he Internet has been around for over twenty-five years as a business development tool for lawyers.
Early lawyers to the Internet built reputations and business, not with websites – they came later – but by networking through the Internet.
Networking meaning seeing where people gathered online, where they asked questions, where people exchanged information. The lawyers jumped in and helped.
Lawyers used Listserv’s, message boards, bulletin board systems and online communities, including America Online, Prodigy and Compuserv.
Those of us using the Internet and these mediums made hay on the business development front by networking through the Internet.
Other lawyers had not a clue, they had no idea how the Internet worked to build a reputation and land clients in our niches.
I was getting clients typically reserved for the larger firms with bigger names and far bigger marketing and communications budgets.
These lawyers couldn’t even see what we were doing. We were operating below the surface. We had a monopoly when it came to people and businesses seeking legal help in our niche areas of the law.
These were the golden days of business development through the Internet.
Before law firm websites. Before SEO, before “content marketing,” before newsletters, before web analytics measuring traffic and before social media.
How did lawyers and law firms achieve business development on the Internet then?
The smart lawyers, there were not that many, knew how to network through the Internet. They know how to go where other lawyers had not gone before – and where that vast majority of lawyers were not going.
Over twenty years later, Covid-19 and the pandemic represents the same opportunity for lawyers.
While most lawyers will be using the same tired tactics, with slight modifications, that they have been using for the last decade or more, smart lawyers will wake up.
They’ll ask how can I behave like the technology companies who are making hay during the pandemic by delivering solutions and products that businesses and people need now, not five years from now.
Tech companies are going to do more in the next year than they planned to do in the next four years. They have to.
Smart lawyers will realize they need to do exactly that. To do more business development – in a unique way – in the next eighteen months than they planned to do in the next ten years – if ever.
Business development success measured by the bottom line in six figures and seven figures of new revenue, per lawyer.
Researching what lawyers need to do for business during pandemic I found:
- Call clients more often
- Improve CRM systems
- Do webinars
- Write a business plan
- Use social media
That’s just a taste of the same old, same old. All okay, but things we all can agree are not unique – and certainly being used en masse before Covid-19.
Lawyers need to get below the surface. To network through the Internet in ways in which others have not a clue.
These lawyers are going to develop big books of business in niche areas of the law without ever leaving their home office or family room.
How so? Go back to the early days of the net. Focus on a niche reputation. Focus on developing strategic relationships.
Focus on getting the right platform, the right strategic consulting and the right support, not for marketing, in general, but in networking through the Internet.
I have a dog in this hunt.
Before social media, content marketing and web analytics, LexBlog realized that effective – and strategic – blogging was a killer approach to networking through the Internet for lawyers.
An approach measured by clear reputation and revenue goals.
What was the goal at one year? What was the goal at year two? Maybe define the goal as a life changing for individual lawyers – young or old.
Sixteen years in and blogging’s very unique role in business development has been watered down a bit. Shame on us.
LexBlog started to compete on our platform itself – the technology, the support and the syndication. All needed, but not what drives success for lawyers.
We drifted from doing what it takes to help make rockstars by tapping into the passion, smarts, care and experience of talented lawyers.
So it’s not just smart lawyers who can make hay during the pandemic, it’s LexBlog as well.