GPSolo Magazine - April/May 2005
The Chair’s Corner
Collecting Clients, Connecting Skills
Lawyers are inveterate collectors of, well, “stuff,” in the words of comedian George Carlin. We collect cases, secrets, evidence, bills, books, baseball trading cards, and even Erte sculptures. We spend half our lives building those collections and half deciding what to do with them—reordering, reorganizing, shedding, and shifting them around.
Even if you’ve decided to become one of those minimalist, clutter-free people living a monkish existence on Walden Pond, disdaining all material trappings, and devoting your life to the purest pursuit of the law, you still need to collect your thoughts, build a constellation of friends, maybe pick up a client or two, and get the work out if you plan to practice law. Simply thinking about the law doesn’t pay the rent or buy food.
Probably the biggest question posed by lawyers setting out on the prairie of private practice in a solo or small firm setting is, “Where do I find clients?” This question is followed immediately by, “How do I keep those clients once I find them?” It matters not whether the lawyer is fresh out of law school or transitioning from a large firm, government practice, or corporate setting. Even the lawyer who is lucky enough to embark upon practice with a book of clients knows that sooner or later the client stable will need nurturing and replenishment. The lifeblood of a lawyer’s practice is more than his or her time or even talent—it’s the stream of clients.
“If you build it, they will come” may work well for a baseball field, but a lawyer who simply sits there expecting that clients will come knocking usually waits a very long time. A diploma, a license to practice, and the smartest legal mind since Benjamin Cardozo and Clarence Darrow won’t bring in clients—unless its owner takes some affirmative steps to make the fame, talent, and acumen known. Call it rainmaking, call it advertising, call it marketing, or call it tooting your own horn, it’s a matter of bringing in clients, and we all need to collect clients to survive in a law practice.
In its series of practice-building books, GP|Solo does the heavy lifting for you, leaving you time to concentrate upon the real business of practicing law. Its newest book, How to Capture and Keep Clients: Marketing Strategies for Lawyers , is a collection of the best and the brightest solo and small firm lawyers’ tried-and-true approaches to that age-old conundrum of getting business and keeping clients. Slated for release in June, this book will be the essential tool in your law firm arsenal. If you would like to place an advance order, please contact Jill Nuppenau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we are talking about GP|Solo, have you seen the new home page at www.abanet.org/genpractice? There are sections specially designed for law students, diversity members, new lawyers, and the military. It’s the best collection about general, solo, and small firm practice that you’ll find anywhere. And a brand-new newsletter, The Buzz, features the best assortment of information about meetings, leadership, and scoop that can’t be found anywhere else. These are just some of the many things brought to you by the untiring efforts of the Section’s support staff, which has made GP|Solo’s presence stronger than ever, not only among our members but in the ABA as a whole.
And of course, in terms of collections, there exists no more marvelous a collection of lawyers than those on Team GP|Solo.