Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 4: Finding and Choosing Clients
After descending into some self-indulgent office supply nerdery in the last episode, Ben and Annie get back to the bu$ine$$ of starting a law firm. The foundation of every firm is the clients it serves. So, Annie and Ben attempt to answer some important questions that every start-up attorney must answer: How do I find potential clients? How do I help potential clients find me? Once we've found each other, how do I know whether to take a case? Under what conditions will I take the case? How do I get paid? Topics include: attorney advertising, "networking", social media, attorney websites (and attorney non-websites), fee arrangements, invoicing, and retainer agreements.
How to Find Clients
Annie is reading Get Clients Now, a 28-day program by CJ Hayden
Ben and Annie recommend a number of different ways of "networking" and being known in the legal and non-legal communities. Ben has done some presentations about foreclosure for the Kentucky Bar Association with support from the Network Center for Community Change in Louisville, Kentucky.
Joining and contributing your time and talent to relevant organizations is a good idea. Ben is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), the Kentucky Justice Association and remains engaged with Legal Aid Society (his former employer (not the one that fired him)) and other public interest attorneys in Kentucky. Annie is a member of both the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Unmentioned in the podcast itself but worth mentioning here is that before you go about finding clients, you might want to think about what kind of clients you want, what kind of work you want to do, and under what conditions you are willing to do that work. For help with these questions, Ben recommends without reservation, Back to Work by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. You might start with Episode #5: Chigger Bites on the Bus Driver.
Follow Up (FU)
Chase Bank has a Health Savings Account. Solo or small firm practitioners with high-deductible health plans should look into this (or other Health Savings Accounts) as an option to set-aside pre-tax dollars for health-related expenses. The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) is a good resource for this kind of thing.
Turns out: there's a whole podcast about pens and paper on the mighty 5by5 podcast network. It's called The Pen Addict. Don't miss the most recent episode with Bryan Bedell of Field Notes and a related interview with Jim Coudal, founder of Field Notes.
Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.
Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.
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