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More on Why Niches Are Delicious

by Carolyn Elefant on January 19, 2006 · 8 comments

in Business Models, Growing Your Practice, Practice Areas

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As I pointed out in this earlier post, finding a niche can help grow your practice.  And, as Tom Kane pointed out months ago (don’t know how I missed it), a niche can help a solo survive in the big city.  And now, there’s yet another article, Finding a Niche (Jan. 2006) that describes how lawyers with niche litigation practices in specific localities are beating biglaw firms big time for big clients.  (see also this earlier post).  Here’s Larry Bodine’s money quote from the article:

You do have to target,” he says. “That’s the difference. You never used to have to do that. Nobody wants a generalist. A generalist is nothing to nobody. Everybody wants an expert. Stick to a niche. Be an inch wide and a mile deep, and then you will get all the business that’s related to the niche.

I still don’t think it’s wise to put all your eggs in one basket, and to focus on a niche to the exclusion of all practice areas.  Based on nothing but my own personal experience, I’d advise a 70-30 or 80-20 split, with the larger portion of your work devoted to the niche.  A diverse practice portfolio will protect you if one of those areas takes a downturn and also ensures that you won’t get bored with so deep a focus on one particular practice area.   Plus, a niche can help subsidize other areas of practice that you may want to explore but aren’t yet profitable.

  • Imke

    I’ve heard a lot about the niche marketing for lawyers. But somehow it always seems to be limited to litigation of some sort. Does it work for transactional lawyering?

  • Imke

    I’ve heard a lot about the niche marketing for lawyers. But somehow it always seems to be limited to litigation of some sort. Does it work for transactional lawyering?

  • http://www.legalmarketingblog.com/marketing-tips-305-more-on-niche-marketing.html Legal Marketing Blog

    More On Niche Marketing

    Carolyn Elefant has an excellent point in her latest posting on niche practices. She and I have both written on the subject before. And her post of last Monday on

  • http://www.legalmarketingblog.com/marketing-tips-305-more-on-niche-marketing.html Legal Marketing Blog

    More On Niche Marketing

    Carolyn Elefant has an excellent point in her latest posting on niche practices. She and I have both written on the subject before. And her post of last Monday on

  • http://www.rainmakerbestpractices.com/blog/ Patrick McEvoy

    As professionals we all suffer from the “do it once and we’re done syndrome.”
    It’s the same with niche marketing. We assume that once we own a niche, we’re ready for semi-retirement.
    The formula should really be:
    1. Pick a niche.
    2. Dominate the niche by going deep.
    3. Autopilot the niche.
    4. Repeat 1-3 in another complimentary niche.
    It’s just human nature to get lazy once we have some success.
    Patrick McEvoy
    President
    Rainmaker Best Practices
    http://www.rainmakerbestpractices.com/blog/

  • http://www.rainmakerbestpractices.com/blog/ Patrick McEvoy

    As professionals we all suffer from the “do it once and we’re done syndrome.”
    It’s the same with niche marketing. We assume that once we own a niche, we’re ready for semi-retirement.
    The formula should really be:
    1. Pick a niche.
    2. Dominate the niche by going deep.
    3. Autopilot the niche.
    4. Repeat 1-3 in another complimentary niche.
    It’s just human nature to get lazy once we have some success.
    Patrick McEvoy
    President
    Rainmaker Best Practices
    http://www.rainmakerbestpractices.com/blog/

  • http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com RJON@HowToMakeItRain.com

    Mistake # 2 from my Free Report 10 Rainmaking Mistakes Solo Practitioners Make
    FAIL TO PACKAGE THEMSELVES CORRECTLY. A service that is for “anyone at all” usually ends up speaking powerfully to no-one. The tighter the definition of your market, the easier it will be to target and reach the decision-makers within that group. There are two ways to approach this: You can Package Yourself for the target market or you can Package Your Service. Ideally, both.
    PACKAGING YOURSELF – Like it or not, people generally have an often-unconscious preference to do business with people like themselves. Political Correctness aside, that’s just the way it is. A client of mine is a young black woman. That’s three different “groups” she has packaged herself to appeal to, with great success: Young entrepreneurs, other black professionals, & women business owners. If you are a member of any kind of minority group and you can find Prospective Clients or Referral Sources amongt other members of that group, I’d encourage you to head in that direction for the lowest-hanging fruit.
    PACKAGING YOUR SERVICE – Pick a niche practice area to become well-known for & go deep. For this bias, I don’t even need to make any apologies for being Politically Incorrect. Every single one of us would seek out a Dentist for a toothache and a Podiatrist if our foot hurt. Guess, what? Your Prospective New Clients and Potential Referral Sources do the same thing! The heyday of the “General Practitioner” is behind us. Our world is far more complex than the one Atticus Finch practiced in. Compared to the G.P.’s from just 20 years ago, today’s G.P.’s look like specialists. Narrowing your practice area to just one or two complimentary practice areas allows you & your staff to develop operational efficiencies and gives Potential Referral Sources more confidence to refer all of those types of cases to you.
    IN RESPONSE TO “IMKE”
    …who asks “Does it [finding a niche] work for transactional lawyering?” My answer, based on having been a non-litigaor solo practioner with a niche practice, and having help literally thousands of lawyers make alot of money from their small law firms: YES! YES! YES!
    In fact, I bet you already have a niche. My experience before law school was with relatively small family-owed businesses; My niche was helping restructure & protect Owners’ equity of troubled multi-location family-owned businesses in the $5M range. No-one could compete with me because I had such deep technical experience and SOMETHING ELSE hardly any other lawyer could offer prospective clients: Personal empathy from having been there/done that.
    What’s your unique experience? What do you like to do enough to focus on it & go deep into it? That’s your niche; Now own it!

  • http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com RJON@HowToMakeItRain.com

    Mistake # 2 from my Free Report 10 Rainmaking Mistakes Solo Practitioners Make
    FAIL TO PACKAGE THEMSELVES CORRECTLY. A service that is for “anyone at all” usually ends up speaking powerfully to no-one. The tighter the definition of your market, the easier it will be to target and reach the decision-makers within that group. There are two ways to approach this: You can Package Yourself for the target market or you can Package Your Service. Ideally, both.
    PACKAGING YOURSELF – Like it or not, people generally have an often-unconscious preference to do business with people like themselves. Political Correctness aside, that’s just the way it is. A client of mine is a young black woman. That’s three different “groups” she has packaged herself to appeal to, with great success: Young entrepreneurs, other black professionals, & women business owners. If you are a member of any kind of minority group and you can find Prospective Clients or Referral Sources amongt other members of that group, I’d encourage you to head in that direction for the lowest-hanging fruit.
    PACKAGING YOUR SERVICE – Pick a niche practice area to become well-known for & go deep. For this bias, I don’t even need to make any apologies for being Politically Incorrect. Every single one of us would seek out a Dentist for a toothache and a Podiatrist if our foot hurt. Guess, what? Your Prospective New Clients and Potential Referral Sources do the same thing! The heyday of the “General Practitioner” is behind us. Our world is far more complex than the one Atticus Finch practiced in. Compared to the G.P.’s from just 20 years ago, today’s G.P.’s look like specialists. Narrowing your practice area to just one or two complimentary practice areas allows you & your staff to develop operational efficiencies and gives Potential Referral Sources more confidence to refer all of those types of cases to you.
    IN RESPONSE TO “IMKE”
    …who asks “Does it [finding a niche] work for transactional lawyering?” My answer, based on having been a non-litigaor solo practioner with a niche practice, and having help literally thousands of lawyers make alot of money from their small law firms: YES! YES! YES!
    In fact, I bet you already have a niche. My experience before law school was with relatively small family-owed businesses; My niche was helping restructure & protect Owners’ equity of troubled multi-location family-owned businesses in the $5M range. No-one could compete with me because I had such deep technical experience and SOMETHING ELSE hardly any other lawyer could offer prospective clients: Personal empathy from having been there/done that.
    What’s your unique experience? What do you like to do enough to focus on it & go deep into it? That’s your niche; Now own it!

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