Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

The Ten Percent Rule and Other Top Marketing Tips

marketing tipsWhen a potential client calls out of the blue, be sure to find out how they got your name, regardless of whether you end up taking the case.

Otherwise you might be missing out on a goldmine.

Knowing where your prospects are coming from – and analyzing that data to determine what marketing activities are actually bringing results – is a key to growing your practice.

“If you do not know definitively, you need to find out and then track all sources of your clients going forward,” says legal marketer Kimberly Rice. “Tracking is one of the most meaningful ways to learn what works when marketing your practice. Otherwise, you are just guessing and investing (or not) in marketing activities which may or may not produce results.”

Rice has spent 25 years helping lawyers develop their practices, both as an in-house legal marketer and at KLA Marketing Associates, which she founded in 2008.

8 Ways to Take Boost Your Business

Here are some of Rice’s top marketing tips:

  1. Know where your business is coming from. Include “source of business” on every client and referral intake. Instruct your staff to do the same. Gather this data consistently and study it periodically.
  2. Law school does not prepare you for private practice. “Or much else,” Rice says. “Recognize, as in most areas of higher education, that much of your ­academic training provides plenty of theoretical analysis and little practical information and experience. Understanding that will propel you to seek out practical guidance on how to successfully launch and grow your legal practice.”
  3. A job is not a career. “I’ve coached too many lawyers over the years who were willing to stay put in a position that they did not enjoy, had little interest in, and fell victim to unfortunate and unjust employment practices, all out of fear of the unknown. Summon the courage and plan how to chart out at least the next three to five years of your legal career. There may be multiple paths, depending upon life choices and family planning concerns. What works for you today likely will not work in five or seven years.”
  4. Personality is not destiny. “One of my career surprises has been that the majority of lawyers are actually introverts. To me, this defies logic, particularly with respect to litigators. Given that professional services, including legal services, is predicated upon consistent relationship building, it is ­impossible to build and grow a ­prosperous practice without engaging in meaningful relationship-building activities such as targeted networking and, to a lesser degree, some sort of professional association involvement. Regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert, there is a path uniquely suited to your personality and skill set.”
  5. Have a written plan for your practice. “Almost without exception, when we ­initially work with law firm clients, they do not have a written business plan.”
  6. See what brings in your best clients. Review your client roster. Identify the most desirable 10 percent. What drew them to your firm? What steps can you take to attract more like them?
  7. Assess your online effectiveness. “If you receive a regular stream of potential client website inquiries, how many are you converting? What do you know about them? How did they land on your website? What search terms did they key in? What attracted them to your site?”
  8. Stay in touch with current and former clients. “What do you do to stay connected with your active and inactive clients? How often do they hear from you? Do you keep them apprised of all your service offerings so they know the full range of your practice and may refer you to others?” 


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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