The Three Pillars of Your Experience: It’s Not Just Your Case Results Anymore

Many young attorneys often feel they’re at a disadvantage when they begin advertising for a successful law firm. People aren’t going to hire someone without a backlog of case victories under his belt; after all, that’s how people choose attorneys. We measure success in wins, and you currently have very few (or none). So how can you bring in clients when you have no experience to offer?

First, you have to understand that your “experience” as an attorney does not mean “how many cases you have tried.” It means what you know, who you know, and the insider know-how that gives you a competitive edge in the market.

Let’s examine the three pillars of your experience thus far:

  • Your education. You went to a good school and graduated with honors, so you have the technical know-how to try cases…but it’s no guarantee you will be successful. All of your classmates are just as qualified as you are, and their student loans have come due, too—making your market even more competitive.
  • Your contacts. Young lawyers tend to lean on older, more established mentors to gain trial experience. That’s great, but you should also be looking for business experience, such as how to reach new clients and how to keep your current crop happy. The bonus is that your mentor doesn’t even have to be an attorney: anyone with a thriving business and a pleasant, no-excuses outlook can help you get ahead.
  • New lawyers have marketing skills. They just don't know it yet.Your “inner circle” knowledge. This is your “street smarts”—the things you only get to know when you’ve decided to become truly invested in your law firm’s marketing efforts. It is a combination of what you have learned on your own, what your peers and successful friends have shared with you, and all the tactics you have adopted or jettisoned based on trial and error.

It’s a foolish assumption to say that case results don’t matter; of course, they do. But how you accomplish something is more important than the fact that you did it at all—in fact, it’s the only way your clients are going to be able to distinguish you from every other law firm already out there. You’re new—so don’t hide from it. The best advantage you have is YOU: if your customers like you, they will hire you (string of victories or no).

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.