The Legal Chamber Newsletter • February 2011

Earn More By Dressing Like a Professional

You must have been living under a rock if you've never heard of that study of attractive business people. Simply put, it proved that better-looking people tend to get farther in their professional lives and earn about 5% more than their counterparts.

As an attorney, you're probably salivating at the employment discrimination or sexual harassment possibilities. I'm not advocating charging more if you think you're gorgeous, but some of us have to admit 2011 needs to be the year for a wardrobe tune-up.

It's not Biggest Loser or What Not to Wear fever; it's time to buy a new suit and get a haircut. I recently saw an attorney sporting a hairdo from the Bands with Terrible Hair article. When you give consultations, your potential clients are sizing you up in any way they know how.

They're looking at office d├ęcor (those leather bound books are paying off now!), awards, diplomas, and at their main object of scrutiny: you. We're all very familiar with the "new casual workplace" but it has no place in impressing a client. A new suit and updated picture for your website can do wonders in refreshing your approach and drumming up new business.

Don't know where to get a nice suit? Check out a few of the outstanding national retailers below for more information:

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3 Cheap & Easy Network Server Solutions for Law Firms

3 Cheap and Easy
	Network Server Solutions for Law Firms Saving you money and streamlining your practice is something we love to do.

Odds are that you have five or more computers running in your office, each one serving a different purpose. If you don't have a server or network, you're probably constantly shuffling thumb-drives or sending emails.

What if you could store everything in one place? What if you could access any printer in your office?

The options below can accommodate all of that and more. Set security preferences, login profiles, and whatever else your little heart may desire like accessing files from your work computer at home. If you're serious about your firm, you're going to love the three server options below:

Apple Snow Leopard Server ($999) is a great deal and ridiculously easy to setup. If you're not the most tech savvy person, you'll love the guide to setting up the server and your network. The great performance while sharing files, printers, and whatever else you need to do will also blow you away. Plus, this thing is tiny and wickedly power efficient!

Dell First Servers ($899-$1,745) are perfect for the dedicated PC user. Dell has been a favorite for lots of businesses and schools because they offer the best bang for your buck and have (like Apple) outstanding tech support.

Pogo Linux Servers ($1,021+) are ideal for firms that will expand greatly because they're widely customizable. The tradeoff is Linux servers have a more complicated setup process. You might opt to get a friend to help. These servers are tireless workhorses when you get them going though and will accommodate any size firm.

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Attorney Tip #12: Are You Invisible?

Every lawyer salivates over a law practice that self-sustains through word of mouth client referrals. Word of mouth means no yellow page ads, no marketing budget, and always starting things off on a positive note.

Typically, word of mouth clients seek your services because someone they trust has recommended your services to them. This means that trust has already been established by a mutual acquaintance. A pre-established trust means an easier, happier client, and an easier client means a seriously contented attorney. It's an ideal scenario.

So how can you kick-start the WOM machine?

Start off by expanding your referral network. Make friends with lawyers who practice in non-competing areas of law, and set up a referral exchange with them. It may sound trivial or too much like "common sense", but once put into practice, it really works.

Take the additional measure of instructing happy clients to send their friends your way. Even if you don't practice in the area of law they need help with, you can refer them to an attorney in your referral exchange network. And you know what? That attorney will be more likely to refer someone back to you.

Networking is one of the most viable marketing methods out there-so the sooner you put in that order of business cards, the better.

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Want to Expand Your Law Practice to a New City?

Are you thinking about expanding the geographic coverage area of your practice?

Expanding can be a great idea, but you might run into some obstacles that you weren't expecting. In fact, one of the biggest hurdles that expanding practices encounter are clients that say "You're too far away."

In this situation, there are two factors you need to acknowledge:

  1. You are new to practicing in this expanded region, and
  2. The client does not know you are new to the area.

The fact that you're new to the area is an issue that can only be resolved with time, but the second point is an item that you can take advantage of immediately.

There is no reason for you to volunteer that you are new to the area. Instead, emphasize your practical experience helping clients with similar situations. Do a little research to get familiar with the new neighborhoods and local issues.

Above all, be flexible when it comes to scheduling meetings in your office. It doesn't hurt (and can actually be a great start to your attorney-client relationship) to meet them on their turf. Coffee shops make great neutral territory, or ask to borrow a local colleague's conference room. If it's a good client, it's worth the trip.

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