Law Firm Marketing Strategy: Lawyers Are Good People Too
Here’s an interesting story told to me by my firend Max:
Danny is a lawyer and he and I have been friends since grammar school.
He never intended to be a law firm marketing guru but the way he has built his practice has shown me that an attorney can develop new business in his own unique style.
We’ve experienced many of life’s ups and downs together and have literally arrived at maturity simultaneously. When it came to choosing a career back in high school we both had our sights set on becoming attorneys. For a while we thought we’d like to open our own legal practice together but it wasn’t long before we decided that wasn’t a good idea. The reason is, I’ve wanted to pursue a career as a criminal trial lawyer and Danny wanted to devote his energy to a more compassionate endeavor.
Still, we attended college together and were admitted to the same law school where we remained fast friends and fervent study buddies. When it came time to prepare for the bar exam we devised a really cool review system and were constantly quizzing each other. The informal study partnership paid off big as we both passed the bar on the first try. In keeping with my own goals, I landed a job as a public defender almost immediately after passing the bar. Danny got hooked up with a consumer advocacy group and did a lot of pro bono work in his first job as an attorney.
As we became more absorbed in our own careers we sort of drifted apart – not completely – but it was clear to both of us that it was now time to actually walk the walk and mature into competent attorneys. Even so, we did stay in fairly close contact as our careers blossomed.
Danny was never exactly certain as to what he wanted to do once he became an attorney. He used to say that he’d offer his services to people in need and that Providence would point the rest of the way. Well, it seems that’s exactly what has developed.
Danny has ended up with one of the fastest growing law practices in the state. And it happened almost by accident.
In the first year after passing the bar Danny found himself doing a lot of legal work for nursing home patients. As a volunteer for several advocacy groups devoted to allowing senior citizens to live with dignity and pride, Danny found that he enjoyed going to bat for people who had almost literally fallen through the cracks in our social system. Danny received national notice when he exposed a nursing home that was operating illegally and worse yet, negligently. After identifying a high incidence of accidents at one particular nursing home, Danny arranged for an elderly friend of his to be admitted to the facility in a sort of undercover mission. And the plan revealed many instances of neglect and abuse which ultimately resulted in the nursing home to lose its license to operate.
With the attention he received around this achievement Danny was offered several positions in private law firms. One of the offers was almost too good to be true. The senior partner from a well-established firm in town approached Danny and offered him a partnership in the firm. But that was just the beginning. The firm wanted to develop a division solely devoted to senior advocacy law. The partners in this firm were well aware that Danny was the regional go-to guy when it came to advocacy for senior citizens and they wanted him to develop this division within their firm. Danny accepted the offer.
One of the reasons Danny was chosen as a partner is that he’d made many influential contacts as a freelance advocate for the elderly. When I heard that he’d been offered the partnership I wondered if he’d be happy working for a large firm or if he’d want to continue the bootstrapping solo attorney act. I was both touched and honored when Danny called and asked that we get together to discuss his options.
When we talked I was actually surprised to learn how Danny felt about the offer and how he might fit into the firm. He was all for it. I somehow thought that he enjoyed being the underdog advocate. That wasn’t the case at all. Danny explained that his primary goal was to help the elderly with any legal matters they might need. But he immediately added that he eventually expected to be well compensated for the help he offered. He said that it comes down to offering excellent service and relief to those in need in exchange for earning a good living from his efforts. He also said that had been his ultimate goal from the beginning.
Danny told me he realized that there were many attorneys out there acting as advocates for certain groups only for selfish reasons, mainly, to secure clients along with power and influence. The distinction between such mercenary motivation and what he’d been doing was what was in his heart, which was truly wanting to help. But having made that distinction he went on to say that he didn’t choose a career in law to end up a pauper.
He explained that from the beginning he’d set out to systematically become known as a friend to seniors and then capitalize on it. I teased him saying that it was he who sounded a bit mercenary. He smiled and said that it might appear so but because his heart was in the right place and that so many had been helped or in some cases literally saved, that he wasn’t at all mercenary but a true advocate. Knowing Danny as I do, I really must agree.
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