April 26, 2021

How can litigators identify emerging trends and generate new business from them?

May 17, 2016

If a significant new law or governing regulation is adopted, be one of the first to analyze it, publish on it, and alert clients to its impact. Become the expert on that new law and carve out a new practice specialty around it.  
If you are an appellate lawyer, it may take more time to see how the law is developing in an area before it is possible to identify fertile new areas for appellate litigation. Nonetheless, it can be done. In California, for example, there are many anti-SLAPP appeals; in the last decade, anti-SLAPP rulings were made immediately appealable by statute. 

Once you have done several appeals in a substantive area, you can market that combined procedural and substantive  experience (e.g., you are an anti-SLAPP appellate lawyer). In my case, I won a significant joint employer liability case for a franchisor in the California Supreme Court; this led to other franchisors hiring me for similar work in other courts. 


M.C. Sungaila is a partner at Haynes and Boone LLP in Costa Mesa, California.

If your firm has a legal library and/or business development group, tell them the kinds of cases and/or companies you’re interested in tracking, and have them set up a Lexis or Westlaw weekly update for you, so you can more easily stay on top of legal trends that may be significant to your clients (or potential clients).

Elizabeth T. Timkovich is a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Attending conferences and networking with colleagues keeps you at the forefront of litigation trends. Issue a press release, include your attendance in your firm newsletter, write on the trends you learn about and post the content on social media. Not only will you position yourself as a litigation thought leader within your community and with your clients, but also with other attorneys. Remember, the best sources of new work are other attorneys, whether they be lawyers in your firm that can cross sell your services or other attorneys in your community with different practice areas or a conflict. Plus, you'll return from the conference with a renewed enthusiasm for the practice of law.


Jeana Goosmann is CEO & Managing Partner at the Goosmann Law Firm in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.


Read! Read both legal publications and industry publications that pertain to your field of law. Join related groups on LinkedIn and scan the posts for a couple of minutes every day—then dive into the ones that catch your attention. There may be other social media that pertain to your field of law where lawyers and non-lawyers post interesting blogs.  Forward interesting pieces to clients. With all of your reading, you will notice the issues that seem to continue to surface, or those which are causing concern. Not only can you alert clients, you can also write about these topics yourself, portraying yourself as a knowledgeable and credible leader  in your field. Whatever you do, remember that we don’t always have to wait for others to tell us about emerging trends—we may be the ones to make the observation and tell others! 


Teresa Beck is a partner at Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos, LLP in San Diego, California and Phoenix, Arizona.

May 17, 2016