
  5. Invest a little time
  6. Make sure clients and co-counsel in your community know that you are interested in working with them.

The above ten suggestions will help build your practice, but remember, building is an ongoing process and the tides shift quickly.