Have you ever asked yourself or your clients why they hired you rather than the many other good lawyers they could have chosen?
I had not given it too much thought until a lawyer I coached asked me.
What are the top 2 reasons you think that clients sought you out and retained you . . . . :
a) During the first 1-10 years you began practicing law?
b) During the years following year 10?
c) And during the final years you were actively practicing law?
In the beginning clients found me and hired me because I started specializing and took the time to learn things that less specialized lawyers did not know.
For example, each State Department of Transportation has what is called The Standard Specifications for construction. They are contained in a book (you can get them on line now). I remember one of my very first clients said:
Cordell you are the first lawyer who we do not have to explain the Standard Specifications to. We resent being charged by others for something they should already know.
So, having done my homework was at least one reason. I also got hired because I wrote a law review article and made sure all my potential clients received a copy.
After 10 years clients hired me because I was writing and speaking all over the country. I wrote a monthly column for Roads and Bridges magazine.
I also created content in booklets, Guides and Workshops. I even created a video. So, I had became more visible and more credible to a greater number of “weak ties” who recommended me.
I believe clients also hired me during that time period because I had built relationships. My friends were my clients and my clients were my friends. Finally, clients hired because I got results and got them quickly.
Even though you only asked for two reasons, there was an important third reason. After 10 years I knew a great deal about the the transportation construction business. I gained this knowledge by reading books, engineering journals and magazines.
In the last few years of my practice, I worked for fewer clients who sent more work. Over years I had achieved favorable results for those clients and became friends with the client representatives.
I also spent a great deal of non-billable time with my best clients teaching and acting as a trusted advisor. The few new clients who hired me did so because they believed (right or wrong) that I was the number one lawyer they needed to help them. In some cases, out of state clients recommended me to their local law firms. So, I acted as the subject matter expert.
Are you in your first 10 years, second, or near the end of your career. Have you thought about why clients are hiring you? What can you learn and apply from my experience?