The Number 1 Challenge for Growing a Collaborative Practice

Last month, I conducted a survey on how to grow your Collaborative Practice. 100 people responded to the survey.

 The number one response to the question, “What is your greatest challenge for growing your Collaborative Practice?” was “Getting Clients.”

The top four challenges included:

1. Getting clients
2. Finding the time
3. Educating the public
4. Educating lawyers

Challenges about "getting clients" included:

  • Finding clients who want to engage in collaborative solutions to divorce
  • Finding clients with a mind set for collaborative divorce
  • Getting clients to choose collaborative divorce
  • Convincing clients the up- front costs are worth it.
  • Attracting clients who are willing and able to move forward with the collaborative process

How do you attract clients who want Collaborative Law to your practice?

It is far easier to build a collaborative practice by attracting clients who already have a world view consistent with the principles of Collaborative Practice than trying to “convince” someone who may not have an interest in a collaborative approach.

The first step to have a clear understanding of who your target client is and then develop a plan to consistently communicate a relevant and compelling message to your target audience.

The following are four strategies for attracting clients to your collaborative practice:

1. Define your target client. Clearly define the characteristics or your ideal client. What are their hopes, dreams, problems and fears? Think about your actual collaborative law clients. What were their goals? What was an important outcome for them in their divorce? Write down the characteristics of your ideal client.

2. Demonstrate your knowledge on how to solve your target clients problem, Leverage social media, including blogs, LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter to write about the problems and solutions for your target market. For example, if your target client is someone who has been in a long term marriage and wants to protect important relationships, write about the challenges of divorcing after 25 years of marriage and how to address those challenges. 

3. Focus your web site content on the solutions for your target client. Does your web site immediately communicate who you help and how you solve problems for the clients you want to attract to your practice? Or does it convey an all things to all people message? The more focused your message, the more successful you will be in attracting desirable clients to your practice. If you want to attract clients who value a less destructive approach to divorce, communicate this in your web site content and headlines.

4. Educate your professional network on who is your "ideal client." Let your referral sources know the characteristics of your best clients. Inform your referral sources on the client problems you excel at in solving. For example, if you are a skilled negotiator and know how to help clients avoid destruction in divorce, tell your referral sources. Convey stories about the clients you helped and the outcome of those cases.

Once you clarify your target client and create a plan to effectively communicate the solutions you offer, you will begin to attract more clients who value what you do best.

What strategies are working for you to attract clients who value Collaborative Law?

View additional articles and information on building your Collaborative Practice.

How to Spread The Word About Collaborative Law

 Last week I was in England and participated in the launch of Collaborative Law week, a week of educational events, articles and activities dedicated to raising the profile of Collaborative Law in the West of England. The week, organized by Collaborative Family Lawyers, began with a networking event in Bristol attracting over 100 professionals.

The networking event included brief presentations to educate referral sources on the value of Collaborative Law. I gave an introduction on how to attract clients to Collaborative Law, his Honour Judge Barclay gave an endorsement of Collaborative Law and told a compelling story on how children are negatively impacted by high conflict divorce and Collaborative Lawyer, Richard Sharp talked about the benefits of Collaborative Law from the client’s perspective citing quotes from satisfied clients.

 The event was a huge success, because five things occurred.

1.     The program included a “sticky message.” All presentations, videos and handouts focused on the value proposition of Collaborative Law. Everyone in attendance walked away knowing what Collaborative Law is, who it is was for and how it benefitted clients.

2.     Attendees were influencers in the business community. Each POD member was asked to invite 10 top referral sources to the event. The referral sources were high level professionals who wanted to network with other high level professionals and learn about resources for better serving their clients. 

3.     The excitement about Collaborative Law was contagious and created a “power of context” environment that influenced professionals to want to learn about Collaborative Law and get involved. I personally met two financial advisors who wanted to learn how to become part of the Bristol POD.

4.     Collaborative Family Lawyers leveraged social media to “spread the word.” The successful campaign included:

a.      Collaborative Law You Tube video

b.     Bath Lawyers promote Collaborative Law week You Tube video

c.      Collaborative Divorce News Blog

d.     Face book pag

e.      A Collaborative Law twitter profile

f.      Revised web site to include relevant compelling content for divorcing and separating couples

5.     Collaborative Professionals worked together to make the program a success. The Launch initiatives were led by Collaborative Lawyer Peter Berry who inspired members in the West of England PODs to make a contribution to the event. Julia Smart, a Collaborative Lawyer in Bristol said, “The event brought us together because we were all working on a project that was important to us and our practice.”

With over 30,000 trained Collaborative professionals in 24 countries, we have the opportunity to move Collaborative Law towards a tipping point. This will require Collaborative Professionals to work together to effectively spread the Collaborative Law message in a way that is relevant, meaningful and speaks to the goals and interests of clients and referral sources.

Has anyone else participated in a successful Collaborative Law event? If so tell me your story.