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February 26, 2024 3 minutes to read ∙ 700 words

Getting Cases as a Small Law Firm in a Market Dominated by Big Law

Christopher Earley

Most if not all of us have in our market at least one law firm that seems to get all the business. These law firms have seemingly unlimited marketing dollars to splash their name all over town. So how are we solo and small firms supposed to compete with these 800-pound gorillas? How can we match their enormous marketing budgets? Despite our small size, we can still be competitive with these firms if we have an internal marketing strategy.

Internal marketing involves leveraging our list of people who know, like, and trust us. External marketing, on the other hand, involves spending big money on Google, radio, and other expensive advertising platforms to “shout the loudest.” That is primarily how large firms market. Internal marketing is an effective and affordable marketing alternative that allows us to get plenty of cases, regardless of the number of 800-pound gorillas in our given market.

While internal marketing to your list is inexpensive, it does require work. If you do the work consistently and play the long game, however, you will be extremely competitive in your market—without going broke. Plus, your results will compound as your list grows. Here are some internal marketing strategies I have used at my law firm that have worked very well for us and that I believe will also work for you.

Always Be Building Your List

People generally only buy from people they know, like, and trust. Make sure you have a constantly growing list of these people. Former clients, current clients, attorneys, friends, former classmates, and everyone else who may possibly refer you a case must be on this list. You want a big list because you never know who may refer you a case. This is an organic list that grows week by week, year by year, and is, in my opinion, our firm’s most valuable asset in business. It is pure gold and is something that cannot be bought. By always building your list, you can grow your practice without breaking the bank. That allows you to be extremely competitive—even against 800-pound gorilla firms.

Constantly Nurture Your List

Having a list is useless if you don’t nurture it. When neglected, your list will wither and die. The most effective way I have discovered to nurture my list is through regular communication. Weekly emails, monthly newsletters, handwritten cards, and other regular “touches” will nurture the contacts on your list. This constant nurturing will ensure that you maintain a large fence around your list so they don’t forget you and go elsewhere when they need a lawyer. The key is always to remain top of mind whenever someone on your list needs a lawyer. It is very true that people will forget about you if you don’t stay in touch with them. When communicating with your list, though, always give them valuable content that helps them. Don’t make it all about you. Share something you learned recently and teach them about something. That is what people find interesting and useful and makes them stick around to hear what you have to say next.

Make Sure Your List Knows Your Story

Your list must know something about you other than the fact that you are a lawyer. Try to get a little personal in your communications to your list. I frequently share with my list my story of witnessing addiction and homelessness at a young age. This develops connection and affinity. This is personal, relationship-based marketing, which is the highest and most effective form of marketing there is. So, consider getting a little vulnerable with your list if you are comfortable doing so. This humanizes you to your list, and that is massively important.

This internal marketing approach of building the tribe, nurturing the tribe, and getting personal with them is something that most lawyers fail to leverage. Because people on your list presumably know, like you, and trust you, and because you regularly stay in touch with them, internal marketing deepens a relationship with them that is meaningful. No TV ad or billboard can ever do that.

If you have other ideas when it comes to effective marketing that allows you to compete without breaking the bank, please email me at [email protected] because I would love to hear from you.

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Christopher Earley

Earley Law Group Injury Lawyers

Christopher Earley ( is an author, entrepreneur, and personal injury attorney serving clients throughout Massachusetts. 

Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 13, Number 7, February 2023. © 2024 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.