Building a Strong Portable Book of Business
For most attorneys, having a strong portable book of clients and referrals is a critical part of your legal career. Not only does a portable book of business bring in more clients, but it also helps you to communicate directly with your client base more often, thus gaining more understanding of client needs. These types of relationships are extremely beneficial to an attorney.
Furthermore, a strong portable book of business gives a lawyer more control over his or her workplace and career. If you have a good client base, law firms are less likely to want to let you go, even if there is an economic recession, or less demand for attorney work.
When starting to build your portable book of business, you need to determine what branch of law and clients you would like to work with the most. There are a number of practice areas to choose from, and each client base vary from one another. Other aspects to consider are: do you enjoy working under pressure? Do you enjoy arguing in court? Is building a long term relationship with a few clients important to you? Whom do you already represent? These questions can help to guide you in the right direction of which clients you should build from.
When building a book of business, you should also look into your finances. How much do you hope to make? What are the overhead costs of generating this income? Have you looked into your competition? All of these factors can affect your book of business in the long run. You should also factor in your personal life as well. Are you planning on moving? Is a marriage on the horizon? Are children going to be born in the future? Are your children going to college soon? These events can affect how much you will be able to work and the amount of work done as well. Remember to give yourself some downtime to de-stress while you try to build your book.
Once you have these two factors figured out, the most important part of building a portable book of business is to network. Building your book of business is a step by step process. It begins with one conversation that can lead to another, which leads to a referral. The more you put yourself out there as a known attorney, the more clients will choose you. Also, reach out to those you have met. An easy way to keep track of people you came in contact with is to save their business cards in a cloud storage or app with notes about your interaction. You can then reach out to them over time so they will remember you easier in times of need. Extra tip: Another way for a potential client to remember you is to call or send a card to them on their birthday.
Once you have established yourself with a few clients, it’s beneficial to ask for feedback from them. This will keep you informed about what they do and do not like about you as their attorney. That way, you can make crucial changes so your new clients will not have to face old challenges. Hearing criticism helps you to grow as an attorney in the long run of your career. In addition, your clients will take note that you are concerned with their satisfaction.
Many attorneys working on building their book of business have utilized social media to their advantage. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have provided a powerful way to stay up-to-date with clients’ daily and professional lives. For example, seeing your clients’ LinkedIn profile can connect you to other potential clients and form a connection.
A stable, good book of portable business is crucial for an attorney’s long-term career happiness. It provides job security within your current law firm, as well as if you plan on making a move to a new law firm. In the end, maintaining trust and stable relationships with all of your clients is the key to having a strong book of business that will continue to prosper throughout your legal career.