Your college and law-school classmates are excellent potential clients and referral sources. Your common experience of having attended the same school at the same time makes it easier to approach classmates, even those you have not yet met. All colleges and law schools have alumni activities, newsletters, and databases. If you don’t have access to a complete list, you can compile one from memory or from your yearbook. With fellow alumni, as with everyone else, evaluate your prospects. A business lawyer in your city is a better referral source than an English teacher in a small town a thousand miles away.
When planning your continuing legal education, plan to take some courses in person. Taking courses online or by tape or CD saves time but isolates you. If, on the other hand, you actually attend the course, you can meet at least two new people—one on each side of you. They will be impressed that you take an interest in the issues that concern them. Attending CLE events in a neighboring county allows you to meet lawyers in your specialty who do not practice in your county.
Speak at seminars. At all seminars where you speak, talk to the people in the audience before and after your panel and during breaks. Find out about them. Because you are a speaker, your audience will assume you are an expert on the subject of your presentation. And it’s not just hype; if you are not an expert before the seminar, you’ll be one by the time you prepare and present it. Speak on panels with other professionals such as accountants and appraisers and get to know your fellow panelists.
During your presentation, offer to send the audience something extra—an article, a summary of a new case, anything of value. Ask those interested to give you their cards after your presentation.
Speaking at seminars sponsored by others offers at least two advantages. The sponsor who chooses you to speak vouches for your expertise. And someone else handles the logistics for you. Encourage the sponsor to send the flyer to as many people as possible, including those on your mailing list.
Seminars that you organize yourself demand more work, but the extra work may be worth it. You control who is invited and the subjects you cover. You are more visible. Your own seminars do not have to be grandiose; you can do something as simple as lunch in your conference room.
For more tips, check out our article “Marketing Your Law Practice: Meeting New Prospects.”