I spent a career identifying my clients’ problems, offering a solution and giving it away. Lawyers I coach now ask:

  1. Weren’t you afraid that clients would just accept your free stuff and not hire you?
  2. Weren’t you afraid other lawyers would “steal” your stuff?

Short answer to both questions:


I am sure some clients used the free stuff and never hired me. I am sure today that some lawyers and law firms use the free stuff I provide and never hire me.

But, I created it in each case to demonstrate I understand my clients business and their issues. And, I hope I helped those who used my materials.

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A few years ago there was a big debate about Chris Anderson’s book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price.

I never read the book, but I found his book The Long Tail interesting and I blogged about one of his main points.

After Anderson wrote Free, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a review in the New Yorker criticizing the book.

Then, Seth Godin blogged: “Malcolm is Wrong.”

Godin suggested that “free” is a way to get attention in a crowded market at the beginning and that in a digital economy with many players and low barriers of entry, cost will go down.

Godin also distinguished between commodities and what people are willing to pay for. “

People will pay for content if it is so unique they can’t get it anywhere else, so fast they benefit from getting it before anyone else, or so related to their tribe that paying for it brings them closer to other people. We’ll always be willing to pay for souvenirs of news, as well, things to go on a shelf or badges of honor to share.

What does all this mean for lawyers?

As I said above, I attracted new clients by identifying their problems, offering a solution and giving it away.

  • I wrote a monthly column for Roads and Bridges magazine
  • I spoke at industry meetings’
  • I created guides and gave them away.

My strategy was to give things away to demonstrate I was the “go to” lawyer for my narrow market of transportation construction contractors. It worked for me and I believe it will work for you, especially if you are the first lawyer to identify the problem and offer a solution.