Revenue and cases ebb and flow. Last year, the coffers were full and you had to hire contract counsel to help with all of the extra work. This year, you find yourself spending more time doing marketing and administration than actual cases.
How do you get the clients, and revenue, back in the door? Better yet, how do you do so cheaply, especially considering that little cash-flow issue? Here are five suggestions:
5. VistaPrint, Online Print Shops
Business cards. Postcards. Letterhead. Customized pens. If clients see your name on the pen they use, on the business cards collecting dust in their car's cup holder, or on the free post-it notes they snagged from your desk, it's more likely that you'll be the person they, or their friends, call when in need.
We've had good experiences with VistaPrint and Staples' online offerings. The prices are ridiculously cheap, especially if you search Google for a coupon code (there are always some available for VistaPrint). You can double-down the savings by monitoring daily deal sites for VistaPrint vouchers. They appear regularly, and often give you $50 credit for $25 spent.
4. Daily Deals Sites
Speaking of deals sites, if you're in need of a quick burst of cash, have you considered offering a Groupon or Living Social deal? For predictable flat-fee matters, like simple wills, it might be worth considering. Think volume, rather than substance.
Just be sure to check with your state bar first. There has been discussion about whether the sites' agreements constitute impermissible fee-splitting with non-attorneys.
3. Word of (Internet) Mouth
Where do you go when looking for a good restaurant? If you are like many modern individuals, you go to a reviews site, like Yelp!. If your firm is not already on these sites, it should be. Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews. Pray that unhappy customers don't use Google.
2. Networking and Referrals
You don't practice immigration law, so what do you do when those cases walk in the door? Often, you'll refer it to a colleague. If you've got downtime, spend it networking. Let others know of your willingness (not desperation, of course) to take on referred clients, and if your state allows it, your willingness to split a nominal percentage of the fees.
1. Op-eds and Blogging
The most annoying thing about coverage of legal news is that reporters often are ignorant about the law. To us, it's like nails on a chalkboard (or like watching Nancy Grace -- ick). If there is a big legal issue in your community, like a teacher's strike or curfew law, write about it for the local paper. They get free, intelligent writing. You get the "local legal expert" label.
On that same note, why not start blogging? You can either blog about local legal issues, common legal problems, or fascinating developments in the law. It refreshes your knowledge and shows off your skills to potential clients and other attorneys.