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Congratulations! You are adding a new legal practice area to your law firm! If you are considering expanding your law firm to include a new practice area, you are in a better position than you would be if you were starting from scratch. You already have an established client base and marketing plan. Law Quill can help you leverage your existing resources to help make a new legal practice area a success.
Reasons Lawyers Start New Practice Areas
There are several reasons why lawyers may expand their practice into new areas, including:
Sometimes, a change in the economy may motivate a lawyer to switch up practice areas. For example, the mortgage delinquency rate rose to 53% during the housing crisis in the 2000s, according to TransUnion. By the end of 2009, more than 3.9 million foreclosure notices were issued to homeowners. The economic downturn increased the need for foreclosure and bankruptcy lawyers. Adding new practice areas can help recession-proof your business.
Opportunity to Expand Services to Existing Clients
You may have noticed that your existing clients may be able to benefit from a complementary practice area. There may be a market for additional services for your client base that you can take advantage of. Selling new services to existing clients may be more economical than trying to find new clients.
You may have started your legal career in one field, based on what job opportunities were available at the time, but you may not be passionate about that field any longer. After you have established yourself as a lawyer in the community, you may have reached the point in your career where you can pursue your personal passions through your work. You might find another practice area is more interesting and enjoyable.
More Lucrative Options
Sometimes expanding practice areas makes financial sense. You might be referring clients out to other lawyers who service other practice areas. By incorporating the practice area into your own firm, you can keep these client dollars yourself. Likewise, you may notice that other practice areas may allow for a higher billable rate or provide more overall compensation than other practice areas you are currently servicing.
Lawyers are susceptible to burnout, sometimes at higher rates than other professionals. According to Bloomberg Law’s 2021 Lawyer Satisfaction survey, 52% of surveyed attorneys reported feeling burnout 52% of the time. Attorneys also grappled with a decline in well-being. If you are not happy in your current practice area, working in a new area may help you avoid burnout or negativity.
Effective Steps to Market a New Practice Area
Law Quill can help you devise a new marketing plan to help you make your new practice area a success. You might consider taking these steps if you are marketing a new practice area:
Consider Your Existing Structure
Because you are expanding your existing practice and not creating a new firm, you can take advantage of your existing structure. Consider your existing strategies and what has worked in the past. Think about how your existing marketing plan can be adapted to match your new targeted audience. You may be able to benefit from strategies related to your website, social media, networking, and advertising.
You can also evaluate what competitors in the practice area are doing, as well as gaps in their marketing plan.
Create a Marketing Campaign
Create a marketing campaign for each practice area you want to expand to. This marketing campaign should involve targeted audiences and messaging. This marketing campaign may consist of printed materials, online content, and other information, including:
- Educational materials that discuss the problems potential clients are facing and the solutions you can provide to them
- A summary of the services you plan to provide
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- A list of your competitive advantages
- Biographical information about you, your education, and your experience
- Letters of recommendations or testimonials from clients
- Articles you have written, law review entries, and other publications that have featured you
Disseminate Your Marketing Campaign
Once you have a marketing campaign in place, you can begin distributing it through various channels, which may include:
- Your firm’s website
- News releases
- Direct mail
Strengthen Your Online Presence
Along with any print publications you use, you will want to strengthen the information you have on your website to incorporate your new practice area. This may include:
Creating a New Practice Area Page
Create a new landing page that focuses on the new practice area. You might consider adding the following features to the page:
- Relevant keywords
- Answers to frequently asked questions about the practice area
- An explanation for why you are qualified to handle these types of cases
- Plain language that lay readers can understand
- Internal links to other pages on your website
- A tone that is matched to the specific practice area
- Title tags and meta tags that reflect your new practice area
Update Your Google Business Profile
Update your Google Business profile to reflect your new practice area.
Update Your Social Media
Update your social media channels to reflect your new practice area, including:
Make New Videos
Add new videos to your website and YouTube channel where you discuss topics involving the new practice area.
Update Other Parts of Your Website
Your website should include the new practice area in other locations, including your About Us page, landing pages for similar practice areas, and your general practice area page.
Add Your Name to Legal Directories
Add a listing to legal directories about your new practice area. Because Google penalizes sites with duplicate information, make your listing more relevant by using a unique description of your practice area for each listing.
Create New Blog Entries
If you have an existing blog, add new pieces in which you discuss matters relevant to the new practice area. If you do not already have a blog, consider adding one. Blogs give you an opportunity to discuss relevant topics and regularly update your website so that Google recognizes you as an authority in the area.
Ask for Testimonials
Ask satisfied clients in your existing practice area to provide a review of your services. Potential clients will feel that you are more trustworthy when you have positive reviews. On the other hand, business listings with no reviews might be passed over.
Announce Your New Practice Area
Make an official announcement about your new practice area. You can send out an email to existing clients and people on your newsletter list. You can also create a blog post about the new practice area and/or a banner on the top of your homepage.
Network In Person
Now that you are entering a new practice area and have updated your online footprint regarding it, you can network in person. You can network to existing clients to whom you have provided complementary services. You can also network to the legal community, such as speaking at a CLE or conference for certain professionals. Attend practice-area specific events through your local bar association. You can also talk to other professionals in the industry, such as businesses if you are targeting an aspect of business law, realtors for real estate law, or doctors for disability law. Other lawyers in your new practice area may be able to give you tips, including details on opposing counsel or judges.
Ask for Referrals
As part of your networking efforts, you can ask other lawyers to refer clients to you that meet the new practice area. You could also consider entering into a reciprocal referral agreement in which you refer clients to them in exchange for them referring clients to you. Be aware of Rules of Professional Conduct regarding disclosure of such arrangements and your duties when referring clients to others.
Cross-Market Your Services
You can also cross-market your services within your own firm. For example, if another lawyer handles family law cases, they may refer clients to your real estate law practice if the clients are interested in purchasing a home after the divorce. You can also mention your new practice area to clients who mention they have another legal need than the one for which you have already provided services. If you recommend another attorney in your firm who handles a different practice area, that attorney might later return the favor.
Find a Mentor
A professional mentor may be able to provide additional insight into the specific practice area. A mentor can potentially give you advice about conducting business in the practice area. A trusted mentor can guide you through unique challenges you encounter.
Make your New Practice Area a Success with Law Quill
If you are considering entering a new practice area, let Law Quill assist you with developing a new marketing and SEO strategy. We can help develop a strategy that is designed for your particular practice area and situation. Consider scheduling a regular phone call or Zoom call at a time that is convenient for you or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.