Law firm business development is not easy. There are three components of a law firm business development plan. They are referrals, clients and marketing. We will not always go into these three sources of business all the time or consistently, but we will outline ways for initiatives law firms can make in their business development plans to grow their practice areas. Law firm marketing measures can be included in law firm business development initiatives.
This article will help you greatly in starting law firm growth for your practice. Whilst we are not business development specialists, we know enough to inform your business development from our rich experience. A considered marketing business development approach is the best way to sustain and grow your legal business. This article focuses primarily on Australian law but is applicable to localised international business development strategies.
Table of Contents
The Ten Major Areas of Law We Will Cover
There are ten (10) practice areas law firms in the common law or Anglosphere jurisdictions will usually practice. We will outline what it takes for business development success in each of these areas of law:
- Commercial Law
- Intellectual Property
- Wills & Estates
- Family Law
- Personal Injury
- Criminal Law
- Property & Leasing
- Liquor Licensing
- Notary Public
For many law firms, business development is done by the managing lawyers themselves. However, there are some firms that have an internal business development team or hire a specific business development expert. This article will be going much deeper than just mere social media presence. This is not meant to be business development training but will help you identify real business opportunities for law firm success, helping you create multiple revenue streams.
What Is Commercial Law?
Commercial law is the practice of transactional commercial legal advice, primarily for businesses and companies. It is a very wide area of law with many sub-niches. Effective business strategies for this area of law are sometimes lacking due to the B2B nature of this area of law. This makes growing within this area sometimes difficult and search volume can be low in Australia depending on the area of practice.
What Is Litigation?
Litigation in this article refers to a wide umbrella of civil litigation, not just commercial litigation. It is a process of seeking remedies against another party in a non-criminal injury context.
What Is Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to patents, designs, sui generis regimes, copyright and trademarks. We will be focusing our attention on copyright, trademarks and maybe a small amount on designs within this article.
What Is Wills & Estates?
Wills & Estates is sometimes referred to as Estate Planning. However, sometimes Estate Planning is treated as a subset of Wills & Estates. Wills & Estates is the practice of managing a deceased estate, i.e. what happens to your property and after-death wishes. Here’s how you can get more Estate Planning clients by running digital advertisements.
What Is Family Law?
Family Law in Australian Law refers to divorce proceedings and the issues surrounding children and property as a result. Social media presence here can be especially effective as your audience frequently visits these channels.
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal Injury refers to workers compensation or personal injury, such as a car accident. In Australia, many personal injury victims deal with State-run commissions that regulate compensation matters.
What Is Criminal Law?
Criminal Law refers to offences committed under respective criminal codes, such as murder or drug possession. Out of the 10 areas of law within this article, Criminal Law encounters the most difficulty when identifying business opportunities.
What Is Property & Leasing?
Property & Leasing refers to legal matters relating to real estate. This practice area covers all issues involving real estate, be it landlord, tenant or property owner.
What Is Liquor Licensing?
Liquor Licensing is the practice of getting government permits to sell or supply alcohol within a business.
What Is a Notary Public?
A Notary Public is a special type of lawyer that verifies documents, or “notarise”. Here are some documentation verifications they can provide:
- Verifying a person’s identity by witnessing a signature or fingerprints
- Authenticating documents that are domestic or for international purposes
- Taking a witness’s statement for official use
- Completing certificates of law in overseas courts
- Certifying the correctness of a document allowing it to be taken as an original in international courts of law
~Information provided from Owen Hodge Lawyers
What Is a Law Firm Business Development Strategy?
Law firm business development strategies are business development activities, including law firm marketing, customer relationship management, customer service policy, or anything that will grow the law firm into a successful business. Legal businesses are particularly complex because the profession can carry some serious implications. We will provide you with best practices for your marketing teams and business development plans that will help you identify business development opportunities.
How Did We Come Up With These 10 Common Fields Of Law?
Markeltyics works with countless law firms and as it so happens, we have clients who practice within all these legal areas. The advice we are providing within this article has been used by our clients and has propelled them to great success within their respective niches. Some of the information we are providing is also applicable to international law firms, however, we must insist that you check with your local regulations first before implementing it.
How To Use This Information Within Your Law Firm Business Development Plan?
Our article is for the benefit of all law firm owners. These business development strategies are dense and detailed enough to form the backbone of a law firm’s business development plan. By implementing this information into your business development plan, you should expect to see more clients coming to you, for what you do best.
Before pursuing any of these strategies, we must stress that you need to keep in mind any local laws surrounding the promotion of your legal niche. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in legal hot water.
Commercial Law Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Commercial Law.
Joint Venture And Partnership Arrangements
We wouldn’t recommend going for a direct sale in these Commercial Law niches, but rather a strategy of building referral partner relationships with Accountants. This strategy will be the most cost-effective way to obtain new clients, as Accountants are typically trusted advisors to those likely to be seeking a Joint Venture or Partnership arrangement.
Joint Venture and Partnership Arrangements are not something that businesses are looking to pursue on a regular basis, so it makes a lot more sense to build referral relationships, rather than creating online campaigns that spend budget only to yield little to no results and a whole lot of irrelevant clicks.
Share, Land or Business Sales
Much like Joint Venture and Partnership Agreements, the Share, Land or Business Sales niche is recommended to build referral partner relationships. Commercial Real Estate Agents and Business Brokers are likely to be the first point of contact for businesses who are seeking services within this niche. Building relationships with these types of businesses are likely to bring you greater results than any digital advertising campaign could.
Advertising campaigns on social media channels, like Facebook and LinkedIn, typically work the best and produce the highest ratio of return depending on the market segment you are targeting.
Sometimes, Caveats can be an urgent matter or of significantly high value. This being the case, we recommend a strategy of using both pay-per-click Google Ads and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to target businesses who seek a Caveat or need representation. This strategy works great, as the audience has a state of urgency and therefore, actively looks for your services on Google.
Implementing a strong SEO strategy will help make you an authority within the eyes of Google and will also help support your Google Ads campaigns. Equally, a strong Google Ads campaign will help improve your SEO efforts. Just make sure that you reference the actual Google search volumes for this niche before you get started.
In our opinion, a combination of pay-per-click Google Ads and SEO should work well for gaining Succession Planning leads. If you have defined profitable market segments that require Succession Planning, we believe that a campaign executed on Facebook and/or LinkedIn could also be viable to gain leads within this niche.
Sub-Contractor, Confidentiality and Restraint of Trade Agreements
This might be starting to sound a bit cliche, but once again, identifying profitable market segments and then targeting them on both Facebook and/or LinkedIn is the best way to go.
For example, businesses across many different industries are shifting more and more towards sub-contracting employment structures. This could be a great opportunity for your practice to offer Sub-Contractor Agreements to market segments that are currently embracing this trend.
LinkedIn is a great platform to target businesses that require Workplace Policies to be drafted. Beyond the placement of engaging advertisements within the LinkedIn feed, we also recommend that you implement our LinkedIn direct marketing strategy called LIPS (LinkedIn Prospecting System).
By using your LIPS, you will turn your LinkedIn prospects into clients, which can then be nurtured and offered additional legal services in the future.
Litigation Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Litigation. Litigation can be a hard market to crack, as people only really need Litigation representation at the time of their litigious event. As this is the case, we will mostly be recommending strategies that involve a combination of Google Ads and SEO to target a hot audience.
Due to the immediate nature of Litigation, the use of social media channels is limited.
A strategy of Google Ads and SEO is king for Construction. However, for example, success on social media could be found within the “Security of Payments Act (SOPA)” that can be enforced in Victoria. Advertising to an audience that could benefit from this Act on social media could be a viable option, as action by the audience isn’t necessarily immediately needed.
Building strategic relationships with Accountants is your best bet here, as they are likely to be the first point of contact when Tax-related litigation issues arise. Implementing a LinkedIn direct marketing strategy, such as our LinkedIn prospecting system called LIPS, will give you the best chance at befriending Accountants, who will provide you with Tax litigation leads.
This strategy will be your most effective option, as trying to gain direct sales through social media channels will most likely fall flat due to limited demand.
Most types of Civil Litigation will benefit greatly from a Google Ads and SEO strategy, as clients of this niche will seek out representation immediately when they require it, rather than waiting for an advertisement to appear on social media.
Restraint of Trade
Restraints of trade litigation is not in high demand, nor commonly requested. The most logical means to get these type of litigation is to accumulate Restraint of Trade Agreements. By accumulating these agreements, you will be the law firm of choice to enforce them. Google Ads and SEO could also work depending on actual volume of demand.
Once again, Accountants are likely to be your best go-to for acquiring leads within this niche of Litigation. They would be the primary contact and trusted advisor to those facing Insolvency Litigation.
Running LinkedIn campaigns could be a great way to create these strategic partnerships, however, our LinkedIn direct marketing method called LIPS will get you much better results and at potentially a fraction of the price of running LinkedIn Ads, which require you to spend a minimum of $10 a day.
A combination of Google Ads, SEO and Facebook Ads will work great for Consumer Law, but make sure to check Google’s search volumes before you proceed. If there is an ongoing class action that the public is well aware of, such as the Takata Airbags recall, Facebook could be a great temporary channel to pick up clients who are affected by a company’s negligence.
Intellectual Property Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property protects expressions of ideas. There are only a few Australian law firms that specialise in this area of law, in comparison to the wider Australian legal profession.
As a trained legal professional within this area of law, Clarence has the ability to provide some fresh new business development strategies that are guaranteed to help you gain more leads within your practice.
Branding, Trademarks & Licensing
For these three niches of Intellectual Property, we recommend that you identify a few market segments, such as Digital Marketers or Web Developers and then depending on the segments you choose to pursue, target them with well structured Facebook or LinkedIn campaigns. To increase the longevity of your campaigns, make sure that you sufficiently narrow down the broad profitable target market that you’ve chosen.
Businesses with products that typically encounter counterfeiting, such as fashion houses, perfumeries and inventors are likely to advertise their products to the mass market on social media channels, so this is a great place for your firm to gain clients within the Counterfeit Good niche. Also targeting these types of businesses through a LinkedIn campaign could be highly effective.
Once again, make sure to narrow down a profitable target market that has broad enough appeal so that your campaign has some longevity.
Infringements & Protection of Business
Depending on the types of businesses you choose to pursue, either Facebook or LinkedIn campaigns could work well for your firm. A broad enough target market will allow you to advertise within this niche for a considerable amount of time before a new market is required.
Additionally, you should start accumulating and nurturing transactional clients for your practice. These clients may one day require your expertise within the niche, as they fight to protect their business and livelihoods.
Wills & Estates Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Wills & Estates.
Wills & Enduring Power of Attorneys And Enduring Power of Guardianships
For both of these Wills & Estates niches, we recommend that you start targeting defined market segments on Facebook and depending on the market, LinkedIn. Campaigns on these platforms will work great when targeting young families, older couples and individuals who are wanting to limit the benefit of a beneficiary.
A combined strategy of Google Ads and SEO will be your number one strategy for Probate, however, Facebook also could be a possible option. The number of deaths by state will vary greatly, so researching them before choosing a strategy is key here. On average, for example, there are around 1,000 deaths per month within Western Australia. Based on this figure, Google Ads could be potentially challenging, however, a strong SEO strategy will be very helpful in getting your ads in front of your intended market.
If you decide to campaign your services through Facebook, targeting an audience who is interested in funeral services is the way to go.
Complex Estate Matters
Depending on whether your objective is Estate Planning or Disputes will decide the best strategy for this niche. The not so critically immediate nature of Estate Planning will work best on Facebook, whilst Disputes which often requires immediate action is best advertised with a combination of Google Ads and SEO.
A combination of Google Ads and SEO is the best way to go here, as the urgency of the audience is quite high.
Family law in Australia relates to divorce law, including property settlement and child arrangements.
High Net Worth Clients
LinkedIn is theoretically possible, as you can target directors or relevant professionals, but we need to flesh this out as the strategy is key here. In Google Ads, can specify net worth in targeting website visitors.
Suburban (Small Scale Matters)
There is a very high search volume and consumption rate for Suburban (Small Scale Matters), so Google Ads and SEO will work wonders here. Facebook could also be an opportunity to pursue.
For more marketing strategies geared towards Family Law, have a read of our article called Family Law Marketing Strategies To Gain More Leads in 2021.
Binding Financial Agreements
Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn are all surefire channels worth pursuing for Binding Financial Agreements. We do recommend that you build a strong SEO strategy to help strengthen your efforts with Google Ads and that you check local search volumes before proceeding with Google Ads.
Property and Financial Settlements
For Property and Financial Settlements, you must reach your audience at their specific point of need for your services. A clear choice here is a combination of Google Ads and SEO, so that you are in front of your audience when it matters most. Facebook might also be possible within this niche, especially during a housing boom.
Personal Injury Law Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Personal Injury Law.
Motor Vehicle Accidents, Workers Compensation, Public Liability & Medical Negligence
Due to the mass-market appeal of these four niches amongst the general public, you will need to work hard to build a superior business strategy to set yourself apart from your competitors. Whilst these platforms are already saturated, we still recommend that you start advertising on Facebook, Youtube Ads and Google Ads.
Advertising on social media platforms will help generate brand awareness and maybe even some leads, whilst Google Ads will target an action-ready audience who is actively looking for what you offer. Implementing a strong SEO strategy to bolster these campaigns will also help over the long term.
Institutional Abuse & Criminal Injuries Compensation
With significantly small target markets, these are two niches that are somewhat unknown to us and we are working to understand them both better. However, for now, we recommend a strategy of Google Ads, Facebook Ads and SEO.
Criminal Law is, unfortunately, one of the hardest niches for a law firm to apply business development strategies to. Due to the purely litigious and urgent nature of this niche, you are relegated to only using Google Ads and SEO to obtain leads. Making sure your landing pages for your Google Ads are clear, concise and convincing is key here.
Traffic, Prohibited Substances, Violence, Restraining Orders, Spent Convictions, Sentencing & Appeals
Google Ads will be more predictable in generating leads for these niches than social media. Combining a strong SEO strategy with Google Ads should start to yield a nice number of leads. SEO is highly competitive within these areas, so it could take up to a year before any solid gains are made, especially if you are starting from scratch.
Criminal law practitioners find thPractitioners within Criminal Law tend to find that with the more clients they gain, a snowball effect starts to occur within their practice. As it so happens, individuals who find themselves in trouble with the law typically attract other similar kinds of people. Once you have proven your legal worth, these individuals will start willingly and freely referring your services to others.
Property & Leasing Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Property & Leasing.
Settlements and Conveyancing
With such a highly price-driven and sensitive market, gaining leads directly from advertising campaigns is going to be difficult. It doesn’t help that for these niches, providing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or a value add is going to be very hard to demonstrate.
Because of these factors, we recommend that your firm undertakes a LinkedIn campaign seeking a strategic partnership with Real Estate Agents and Business Brokers. Forming a strategic partnership is a must and can also be achieved through LinkedIn Outreach.
LinkedIn Campaigns building strategic partnerships are going to be the best way to gain leads within this niche. Real Estate Agents, including Commercial Agents and Business Brokers are likely to be the first point of contact for businesses and individuals who are seeking Commercial Leasing assistance. Building referral relationships with these types of businesses will be the most cost-effective option and are to be executed through a targeted LinkedIn campaign.
Liquor Licensing Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Liquor Licensing. The “penultimate” topic of this article.
Bars, Cafes & Restaurants, Bottle Shops & Clubs
Using a targeted LinkedIn campaign, you should seek strategic partnerships with Real Estate Agents, including Commercial Real Estate Agents and Business Brokers, as they are going to typically be an individual or business’s first point of contact or trusted advisor when seeking liquor licensing. We would not recommend advertising directly on social media beyond LinkedIn.
Notary Public Business Development – What To Do
Here are our Business Development Strategy recommendations for Notary Public. Any client acquistion in any area will benefit this practice area. A necessary service for many clients, which increases as client base increases.
No matter what legal area you or your law firm operates in, there is a business development strategy to suit your lead generation needs. Digital Marketing is not a cure-all solution to lead generation and there are many more complexities to a complete and well-rounded business development plan, such as obtaining additional business from existing clients and referral partners.
Within this article, we have covered a lot of ground and hope that the information we have provided points you in the right direction. There are many fields of law both here in Australia and internationally, so if we missed anything in particular, reach out to us and we will point you in the right direction.
Information within this article can be used to develop a law firm business development plan template or to plan out your revenue streams with intention and deliberation.
If you require a cutting-edge lead generation solution for your law firm, we can help. Marketlytics understands the legal profession because we ourselves have held real experience within the legal field. Book a Discovery Call with us today to get started!
All discovery calls are confidential
Clarence Ling is the Founder of Marketlytics, and a guerilla marketer. Initially a trained Lawyer and Practice Development Manager, he contributed to the growth of his firm, including implementing software.
Clarence Ling is a Digital Advertising and Analytics Expert. Having a wide range of advertising experience ranging from international real estate, to legal and previously worked in full service marketing agencies, Clarence is a diligent marketer with an eye for detail and a talent for numbers.
Clarence can carefully plan out the best budget levels for the desired outcomes with projections that are more accurate than most.
His background in Analytics enables a clear, big picture assessment of both organic and paid campaigns, enabling maximum efficiency of those digital campaigns. His analytical background brings precise clarity of client or customer interaction and behaviour on online assets.
Clarence’s four fields of practice are Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Email Marketing (EDM). He is best as an Advertiser and is an avid collector of Software As A Service (SaaS) Products, avidly investing in both technology and human capital of Marketlytics.