For the same reason you wouldn’t go to a generic chain restaurant when you have a really specific craving for barbecue nachos, you wouldn’t hire a catch-all attorney when you have a really specific problem.
Read on to learn about how choosing a niche for your law firm can totally change your business, and hear from one of our clients about their experience switching to a niche law practice.
What is niching, and why is it helpful?
If your firm handles taxes, criminal defense, medical malpractice, estate planning, and bankruptcy, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that you’re not getting much online buzz for any one of these practice areas. And it’s also pretty hard to be considered an “expert” in any of the categories when you’re practicing all of them at the same time.
That’s why it’s so important for attorneys to choose a specific area – a niche – to focus on. That way, you can become the personal injury attorney or the go-to immigration lawyer in your area!
The American Bar Association started recommending niching as far back as 2012 (and our team at Conversations Digital has been recommending it for almost as long!).
What are the main benefits?
- It’s cost-effective
- You’ll have less competition
- Marketing is simpler
- You’ll be considered an expert
- Referrals will remember your niche
But why should you listen to us?
Don’t just take our word for it. Here to give you some tips is a real-life example of a lawyer whose firm’s business has improved significantly since he chose his niche. A New Orleans criminal defense attorney, John Radziewicz decided to niche his law firm to focus on traffic tickets about a year ago. (And we’re so glad he did.)
The following text is adapted from an interview with John about his experience.
Take it away, John!
Initial Fears and Hesitations
The hardest part about choosing to go all-in on one specific niche was the risk of losing it all on one bet. Beforehand, my practice was diverse, but I was stressed by too many and too varied commitments. I constantly feared new client meetings because they would throw all their problems at me at the same time.
Now that I focus on traffic tickets, it can be difficult because I’m not doing a lot of ”legal research and writing” I thought I would be doing as a lawyer. It took a long time to feel comfortable admitting this is all I do.
Traffic Ticket Niche Positives
I love this niche because I help people get back on the road. These are my favorite clients because they usually contact me because they want to change a big part of their life: being a passenger in life vs. being the driver of their own destiny.
I also enjoy the repetition. I do the same thing over and over and achieve better results with each try.
Going “All-In” and Seeing Results
I think it took a long time to build the critical mass of tickets necessary to get the results I needed to pay my bills and live the lifestyle I’m used to.
Let me break it down: It took about 6 years of practice before I realized that I needed to focus on one or two niche areas. Once I went all-in, it took about 6 months with the new website to feel like commitment was paying off. It took about 2 years with my current marketer to turn things around and implement all of the niching strategies.
Unexpected Aspects of Niching
Niching my practice helped me realize the importance of developing automated intake. Despite my efforts to fully automate, people still contact me directly or engage me outside of my intake pipeline, so I have to manually add them. My business is still in the changing phase between disorganized and niche, so I’m still experiencing drops in business. But I trust the process will eliminate these waves or at least help to make them feel smaller.
On another front, the growth of my business meant hiring employees. I’ve learned I’m a better manager/sales guy, but I can hire an associate to go to court for me.
I still get leads for other types of cases, including personal injury, expungements, DUIs, and criminal defense. Since I used to do a lot of things and the internet lasts forever, there is probably still content with great SEO out there about my former family law practice (even though I haven’t done a divorce in over 3 years).
I enjoy being able to be extremely picky about the cases I take outside of my niche. Unfortunately, I’m getting to the point where I don’t have the energy to give a couple pieces of free advice to someone who I don’t want to represent or cases that are totally outside of my practice area. Instead, I’ve developed polite form emails using textexpander to let these leads off easy.
Since choosing a niche, I’ve also noticed an increase in business around things that are close to traffic tickets: suspended licenses, DMV issues, and DUIs. All of these are great because they are within my niche but also high-value clients.
I feel like my biggest regret is not committing to a niche sooner. I used to talk about going all-in on my traffic ticket niche with lawyers who were about 10 years ahead of me. Some of them couldn’t believe it was possible. Others wanted to be part of it. A smaller portion were dazzled by my vision.
Unfortunately, I lost sight of my vision and tried a lot of other marketing and practice areas before coming back to a niche focus. I tell people now that I want to be the Clarence Darrow of tickets. People understand that concept for car accidents. Now, they need to think about it for my niche.
I also regret not taking advantage of technology early on in my practice. I have some really smart colleagues and even tech people who I could have gotten more involved with when they were just getting started. Instead, I’m now paying a premium for their advice and facing a learning curve.
You heard it here first!
Conversations Digital works with attorneys across North America seeking to improve their client base through strategic marketing advice and consulting, SEO and website development, and social media management. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help your law practice thrive.