You’re not going to be successful if you have a law degree and no clients, but if you don’t know how to handle a case, you’ll be useless to people who need you.
The truth is you need both of these things to make up the sum total of your experience. The people you know are not just connections, they can be valuable sources of information, including your…
- Peers. You will need to network with other lawyers. The good news is that networking is actually good for both of you: you may refer clients that are not a good fit for you to one of your peers. The attorney will be grateful and respond in kind down the road, and the client will remember your helpfulness even though you did not take his case.
- Business owners. Even though they do not share your educational background—or even the same profession—there is probably plenty of business owners in your community making money hand over fist. Make friends with them. Shoot the breeze about their products, watch their local advertising tactics, and see how they respond to their customers. No matter where you work, good customer service will always bring people back.
- Friends and family. Freshly graduated attorneys often forget that they’ve already got a flourishing network: their friends and relatives. In some cases, these people can be more of a resource than the things they learned in law school; if you set up a practice in your hometown, your first case will likely be someone you have met before, giving you a chance to establish yourself as a community-driven lawyer.
Of course, if you want to begin advertising for a successful law firm, you’re going to need to know one more person: an attorney marketing specialist.