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DogDay Afternoons for Your Law Practice

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photo (65)350If you know me from my social media circles, then you know that my heart belongs to my sweet, deaf sheepie Francesca (or SanFran-cesca as I’ve taken to calling her after several west coast trips last winter).  Best dog ever, SanFrancesca kept me company under my desk during the years that I worked from home, always offering a furry shoulder to cry on or cheering me just by her enthusiasm for the most mundane routines, like our daily walks or a belly rub.

Now, nearing ten years old, SanFran is showing signs of age; she has difficulty standing for long periods and experiences bouts of incontinence (because Francesca came from a puppy mill, she sadly suffers many ailments like  deafness, hip dysplasia and arthritis that are exacerbated by in-breeding)  As a result, though she tries hard to please, Francesca can no longer withstand the rigors of grooming – and most grooming shops now refuse to service my girl because she can’t stand on the table or wets while she’s waiting for pick up. Fortunately, we discovered that one groomer offers Senior Sundays – a special date set aside to accommodate older dogs.  Groomers take the dogs in more quickly so they don’t have to spend time in the pen, and don’t schedule as many appointments so that they can give the older dogs breaks.  There’s a small premium for Senior Sundays but it’s worth the added cost to ensure that my sweet SanFran gets the special care and grooming she needs.

So naturally, I got to thinking about how this kind of dog day afternoon concept might work for a law practice — setting aside a day each week or month in your practice to serve a particular client niche without otherwise diluting your brand, changing pricing structure or committing to permanent changes firm practices across the board. For example, if you’re an attorney who represents younger clients, you may find that many of them either bring young children to the office (which can be distracting) or cancel at the last minute due to childcare concerns. In response, you might set aside two days a month as a Kid-Friendly Consult Day – where you offer child care or entertainment for young children so that you can meet their parents uninterrupted.  You could sponsor free consultation days or small business advisory sessions or even days that clients can bring their dogs to the office.

Sponsoring subject specific days offer several benefits. First, subject specific office days offer a way to experiment with a niche practice  without committing to all of the costs. You may not want to set up a website targeted towards women business owners or veterans without at least testing the waters – and subject-specific day allows you to do so. If your subject specific days don’t attract any interest, you can simply stop offering them.  On the flip side, you can also use subject specific dates to expand your target market. You may discover, for example, that you enjoy working with women or  Boomers and may decide to dedicate a portion of your practice to meeting their needs.

Second, by confining certain services to specific dates, you avoid diluting your brand or discounting your prices across the board. Let’s say, for example, that you’d like to make your legal services accessible to a broader sector but you don’t want to run a volume business or cheapen your offerings, Instead of discounting your prices across the board, you could have a DIY Day once a month where you review and troubleshoot client-generated agreements or LegalZoom contracts for a flat fee. In that way, you can help clients who can’t pay your customary fees without appearing desperate or downgrading the value of your bread-and-butter service.

Third, subject specific dates provide a non-threatening way to gain referral business from other law firms.  While most firms would never send existing clients or prospects to an event sponsored by a competing law firm, they might be willing to let clients know about Free Consult or DIY days to offload clients that are too small to serve.

Have you ever thought about a subject specific day? Is it a dog of an idea, or something that will make you pup-ular with clients (paws for those puns!) What do you think?

  • Megan Hunt Dell

    I’ve considered setting one day a week that I stay late or come in early to accommodate prospects and clients with 9-to-5 jobs, but haven’t had enough demand to actually do it yet.

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