Clients want lawyers with niche expertise.
At a client panel I took part in last month one of the big themes that emerged was that clients want to hire a lawyer who “gets them” – who has a depth and breadth of knowledge of their industry, their profession, their business, or in essence their issues.
So a great way to build your practice is to focus on developing some niche expertise and getting known for it. The question for a lot of lawyers is how do I find my niche?
Kevin O’Keefe of Lexblog has a helpful post on finding your blog niche (which was inspired by a freelance writer’s post on finding your writing niche). In addition to his handy niche questions I have a few to add of my own:
Think about your background. What jobs did you do before becoming a lawyer? What degrees do you have? Does your family run a business? I was working with one client who casually mentioned his parents, his uncles, and his brother were all in the same type of manufacturing business and that he had worked for them before becoming a lawyer – that became his niche.
Kevin says “find what inspires you.” I agree. What is it that fascinates you? How might you draw the connection with your legal practice? Here in British Columbia one lucky lawyer dominates the ski hill business and another has secured the winery niche. There must be some nice perks with clients like those.
Another question to consider is what kind of clients do you like working with most? What do they have in common?
Ultimately finding your niche is about discovering what you like best about your legal practice and getting more of it. And for associates it’s an effective strategy for gaining ground rapidly, raising your profile, and securing your own clients.