July 01, 2016

Defining Moments: Insights into the Lawyer's Soul

Melanie Bragg

Summer Thoughts About Making the Most of Your Marketing Moments

Summer is upon us! The Fourth of July came and went and we are into the hottest months now. Things are more relaxed. We can catch our breath before another school year starts and the country careens toward the holidays.

 

The summer is a good time to prioritize our legal marketing activities and think about what we are doing on a daily basis to promote our law practices and achieve the goals we have set for the year. We are at the halfway mark now. This is a good time to reflect and integrate something new.

There are many new ways to market legal services. Social media is one important avenue. An Avvo or Findlaw profile with plenty of reviews and peer endorsements is another. If you are recognized as a Super Lawyer or some other such local distinction that is another great way to market. Keeping your LinkedIn profile current with compelling copy that emphasizes what you do best should be a priority.

The process of marketing our firms is organic and ongoing. There are lots of moments when we have a chance to put our best foot forward and not only market ourselves as a lawyer but to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Never forget that chance encounter with a stranger could be much more—it could lead to you giving someone needed advice, you getting a new lead on case referrals, or to you getting an answer to a question you have had on your mind for some time. You never know—the frazzled lawyer you decide to help who squeezes into the elevator at the last minute with a file about to fall out of his briefcase could be the one to refer you a big case the very next week.

Each day holds a multitude of opportunities to capture a marketing moment and meet someone with the potential for new, mutually beneficial business.

Sometimes we go through our days with intense purpose and we are too focused to think outside the parameters of the task at hand. Or we are in a hurry to leave court and get back to the office to work. When you get in that zone, you often miss great opportunities to market and make new connections. Opportunities to be of service to someone can also be missed. 

Have you ever had that nagging sense that you are supposed to go to an event, even if you don’t feel like it?

When I feel that resistance to going, I often go anyway and am usually very happy to have made the effort. Often the smallest of marketing efforts can net big results. Several years ago at the courthouse I had a chance encounter with a couple. The husband is a lawyer and the wife has been his office manager for many years. They were involved in a property damage case in the same court. We knew each other and had mediated together in the past. I offered to help them settle the case. It was a chance encounter and did not cross my mind again.

Fast forward a couple of years and right about the time I needed a new, interesting case—they called and hired me right before a jury trial on the issue of attorney’s fees. Their lawyer needed co-counsel to help with trial prep and questioning on direct. We won the trial and it was a great experience. I firmly believe the opportunity happened because I took the time that day to stop, listen, and offer my services.

In fact, this kind of thing happens so often it has become a practice for me to introduce myself in the elevator at the courthouse, especially to young lawyers. It’s great to get to know young people. It feels good to expand my network and to get to know more of my colleagues.

When you step up and take the initiative, people are appreciative. It sets you apart as a leader and as the go-to person for your area of law. Always have plenty of business cards handy. Think of what you are going to “give” rather than what you can “get.” Ultimately, it is good for you to hold out your hand for the handshake. It puts people at ease and gives them the confidence to respond.

This summer, look for the opportunities all around you to expand your business. There is nothing wrong with paying for advertising services like Avvo and Findlaw to help you get more PNCs (Potential New Clients) in this new world of lawyer marketing. It’s a great step to hire a coach to teach you how to run your practice “like a business” who will hold you accountable.

Don’t forget—you are your best marketing activity when you expand your level of consciousness of the world around you and recognize and capture the opportunities that abound in your environment.

Enjoy the summer. Have a great vacation. Live your best life every moment. Step outside your comfort zone and help a stranger. You never know what great things besides personal satisfaction might come your way. Please share your thoughts or comments at Melanie@bragglawpc.com.

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Melanie Bragg

Melanie Bragg has long enjoyed a reputation as one of Houston’s fiercest attorneys in her representation of children, the elderly, and mentally disadvantaged people. Her firm, Bragg Law PC, is a general civil firm in Houston, Texas. She also writes and produces legal education programs through Legal Insight, Inc. (founded by Bragg in 1993). Her writing credits include Crosstown Park, an Alex Stockton legal thriller, HIPAA for the General Practitioner, chapters in How to Capture and Keep Clients, 2nd Edition; Effortless Marketing: Putting Your Unique Qualities to Work, 2nd Edition; and The Conscious Lawyer: How the Practice of Mindfulness Will Increase Your Bottom Line, as well as the upcoming book, Defining Moments: Insights into The Lawyer’s Soul, to be published by the American Bar Association (ABA) Flagship Division. When she is not writing, Melanie devotes her time to her work as Secretary of the Solo, Small Firm & General Practice (GP SOLO) Division and to sharing ideas with fellow authors. She is interested in your feedback and ideas about how solos, small firms, military, and government lawyers can lead richer, happier lives and thereby improve the delivery of legal services to the public. Melanie can be reached at Melanie@bragglawpc.com.