How Collaborative Law Professionals Can Attract Clients- Four Strategies for Success

At the 11th annual International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) Networking forum, Kevin Fuller and I gave a workshop on Influencing the Influencers. The workshop was about engaging thought leaders and high influencers to embrace the value of Collaborative Law and promote word of mouth marketing. 

Who are the influencers?

·         Clients

·         The public at large

·         Professionals ( Financial, legal, mental health, clergy, education, health care)

Of these influencers, clients are the number one influencer for word-of-mouth marketing.

If clients do not experience positive results from the Collaborative Law process, no amount of media hype, social media attention or advertising will move it towards a tipping point.

What does this mean for Collaborative Law practitioners?

For Collaborative Law to reach the masses, I believe practitioners need to reframe the question:

From: How do I get clients to want Collaborative Law?

To:   What do Collaborative Law clients want?

This means shifting the focus from lawyers, the practice group, the team and the features of Collaborative Law to maximizing the client experience through positive results.

One of the opportunities for growing a Collaborative Law practice is through effective word-of-mouth marketing.

Satisfied clients and successful outcomes will produce powerful word-of-mouth marketing and change the way clients think about resolving conflict.

Four Strategies

The following are four strategies designed to focus on the "client experience."

1.       Check your ego at the door. This is not about the lawyers, the practice group, the collaborative team or the features of Collaborative Law. It is about the client. By looking at the situation from the client’s point of view, clients will sense your authenticity in wanting to help them to solve their problem.   For example, clients will not resonate with the value of the interdisciplinary team until they understand how the collaborative team will help them achieve their most important goals.

2.       Focus on the results the clients want to achieve. For Collaborative Law to grow, clients need to see how the process will help them achieve the best results. Kevin Fuller of Koons Fuller and Jim Galvin of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck are sought-after family lawyers who get great results for their clients through Collaborative Law. Referrals sources and clients seek out Kevin and Jim because of their reputation for getting positive results for clients.

3.       Communicate your your expertise in solving client’s high priority problems. Rather than focus on the description of Collaborative Law in your web site, talk about how you help clients minimize stress in divorce, avoid financial ruin or protect children from the pain of conflict.

4.       Provide exceptional  service and target the right influencers. In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin brilliantly summarizes how the rules of marketing have changed. I believe these rules apply to marketing legal services.

The old rule was: Create safe ordinary products (services) and combine them with great marketing.

The new rule is: Create Remarkable products (services) that the right people seek out.

Everyone trained in Collaborative Law Practice can accelerate the growth of their practice. You can build a practice that makes a positive difference in the lives of your clients and their families while providing a fulfilling and profitable practice . Take a moment to think about the way you look at your practice. Ask what a Collaborative Law client wants and do everything possible to be sure that  you are over-delivering on helping clients achieve their most important goals.

I would like to hear from you, let me know if you agree or disagree with my comments on accelerating the growth of Collaborative Law. What is working/not working for you and your Collaborative Law colleagues?


Note: To listen to a pod-cast on communicating the collaborative law message go to the IACP web site  , Login as a member, click on Streaming Audio Library and go to February 24, 2010: “Educating Your Community about Collaborative Practice” Presented by Kevin Fuller and Elizabeth Ferris 

Overcoming the Temptation to "Take Any Client"

This week I wrote a blog post about how the choices we make today determine our success in the future. Today I read Seth Godin’s blog , Take What You Can Get? and he eloquently reinforced this message.

Godin talks about the temptation we face to take what you “can get” when your practice is struggling or the economy is slow.

We can all relate to this temptation:

• You want to build your Collaborative Law practice and meet your monthly revenue quota; you receive a call from a prospective client who wants to “crush” their former spouse. They want you to represent them in high-conflict litigation. Do you take the case?

• Your law firm’s value proposition is to solve problems for clients who have high asset/ complex family law cases. The only clients you have been attracting recently want the cheapest divorce possible and don’t care much about the depth of your expertise. Do you take these clients?

Without question, anyone who is in business will experience these temptations. What will separate you from the pack is how you choose to respond.

In Seth Godin's blog post he  suggests the following:

"There are two things worth remembering here:

1. Like bending a sapling a hundred years before the tree is fully grown and mature, the gigs you take early will almost certainly impact the way your career looks later on. If you want to build a law practice in the music industry, you'll need to take on musicians as clients, even if the early ones can't pay enough. If you want to do work for Fortune 500 companies, you'll need to do work for Fortune 500 companies, sooner better than later.

2. The definition of "can get" is essential. Maybe it seems like this gig or that gig is the best you can get because that's all you're exposing yourself to. Almost always, the best gig I could get is shorthand for the easiest gig I could get."

You can avoid the “can get” trap by knowing what success looks like for you and exposing yourself to the people, clients and cases that will move you toward your desired results.

I would like to hear about the temptations you face in your practice and your strategies or challenges for overcoming these temptations.