Go to events that good prospects will attend, whether or not they would otherwise interest you. You are, for example, more likely to encounter the general counsel of a major corporation at a meeting of a trade association than at a model-railroad club.
Networking groups tempt lawyers who are uncomfortable promoting themselves because everyone in the group comes there to market. That, of course, is also the downside: you may meet mostly people who want referrals from you and are unable to reciprocate.
Most of the people you already know you met through someone else. Who are those someone elses? Whom do you know who can introduce you to good prospects? Browsing through your address book will remind you how you met the people you know and stimulate your thinking on how to meet others. If a friend knows a lawyer in a firm that does not practice your specialty, ask your friend to invite that lawyer to your next lunch. In matters with complex financial issues, you will meet your clients’ accountants in due course. Working with them, you’ll develop a potential referral source. Seize the opportunity to get to know them and earn their trust. In cases where you do not come in contact with your clients’ accountants, ask for an introduction.
Consider joining an accountants’ association or study group. Ask your own accountant about such groups and whether they have associate memberships for non-accountants. Attending their functions not only will help you do a better job on business-related matters, but your presence will impress the accountants you meet with your awareness of accounting issues. So when they have clients to refer, they will think of you.
For more tips, check out our article “Marketing Your Law Practice: Meeting New Prospects.”