Potential clients have a lot of choice now when it comes to choosing a lawyer. So, how can solo lawyers stand out? In this post, we’re going to look at 5 ways that you can use legal ethics to stand out and make a better (and perhaps more profitable) career as a solo lawyer.
Consider What Others Aren’t Doing Well in Your Space
Have you ever heard of something one of your competitors is said to do (or not do) and it just made your skin crawl? There may not be much you can do about other lawyers (whether they are solo lawyers or practicing in a large law office) who act in a way that is simply unbecoming. One of the most common examples is fear mongering. It’s not necessarily a legal ethics violation, but it’s also certainly not nice. It’s one of the reasons why the public tends to carry a certain level of disdain for the legal profession.
Poor legal ethics can happen in any space. If you know that a lawyer is violating legal ethics in your jurisdiction, you can report them. In many states, it is mandatory for you to do so. If you don’t, you could be committing a violation. Yet, it’s really not common for solo lawyers to know first-hand that their competitors are doing something unethical. Instead, they hear stories…and you can’t really report someone simply based on rumors.
Realize That Differentiation Can Help Grow Your Practice
You can take the rumors and the substantiated facts that you know about and use them to differentiate how you run your law practice. As a solo lawyer, this is important. Instead of capitalizing on fear to get as much money as possible from a client in your space, you can position yourself to be a trusted expert that provides honest and helpful information. You can collect fees based on both your needs and the needs of the client.
We all want and expect ethical, fair behavior from our doctors and our dentists. Should lawyers really be an exception? Think about the reasons why someone may suggest that you go and see their doctor or dentist. The reasons generally center around how they had a concern and how the staff (including the professional) listened to them, educated them, and helped them understand the ramifications of their decision…or whether their problem would resolve with little or no intervention. When you begin to implement the skills that you see lacking in other solo lawyers, you’ll have a happier client base. They will tell their friends, family, and work colleagues about you.
Tell Your Audience That You’re Different
What is the message that your competitors tell their audience? Look at their homepages. Are they capitalizing on fear? How will a potential client feel walking in there? Think about how you can tell your potential audience what you do in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad because they need your services. Sure, failing to pay taxes is a crime, but do you really need to allude to the fact that your potential client is a criminal?
Your audience should certainly be made aware of the potential consequences, but they shouldn’t be judged or feel like they’re being judged by the person who is supposed to help them.
Let Client Testimonials Do the Talking for You
Avvo, LinkedIn, Yelp, Facebook, and Google are just a few of the social media sites where people may leave reviews for solo lawyers. And client testimonials are powerful. If it makes you uncomfortable to ask for testimonials, you can use a tool like Get Five Stars to help.
Also, it’s possible that someone will leave you a review that’s less than stellar. You do not have to respond to every negative review that’s left. It’s important to have a strategy in place to help you handle inaccurate reviews.
Proudly Stand Out
You’ll have to take action and be vocal about how you stand out. Don’t be a follower. Be a leader in your industry. You may have to pay a price if other lawyers don’t like the way you do business. That’s just part of life. Continue to move forward and always look after the best interests of your clients!