It’s not often that solo and small firm lawyers get a mention at Above the Law, a terrific site that focuses primarily on biglaw and celebrity lawyer gossip. So I was disappointed to see that when solos finally do get a shout out, it’s to this list of marketing tips that makes us look like a bunch of simpletons and has more than one commenter chuckling about the advice.
A couple of points. First, the list of marketing tips was compiled as a quick, off the cuff collaborative effort on the ABA’s solo and small firm listserve, Solosez. The list tops 2000 members and increases in size all the time, with newbies joining and asking the same advice over and over. One purpose of the list was to just throw a bunch of ideas at new members to get them started. Moreover, many of the ideas on the list do work for solos – and have been applied by large firms as well. The much maligned “nylon briefcase idea” (the tip is to pass one to clients to hold documents so they can keep track of their cases) is used by large firms in another form: think extranet. So too is offering to serve as a source for local reporters (I can’t tell you how many emails that I get at Legal Blogwatch from law firms’ PR agents offering attorneys for interviews on this topic or that.)
But more important, solos have always lead the way on marketing – the profession tends to forget that we have always been the innovators. Who pioneered the idea of contingency fees (that many large firms are now using for select cases)? Solos. Who fought all the way up to the Supreme Court for the right to advertise – which large firms once frowned upon, but now embrace? Solos. And with all the talk about blogging, guess which firms are actually, really and truly attracting clients from blogs? Solos.
I’ve been leveraging technology to market my practice for more than ten years, when I uploaded a self-coded website to the Internet. I keep up to date on trends, and on Wednesday, I’ll be participating in this ALM sponsored webinar on using user generated content tools to attract clients with Kevin O’Keefe of Lexblog and Mark Britton of Avvo. And even though I’m just a solo, the ideas that I’ll be discussing will help lawyers at any size firm leverage this new technology to their advantage.