AS A LAWYER, YOU WORK HARD. BUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS HARDLY WORKING.
-You invested in CLE to stay at the top of your game, but you’re losing prospective clients to less talented lawyers and online document prep companies;
-You lowered your rates to compete with the hundreds of other lawyers in your area, but now you can scarcely make ends meet;
-You automated and outsourced and invested in SEO like the experts said - which increased your caseload, but now you’ve got the added pressure of a volume practice and the need to constantly feed the beast.
-You settled on a practice area that you didn’t love but always paid the bills and 15 years in, your soul is empty, but you can’t afford to start a new specialty from scratch.
-You waited for nearly a decade for that the 70-something year partner to retire and pass on his clients to you - but he’s still holding on, and without your own book of business at your firm, you’re toast.
-You enjoy your law practice well enough but increasingly, you feel undervalued, overlooked and insignificant at your firm or in the broader legal community.
-You've had a successful run but now, you want to do work that matters and that will let you leave a lasting legacy.
As a practicing lawyer myself, I've been in your shoes.
After starting a law firm as a baby attorney, I struggled to compete for business against mega-firms of well-connected attorneys, each with decades of experience.
Despite relentless networking and cold calls, I couldn’t even get a lunch date with another lawyer, let alone a referral!
It wasn’t until a call from an eccentric inventor who had been a client from my former firm that I accidentally stumbled on a niche - in my case, ocean renewable energy. Within two years, I went from a nobody with no business and no returned phone calls to a sought-after national expert on ocean renewables law with clients all over the country and the world.
I attribute my transformation to the magic of a niche law practice. Or as I like to call it, the hocus, pocus of focus!
WHY NICHES ARE SO DELICIOUS
SET AND COLLECT HIGHER FEES: When you have a niche, clients have a greater appreciation for your value - so they’ll readily pay premium fees without haggling.
SLAY THE COMPETITION: Niche practices are a competition-killer. Because niches have a narrow focus, you can easily dominate the field, and because niches are so specialized, you won’t have to worry about online document providers or large law mills that can only offer generic services to the masses.
CAPTIVATE CLIENTS AND COLLEAGUES: Tired of being overlooked or ignored by other lawyers or prospective clients? With a niche, you're guaranteed to be the most interesting lawyer in any room.
EARN FREE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR ENTIRE PRACTICE: Even if your niche is just a small part of your law practice, you can use the interest and publicity that a niche naturally attracts to promote the other areas of your practice.
SHAPE THE LAW: Many niches evolve organically out of the gray areas that emerge in the wake of new policies or disruptive technology. A niche provides the opportunity that every lawyers dreams of: a chance to make precedent and leave a lasting legacy.
If you're ready to build a practice that will make you a legal super star, then it's time to step into:
An online course and mastermind group for creating a captivating niche legal practice that will attract quality clients as effortlessly as moths to a flame and make you stand out and shine.
Want to know how we'll get you from nothing to niche in ninety days? Check out the full course syllabus!
SPOTLIGHT: Course Syllabus
Starting Soon-Dates to Be Announced
Module 1: How to Fish for a Niche
In this unit, you'll learn everything you need to know to choose or evaluate a niche including:
What a niche is and what it isn't;
The 3 categories that every niche falls into, without exception: demographic, practice segment and method of delivery;
How to evaluate a niche using standard business assessment tools like SWOT Analysis and the 5 Cs.
Identifying your goals in creating a niche and and the ideal clients who you hope to attract.
Worksheet: DIY SWOT and 5 C's Niche Evaluation Tools.
Worksheet: The Ideal Client & the Niche.
MODULE 2: No Niche, No Problem!
If you're still searching for a niche or need some help refining your current ideas, this unit is chocked full of ideas and exercises for identifying - or even better, inventing a niche, including:
How to mine your past and current clients for insights and ideas on potential niche practices;
Look but don't poach: how to use other niche practices as inspiration - but understand when niching becomes poaching;
How to mine your past and current clients for niche ideas;
How to find and borrow niche ideas from other industries whose products and services you use everyday;
Why Google is your best friend when it comes to identifying and evaluating niches;
The mix and match or mash-up approach to finding a niche.
Worksheet: Mix 'n Match Niche - One from Column A, One from Column B.
SUPER BONUS! 41 Niches That Didn't Exist 15 Years Ago. This isn't just a list but a mini-bio, interviews and other resources to learn more about each of these unique niches!
MODULE 3: Mastering the Niche
Is your niche outside your current area of expertise? In this module, you'll learn the quickest way to get up to speed on your chosen niche.
And if you've created a new niche void of any established law, no worries. We'll take you through the process of practicing uninvented law.
MODULE 4: Niche & The Art of the Business Model
A niche is much more than a clever exercise in branding. To succeed, you'll need to identify an appropriate business model for your niche, and determine the role that your niche will play in relationship to your entire law practice. To help you make these decisions, we'll cover:
The Pareto Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) and the niche;
Three innovative business models well suited for a niche that you never thought of: the legal non-profit, the trade association, the alt-legal and the hybrid;
Worksheet: Finding the Right Business Model for Your Niche.
Bonus Materials: Cheatsheets for Setting Up a Legal NonProfit, Trade Association, Alt-Legal and Hybrid for Your Niche.
MODULE 5: Pitching the Niche
You've identified a niche - now, it's time to implement. That means marketing. There are so, so many interesting ways to market a niche - and we will cover all of them. Here's a sampling of what we'll cover:
Social media and niche practice go together like milk and cookies, beer and pretzels...you get the idea. That's because social media allows you to target an audience with laser precision. You'll learn about all the platforms - blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram - both organic uses and paid ad campaigns.
E-books are an incredibly effective way to market a niche practice - my own ebook on landowner impacts has accounted for six figures in revenue each year for the past six years. Law review articles involve more time - but they work too - that's how I launched my ocean energy practice.
All the rest - e-newsletters, podcasts, media and press, advertising and sponsorships, trade show attendance and speaking.
Why you shouldn't market your niche through someone else's CLE - and how to do it by creating your own!
Worksheet: Social Media Evaluator to pick the tools that work for you.
BONUS 1: How-To-Guide on DIY CLE - How to Market A Niche & Make $$s While Doing It
BONUS 2: Guide to Writing an E-Book: Sample outlines and templates for e-books to market the niche.
BONUS 3: Guide to Writing a Law Review Article on Your Niche: It's easier than you think!
MODULE 6: Growing the Niche
Has your niche taken off like wildfire - and now you want to grow it? We'll discuss options for finding the kind of specialized people and support systems that you need to expand.
MODULE 7: Niche & Legal Ethics
Not surprisingly, niches raise a variety of ethics concerns - all of which can be readily and easily addressed, so long as you know what they are up front. We'll cover issues such as trade names, the problems of "speciallawzation, conflicts, competency, confidentiality and trade names.
BONUS: Infrastructure & the Niche
Are you using practice management software products? Many of them are generic in nature - can they accommodate a niche? We've reached out to many of the top tech companies for their recommendations on how to use or adapt their products for your niche.
Are you ready to switch on SPOTLIGHT and ignite your practice with a standout niche practice?
Here's what you get when you sign up for SPOTLIGHT:
Seven modules, consisting of over seven hours of pre-recorded video classes that you can work through at your own pace;
Written summaries and slide decks for each module for participants who prefer reading to video;
Over a dozen worksheets, cheat-sheets, how-to guides and sample contracts and email templates;
Seven live sessions by conference call or FB live to address any questions;
A Facebook mastermind group where you can network with and support your classmates;
Individual feedback on your proposed niche and marketing plan if you register during the pre-sales period.
Many experts talk a good game about the value of niche practices. But I’ve actually created a niche legal practice. Multiple times.
My first niche focused on ocean renewable energy. That niche transformed me from a nobody baby attorney into a national expert on ocean renewables, with clients all over the country and the world. I testified on ocean renewables before three different Congressional committees and presented on it before numerous industry conferences as well as the Woods Hole Ocean Consortium, the National Academy of the Sciences and UNESCO. Eventually, I co-founded a national trade association for ocean renewables that with my guidance, established a regulatory framework for ocean renewables and delivered over 100 million dollars in federal funding to the industry.
My second and current niche in “pipelines and property,” - representation of landowners and communities impacted by natural gas pipelines and associated eminent domain proceedings - has involved me in more than 30 cases all over the country. I’ve even been courted by large law firms to help them apply the secrets of my successful landowner practice to help them attract gas companies as clients! The notoriety that I’ve generated from my two niche practices has landed me as one of only two small law firm lawyers on the Washington D.C. Energy and Environmental Superlawyers list since 2011.
In addition to my law practice, I’m an author, blogger and speaker and respected thought-leader on solo and small firm practice, legal entrepreneurship and the future of law. My MyShingle.com, still going strong after 14 years, attracts 40,000 readers/month and was included in the ABA Journal’s first class of admitted to the Blawger Hall of Fame. In 2011, I was recognized by the ABA as a Legal Rebel. In 2014, I appeared on the Daily Show providing expert commentary on the niche practice of representing gun owners on self-defense claims. I created SPOTLIGHT to share what I've learned both from starting and running my own successful niche law practices and from tracking industry trends and niches for over 14 years.