Law Firm Rainmaking for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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Clients gripe all the time about how expensive lawyers are, and the rise of Google means that everyone's a lawyer, which only makes matters worse ("why am I paying you $300 an hour when I can look up the statutes myself?").

There are, of course, times when lawyers can and should provide legal work for free -- and times when they shouldn't.

5 Awesome Mom Lawyers

You did get your mother a gift for Mother's Day, right? Well, you've got limited time: It's Sunday, and if you wait too long, the florists will be out of flowers and you'll have to buy a Whitman's Sampler from CVS.

To inspire you into appreciating your mother, let's take a look at five awesome mothers who also happened to be lawyers (or is that lawyers who happened to be mothers?).

FindLaw has a blog for in-house counsel and a blog for solos and small firms. But what would happen if they collided, like a comic book crossover? That's what this particular article is about: Marketing yourself to in-house counsel.

Mind blown yet? If you specialize in a particular field of niche litigation, you may want to consider marketing to in-house lawyers and general counsels, who always need help when it comes to the esoteric stuff. Here are some tips.

You've taken our advice and expanded your practice to niche areas, but what are the corners of these practice areas? You can take your niche practice the next level by becoming specialized in a highly esoteric type of action inside a highly esoteric field of law.

Sounds like a Russian nesting doll, but it could be just the thing you need to set yourself apart from all the personal injury lawyers and DUI defense firms. Here are some ideas for niche audiences you can pursue.

The consult -- whether it's free or costs some kind of money -- is like a first date. Not much substantive happens; you and your potential new client are getting to know each other, to see if you really like each other and want to take this to the next (billable) level.

By and large, the consult is going to be free of substantive legal talk, except for the outline of the case. Here's what you can cover in a consult, and what you can save for later.

Whether you work for a large firm or a small one, you're bound to encounter the bureaucracy in at least some of its glorious forms. At big firms, for instance, corporate policies limit innovation because every action has to performed according to a prearranged script, and deviations from that script are either not allowed or need to be approved by five levels of management.

On the other hand, at small firms, you're in charge of your life, but you're in more direct contact with the court system. Sometimes, it can be like pulling teeth to get an answer to a question or to get a problem solved.

How do you get what you want? Turns out it's all about collaboration and treating someone like a person.

Love is in the air -- or maybe that's just the air pollution being caused by everyone turning on their fireplaces for a romantic evening at home. After all, Valentine's Day isn't just a holiday for candy companies, florists, and edible underwear salesmen.

Believe it or not, lawyers can also benefit from Valentine's Day, and not just in the form of gavel-shaped chocolates. As it turns out, the holiday can be quite lucrative.

How so, you may ask? Consider the following:

Old and busted: drunken driving. New hotness? Drugged driving. The latest survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol are down by a third since 2007.

That's good news for road safety, but there's some bad news too: 25 percent of drivers tested positive for marijuana or another drug that could impair their ability to operate a vehicle. Indeed, among weekend nighttime drivers, the number who had pot in their systems jumped by 50 percent between 2007 and 2014, NHTSA found.

Maybe it's time to modify your DUI practice?

Certain practice areas are like a leather jacket: They never go out of style. Personal injury, estate planning, and criminal defense will always be there. But is there something more you could be doing?

As it turns out, there is. Changing technology, government policies, and legal environments mean that there are more opportunities than ever to expand your practice into new areas. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

The online legal researcher. The one whose non-lawyer friends know better. The one who wants updates daily. The one who wants to double-check your work. There are a lot of kinds of irritating clients out there, and while any one of these people might be tolerable, there may come a point where you just can't stand it anymore. You're going to have to quit representation.

How to do it? Well, there's the ethical way, which is heavily circumscribed. Then there's the tactful way, for which there are no state rules.

So what's the best way to go about firing a client?