You’ve probably heard this term before: Niches Get Riches. It definitely isn’t a new discovery, and it certainly isn’t unique to the legal industry.
If you needed heart surgery, you’d want to go to a cardiovascular specialist, not a general practitioner who just fixed a broken arm. Heart surgery is a delicate procedure. You want to go to the person whose only job is to know everything about the heart and cardiovascular system. Not to mention, you’d pay a higher rate for their expertise.
Legal services are no different. Someone going through a crisis that may impact their entire life (and the lives of their loved ones) wants to work with someone who they know specializes in the subject matter they are seeking. And many of them are willing to pay a premium price to do so.
We all know attorneys who practice “door law” (they take any case that comes through the door), and It’s clear to see why a lot of lawyers take that approach. We all want to grow our business, bring in new clients, and ultimately make more money. With those goals in mind, it makes sense to create a broad practice. Casting a wide net means you bring in more fish right? Spoiler alert: I do a fair amount of fishing over here in North Carolina, and a wide net doesn’t necessarily mean more fish, and it definitely doesn’t mean more quality fish.
In some rare cases, maybe it makes sense to be a bit broader with the services you offer. Perhaps you are the only attorney in a 50 mile radius out in Idaho or Montana. Maybe you legitimately enjoy doing every facet of law and don’t have a certain area you prefer over others. There’s a chance you don’t want to make more money for tax purposes.
But let’s be honest, most likely you don’t fall into one of the categories mentioned. So if you’re an attorney in a city with other lawyers, have a certain area of law you like more than others, or who would be okay with a higher revenue, niching down may be more ideal for you.
Focusing in on a single practice area, or at least a small group of related practice areas, is a crucial step in building a powerful brand identity online and differentiating yourself from your competition. You won’t be perceived as an “expert” if your focus is too generalized. I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” – and your potential clients have too. You need to let your market know what you’re exceptional at doing.
So if you are currently practicing in a myriad of areas, how can you start niching down while still keeping the lights on?
You can start by simply narrowing the focus of your marketing efforts. You don’t have to turn down clients in other practice areas if you don’t want to. Turning away a paying client can be a scary thing, so you can continue to take cases in other areas, even as you focus your marketing on a specific niche.
As you focus your marketing and build a brand as a leader in your area of practice, you’ll begin attracting more of the work you enjoy doing, you’ll be able to charge higher rates to do it, and you’ll build a much more sustainable and efficient practice because you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you get a new client.
Wait, that’s not the best part! Narrowing your focus will also make a huge difference when it comes to generating referrals – and referrals typically make the best clients. By dialing in on a single practice area, it makes it easier for your network to remember what you do and recognize opportunities to send you work. Plus, past and current clients are much more likely to refer a lawyer who is an expert in a particular area of need.