There is a common myth among lawyers and law firms that their firm is built on the little cases which lead to big cases. Some law firms market solely to the “little guy” and what they can do for him. But on the other hand, that little guy isn’t doing much for their firm in return. That is fine if you have nothing but time and money on your hands, but if you’re trying to run a successful law firm, you have to be a little more selective with your clients.
This isn’t to say that you have to turn down every case that wouldn’t pull in at least a few million dollars, because that wouldn’t make much sense either. However, you don’t have to take all the little cases that take up your time and manpower just so you can pay the bills and buy more billboards.
One of the biggest concerns lawyers have is that if they don’t take a small case for someone, that potential client will not come back to the firm if they end up having a larger case to deal with in the future. That can actually be the opposite of true if you play it right. Let that potential client know that, while you’d like to help him with this smaller issue, your law firm focuses on bigger cases that require more research, more time, and more able-bodied lawyers.
Then, keep in touch with him over regular communications, including physical, hand-delivered mail, and he will remember you as a big-case only lawyer when he needs to pull in the big guns. You saved yourself the time and money spent on a low-yield case and put yourself in a position to potentially handle a big case in the future. Smile.