by Matt Tanda
On February 10 I attended the CBA/CLE program titled “Online Marketing for Solo Practitioners and Small Law Firms,” (see previous post). The lecture was what the title promised and, while I didn’t feel that the entire program was completely relevant to me, I definitely walked away with something to chew on. Much of the program, at least thematically, was directed at attorneys with a practice already up and running. So I guess that I could have said that attorneys in my exact situation weren’t the precise target demographic of the CLE.
On that note, I suppose that by way of introduction I should state that I’m a newly minted (scared and confused) attorney, fresh out of law school and new to the profession. The prospect of striking out on my own as a solo practitioner is a little intimidating (quite terrifying). I’ve come out of law school just barely understanding the basics of what a lawyer is supposed to be and do, and only an inkling of what an attorney actually is and does, and I find myself staring down the barrel of the metaphorical gun that is small business ownership.
From where I stand, the most terrifying aspect of going solo is how to attract clients. I have enough faith in my legal education to feel confident that I can learn how to be a lawyer (and also what ICCESS and COLTAF stand for). But I still don’t have the slightest idea on how to get clients to hire me.
The mystical method of pre-Bates client acquisition was never revealed to me and my social and professional network is comprised almost exclusively of other attorneys, friends still carefree enough not to have legal concerns and my mom…so my legal services aren’t exactly a hot commodity (even though my mom knows I’m a fantastic lawyer).
The CLE, presented by Martha Cusick Eddy and Phil Nugent, really emphasized the importance of an online presence to the smaller operation and offered various tips on how to maximize that presence with limited resources. The suggestions they offered were simple and affordable and the lecture left me with a sense that there was at least something that I could do in the way of marketing myself right off.
It was sort of comforting to know that professional marketers were telling established practitioners that simple things like a LinkedIn profile or a functional blog were key to online marketing. As a broke, would-be lawyer drowning in debt, it’s nice to think that there are some simple and familiar ways to move towards setting up a practice. I haven’t yet had time to implement the suggestions and recommendations made by the presenters, so I can’t comment on their efficacy. However, I can say that I’m sort of almost a tiny bit reassured that I can make a go of solo practice. And developing my online presence should at least keep me occupied for a bit.
Matt Tanda is a recent graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and newly admitted to the Colorado Bar. The thought of “going solo” (everyone seems to put that in quotes…) both intrigues and terrifies him. He is currently working up the courage/recklessness to “take the plunge” and try to set up a practice in probate, estate planning and domestic relations. In his free time, which is either too abundant or too scarce, he enjoys all the things that bring happiness to an adolescent boy, like comic books, anything on HBO, Legos and spending time with friends and family…and yoga…sometimes.
Originally posted on Solo in Colo.