My Shingle

Can Small Fry Catch Big Clients? That’s My Shingle’s Raison d’Etre

by Carolyn Elefant on July 31, 2006 · 2 comments

in Big Law/Small Law, Marketing Lessons, Solo Practice Trends

Print Friendly

Over at What About Clients?, Dan Hull wonders whether a  how to marketing seminar on how small firms can snag big clients would catch on?  Of course, Hull knows the answer to that.  He writes:

GCs are now smarter
and bolder. Smaller firms can and do land and serve top clients. At top
rates, too. It’s about service, not price. No point not getting rich
just because you start a new, smaller and more client-centric firm.
Keep your high rate; savor your lower overhead, if you can achieve one.
You deserve it. So a serious course on getting (okay, stealing) and
keeping high-end clients (Fortune 500 companies and large
Asian and European companies) might actually fly.

The one place where I take issue with Dan’s idea is his proposed title
- “Stealing and Keeping Biglaw Clients.”  I don’t think solos need to
antagonize large firms, because there are situations where large firms
may refer solos and small firms lucrative clients.

I was particularly gratified to see Dan’s post because making solos realize that we can compete with the big boys has
been one of the driving forces behind MyShingle.  As I wrote here over three years ago, I hoped that MyShingle would address a huge gap in the “starting a law firm” genre of books and articles:

Moreover, much of the information available on-line about
solo and small firm practice is geared primarily towards starting,
operating and marketing a traditional general practice law firm. Few
resources exist for lawyers who start non-conventional small firm or
boutique or corporate practices which directly compete with large firms.

In fact, the more I blog about solo practice, the more I come to
realize that it’s the preference of the ABA, and to a lesser extent the
legal trade media, to keep solo practice “small time.” Yet there are
solos and small firms who are competing with biglaw everyday, whom we
never hear about – and that the biglaw dominated ABA would prefer to
keep under wraps.

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

    This may come as a surprise to any solos who have been searching for info on how to compete effectively against larger firms. . . At least one great resource already exists that addresses this subject: MINE!
    I have several solo clients who are already winning big when going after the same clients as larger firms in their market.
    And here’s a tip from my How To Market A Small Law Firm audio cd that can help any solo reading this, who wants to learn how to get alot of high-quality work from the same clients big firms are after:
    FREE SAMPLE
    Instead of competing against a large firm for big client, team-up with them. That’s right…all over the country, solos with unique specialties are learning how to go to market WITH their big firm competitors to offer prospective clients the best of both worlds in a true win-win scenario.
    NOT JUST FOR LITIGATORS
    And don’t think this approach has to be limited to litigators either. I once worked with a solo whose speciality is representing national franchisors. He teamed-up very effectively with a 50 lawyer firm that did’t have anyone with deep franchise expertise, but they did have experience and depth in several other practice areas that were important to the prospective client.
    Long story short, together they signed-on a lucrative new client that neither could have gotten alone. And we beat-out several much-larger firms in the process.
    You don’t have to wait around for larger firms to come knocking on your door. When you learn some of the Rainmaking skills they never taught us in law school, you’ll find that alot more larger firms than you may expect, are far more receptive than you might imagine when a varierty of solos in different practice areas initiate contact. If done right, this can be a potentially HUGE source of business in most markets and in almost every practice area.
    GETTING THE BUSINESS AND KEEPING IT
    As far as my Rainmaking clients & I are concerned, our financial & professional goal is to win BIG and keep winning big by keeping the client happy, not to make the large firms lose. Fact of the matter is that in many situations, solos really cannot service all of the needs of a big company with multi-state operations, all by our lonesome. And trying to assemble a team of similarly situated solos is a great idea in theory, but experience has proven it’s much harder than you might expect.
    But once you understand Big Firm/Small Firm Economics 101 & take the time to learn some of the Rainmaking skills, systems & techniques the big firms have learned, but which you probably never heard about in law school, you too can have the best of both worlds.
    Respectfully,
    RJON ROBINS
    http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com
    Helping Lawyers In Small Law Firms Make ALOT More Money!
    Note to Mr. Hull, I don’t know if your question was a rhetorical one, but I’ve already taught a similar program in the past & will be hosting a series of teleseminars on the topic in either last quarter ’06 or first quarter ’07 depending on guest availability. Though we’ve gone with a less agressive title in the past, we may have to reconsider ;-)

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

    This may come as a surprise to any solos who have been searching for info on how to compete effectively against larger firms. . . At least one great resource already exists that addresses this subject: MINE!
    I have several solo clients who are already winning big when going after the same clients as larger firms in their market.
    And here’s a tip from my How To Market A Small Law Firm audio cd that can help any solo reading this, who wants to learn how to get alot of high-quality work from the same clients big firms are after:
    FREE SAMPLE
    Instead of competing against a large firm for big client, team-up with them. That’s right…all over the country, solos with unique specialties are learning how to go to market WITH their big firm competitors to offer prospective clients the best of both worlds in a true win-win scenario.
    NOT JUST FOR LITIGATORS
    And don’t think this approach has to be limited to litigators either. I once worked with a solo whose speciality is representing national franchisors. He teamed-up very effectively with a 50 lawyer firm that did’t have anyone with deep franchise expertise, but they did have experience and depth in several other practice areas that were important to the prospective client.
    Long story short, together they signed-on a lucrative new client that neither could have gotten alone. And we beat-out several much-larger firms in the process.
    You don’t have to wait around for larger firms to come knocking on your door. When you learn some of the Rainmaking skills they never taught us in law school, you’ll find that alot more larger firms than you may expect, are far more receptive than you might imagine when a varierty of solos in different practice areas initiate contact. If done right, this can be a potentially HUGE source of business in most markets and in almost every practice area.
    GETTING THE BUSINESS AND KEEPING IT
    As far as my Rainmaking clients & I are concerned, our financial & professional goal is to win BIG and keep winning big by keeping the client happy, not to make the large firms lose. Fact of the matter is that in many situations, solos really cannot service all of the needs of a big company with multi-state operations, all by our lonesome. And trying to assemble a team of similarly situated solos is a great idea in theory, but experience has proven it’s much harder than you might expect.
    But once you understand Big Firm/Small Firm Economics 101 & take the time to learn some of the Rainmaking skills, systems & techniques the big firms have learned, but which you probably never heard about in law school, you too can have the best of both worlds.
    Respectfully,
    RJON ROBINS
    http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com
    Helping Lawyers In Small Law Firms Make ALOT More Money!
    Note to Mr. Hull, I don’t know if your question was a rhetorical one, but I’ve already taught a similar program in the past & will be hosting a series of teleseminars on the topic in either last quarter ’06 or first quarter ’07 depending on guest availability. Though we’ve gone with a less agressive title in the past, we may have to reconsider ;-)

Previous post:

Next post: