Next week I open the doors after much preparation on my new solo practice. My goal, always, is to offer affordable, but high quality criminal defense services to anyone who walks through the door. The key is trying to differentiate yourself from the pack.
That’s a big hurdle.
Most people are able to figure out the good from the bad in their everyday lives. But when it comes to choosing a lawyer, many people, who have never needed a lawyer in the past, have trouble figuring out whether a lawyer they’re meeting for the first time is actually good or not.
In part that’s because what lawyers do – basically working within the court system to achieve some result – is difficult for a non-lawyer to understand. In fact, most clients spend a good deal of their time sitting in the courtroom watching lawyers walk back and forth, picking up and putting down papers, and occasionally chatting with each other. It’s hard for a non-lawyer to know whether this activity is really productive.
In addition, in many cases, it really does not matter whether you get a merely ok lawyer or a truly good lawyer. As a result, many merely ok lawyers do fine for their clients. They get a decent result.
As a result, when someone checks with his neighbors or family in order to locate a lawyer, he’s often told to use a lawyer merely because that lawyer happened to be successful in the past. Those kind of recommendations are usually worthless, because there’s no particular reason why the neighbor or family member should know whether the recommended lawyer was in fact truly good, or merely competent.
Still, developing a good reputation is one of the keys to marketing legal services. It helps, also, to be focused. While I can practice anywhere in the state, I’ve decided to narrow my practice and marketing efforts on particular cities: Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Garner, Clayton, Pittsboro. While my office is in Raleigh, my home is in Apex, and so I’m within easy driving distance of any of those places to meet clients or appear in Durham, Pittsboro, Johnston, or Harnett County courts.