How Lisa Determined Her Perfect Niche for Her Virtual Law Office
I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful woman lawyer who recently ditched her in house position for a Fortune 500 corporation to start her own virtual law office. Let’s call her Lisa. Lisa is building a unique virtual law practice to help businesses comply with a variety of regulations. During her years in house, she gained an incredible amount of experience and really knows her stuff. She has expertise in labor and employment law, environmental regulations, state and municipal regulations, contract negotiation, retail litigation, and more. She is very confident about her abilities to serve both large and medium sized companies with their regulatory and compliance needs.
With that type of experience Lisa should have no problem building a successful, profitable practice fairly quickly, right? Wrong. While Lisa has been able to attract a few clients, she has not been able to attract a steady stream of the type of clients she truly enjoys working with. And here’s why:
When you focus on multiple practice areas for multiple types of people or businesses, your potential clients aren’t absolutely clear that you can solve their problem. By trying to serve so many people, you water down your message and your expertise, and therefore, lose clients to other lawyers who are being crystal clear about who they serve and what they do.
In this competitive legal environment, you have to have your own marketable niche that only you offer. You have to speak directly to the people you want to serve. You need to know what keeps them up at night and show them that you can solve that problem in all of your marketing messages.
This is the core of your practice: You must offer absolute clarity that you are the solution to one particular problem for one particular set of clients. That’s what a niche is. If you don’t nail this, you will continue to struggle to bring in clients and constantly be chasing clients instead of clients chasing you.
Here are 3 simple ways you can begin to hone in on your perfect clients and the problem you can solve for them:
1. Determine the Structure of Your Practice. If you want to be able to spend several months per year in Fiji or work at night instead of during the day, then you should build your practice around whatever your lifestyle goals are. That means choosing a niche and clientele that you can serve well within that structure.
2. Use the Double-Narrow Rule to Choose a Niche. The Double-Narrow Rule is a technique I came up with to help lawyers hone in on a marketable niche for their practice. Here’s how it works.
First you chose a practice area of interest, let’s go with intellectual property. Well, intellectual property is a broad area of law and you will have many established competitors in your state who you’ll have to compete with for business. So let’s narrow that down a bit. How about focusing specifically on copyright law? Okay, not bad. But you’ll still be competing with lots of copyright lawyers, just not as many as when you tried to do intellectual property as a whole. So let’s narrow that down one more time. How about handling copyright matters for bloggers? That is a lot more specific and you’ll have a lot less competition.
3. Determine What Keeps Your Clients Up at Night. Honing in on what your potential clients are struggling with is vital to the success of your practice. Doing this well can mean the difference between barely getting by as you slowly build up your practice over several years or getting an immediate response from a specific clientele that is ecstatic to discover your firm. In order to do this, you have to put yourself in your clients shoes and it also may require some good ‘ol fashioned market research.
Wondering what we came up with for Lisa? We determined that Lisa wanted to work with businesses that had modern business policies and understood the affects of global warming. With that knowledge and through sorting through the type of work she enjoyed the most, we chose a particular type of midsize business in a specific type of industry and geographic area. Once we did this, we were quickly able to develop the right marketing language and techniques as well as service packages to attract those types of clients.
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