Business Development for Lawyers: How to Stand Out with Ethical Law Firm Marketing

Business development for lawyers is the process of bringing in more clients and growing your practice. However, your business development plan must conform to the law firm marketing ethics in your jurisdiction.

What Is the Purpose of Ethical Law Firm Marketing?

The purpose of ethical law firm marketing, aside from the obvious of being in compliance with the bar, is establishing your presence as a lawyer that people can trust. This means that you don’t focus your business development on the fears of your clients. While you may address issues that create fear for them, you don’t capitalize on it. You’ve seen the commercials and read web pages that scare people into calling them. Those lawyers may or may not be in violation of the ethical rules related to law firm marketing in your jurisdiction, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best way to become a trusted provider of legal representation.

Of course, creating a calmer initial contact experience with potential clients doesn’t mean that you’re meek and mild when you’re working on their behalf. You still remain aggressive and zealous in your legal advocacy. We are simply promoting business development for lawyers as a way for you to become a resource for your market.

Ethical Law Firm Marketing Tips

Standing out from other lawyers is an obvious suggestion, but how can you actually do it? Also, how can you make sure that this method of business development for lawyers helps grow your practice? Here are three ethical law firm marketing tips you can use.

Don’t be shy about how you’re different. First, check out the websites of some of the lawyers in your jurisdiction who practice in your area. Read their home page and check out the pages related to their main practice areas. What do you read on those pages that highlights how they may be playing on the fears of potential clients? For example, if you’re in tax law, you may notice that a lawyer in your area mentions on their site that failure to pay taxes is a criminal act. So, you could change this to something that still gets the point across without scaring potential clients into thinking they’re going to jail if they don’t hide in a cave for the rest of their lives. You could say something like “Even if you haven’t filed your taxes for years, we can help. The Law Office of John Doe is here to help and we won’t judge you or treat you like a criminal.” A little bit of empathy can go a long way.

Rely on client testimonials. It’s one thing to sing your own praises. If you want a truly powerful business development strategy, rely on client testimonials. Ask your clients if you can use their comments about your practice on your website. Setup an account on Avvo, LinkedIn, Yelp, and claim your business on Google. Ask your clients to leave reviews. Phrases that mention your empathy, kindness, and non-judgmental attitude can convince others to contact your law office. If asking for reviews makes you uncomfortable, use a tool like Get Five Stars to help.

Stand out just as much in person. Standing out is easier to do online than it is when you’re talking to other lawyers. Because you’re setting yourself apart from them, they may not want much to do with you at the next bar meeting or cocktail party. That’s simply the price you pay for setting the bar higher for your own practice.

Finally, remember to stand out in the delivery of your legal services, too.

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