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Small Firm Rainmaking

Your Competition Is Lazy: Three Things Small Law Firms Can Do to Find New Business Now

By Roy S. Ginsburg

Thomson Reuters recently completed its fourth State of U.S. Small Law Firms survey.

The findings were summarized here on Attorney at Work. That post’s title, “Small Law Firms Still Struggling With Finding New Business and Managing Administrative Tasks,” accurately reflects the overall state of the world of small law firms.

We’re going to focus here on the struggle to find new business since that is my sweet spot in the legal consulting world. According to the survey, only 29% of firms have implemented changes to address the challenge of new client acquisition.

Put another way, more than 70% of small law firms are doing absolutely nothing new to find clients.


Getting New Clients Boils Down to Three Simple Steps

If you’re in that 70% and you’re wondering what to do, just spend one hour on the web. You’ll find that we consultants all say the same things, only in different ways.

For instance, I say that business development is a three-step process. You need to ensure that new clients or referral sources:

  1. Get to know you.
  2. Get to like you.
  3. Get to trust you.

This is easy enough to understand. Of course, it’s the execution of the process that separates the great rainmakers from the mediocre ones.

Qualities of Great Rainmakers

Contrary to what you may believe, the execution winners are not the “life of the party” personality types. They are all personality types. And they all have one thing in common: They follow what I call the three “P’s.”

  1. They make business development a priority.
  2. They are persistent in their efforts to obtain business.
  3. They are patient to wait for the results of their efforts.

Focal Areas for Making It Rain

In today’s small law firm world, lawyers wanting to make it rain should focus primarily on two areas: networking and digital marketing. The amount of effort in each area will usually vary by the practice area and geographic location.

  • Networking. Admittedly, in today’s pandemic times, certain traditional networking activities have been placed on the back burner. But not everything is gone. You simply need to find something that works for you and stick to it.
  • Digital marketing. If you do just one thing different (e.g., start blogging, update your website, invest in SEO and Google Ads, etc.), you’ll be way ahead of the game. Remember, 70% of your competitors will be doing nothing new to enhance their digital marketing. And imagine the pay off if you do more than one thing!

The Good News: Competitors Make It Easier for Small Law Firms to Find New Clients

I’ve always maintained lawyers have it pretty darned good. We have a monopoly that seriously limits competition. And the competition for client acquisition that we do face is lazy. Thomson Reuters’ surveys continue to prove that. So get off your you-know-what and get some new business!

Illustration ©

You Might Also Like …

“30- Day Business Development Plan for Lawyers During the COVID-19 Crisis” by Jay Harrington

“Six Business Development Strategies for Lawyers” by Sally Schmidt

“So You Want to Get Started in Local Digital Marketing” by Conrad Saam

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Roy S. Ginsburg Roy S. Ginsburg

Roy Ginsburg, a practicing lawyer for more than 40 years, is an attorney coach and law firm consultant. He works with individual lawyers and law firms nationwide on business development, practice management, career development, and strategic and succession planning. Over the past 15 years, he has helped over 150 solo and small law firm owners across the country in all practice areas develop their succession plans. Learn more at and

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