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When Starting a Law Practice, Avoid these 10 Costly Mistakes

So, you are starting a law practice, and you want to grow it to be a successful law practice, right? Well, you are not alone. As you read this, you may be in the same place I used to be. You want to grow your family law practice efficiently, yet you don’t want to waste your valuable resources making the wrong decisions. I have so been there!

There is much (mis)information about what to focus on. When starting a law practice, I focused on almost all the wrong things. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Jump to read the 10 costly mistakes to avoid when starting a law practice

Video: Watch Val Explain the 10 costly mistakes to avoid when starting a law practice

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#1 Costly Mistake To Avoid: 

Don’t Focus All Your Time, Energy, Expense and Effort on Your Business Card and Logo

When starting a law practice, most lawyers spend a lot of expense getting their business cards and logo created. Don’t get me wrong, having a business card is a GREAT idea, however, it does not have to cost in excess of thousands of dollars to have it all put together nicely. This is not where you should prioritize. Sure, have a business card and logo, but having a business card and logo does not create your business for you.

When I started my law practice, I had a very cool business card. It stood out, had great colour, and I loved the logo. But whoa, the expense I put into it was a lot. I literally spent hundreds of dollars on the logo and design. Then the cards themselves were very expensive to print. My time, effort and resources would have been better spent elsewhere, like, on a working website for example!

Having a business card and logo does not create your business for you.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#2 Costly Mistake To Avoid: 

Getting the wrong website – don’t have an inefficient, slow, ugly website that nobody can find.

When starting my law practice, I paid a fortune for a web designer to build a word press site that was so bad that when people Googled the exact name of my law firm, it would not show up on the results page!

It was also very slow, and looked terrible on mobile devices. My WordPress site was so buggy and slow, that when people did try to load the site, they would give up and go searching elsewhere for their divorce lawyer because it took so long.

Oh, and did I mention I also paid several thousands of dollars to have this very lame poor website? It was not until I signed up for Solo Build It and used their pros to assist me in web design did I have a quick and efficient website.

Here is my law firm’s website now:  Pathway Legal

Be the Best Divorce Lawyer (where I show other lawyers how to reduce lawyer stress and grow their family law practices)

The Better Divorce Project (where I show people going through separation and divorce strategies for success)

These three websites are fast loading, look great on mobile, and cost less than $1,500 to pay a web designer to build. Here is my affiliate link to Solo Build It (a very unsung hero in terms of websites efficiency and usability) if you wish to learn more about how to have a great-looking, quick-loading website.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#3 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t Count on Google Advertising as your sole source of leads

When starting a law practice spending some funds on Google advertising is not necessarily a bad idea, however, you should not have it be your only source of leads. The problem is that when you turn off your Google advertising, you turn off your new client acquisition. Also, if you do spend money on Google advertising, don’t think you can figure it out yourself. Use a well-qualified expert with great reviews. Don’t do what I did. I spent thousands of dollars per month on paid Google advertising, resulting in few, if any, new family law client leads.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#4 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t Get Convinced to buy advertising spots or sponsor an event where your potential clients don’t hang out!

When starting a law practice you will have people notifying you to advertise in their written or digital publications, and even to sponsor events. Don’t do what I did. Because these publications had lots of great statistics to show me, I thought the investment and resources spent would send me new clients.

The probem was that I often advertised in a publication or sponsored an event where none of the people needing my help would find me. I had no clue about family law marketing and ensuring that I was showing up in places where my potential clients would be hanging out.

For example, I did expensive ad placements in our local business paper, resulting in no leads whatsoever. It was a huge waste of money that I did not have.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#5 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades and MASTER of None!

When starting your law practice you are probably like most lawyers, that is, worried about where your clients are going to come from. You don’t want to turn your nose up at certain kinds of work because you want to stay busy. The problem is that if you say you do all kinds of work, that is not only family law, but real estate, criminal law, wills, estates, contracts, etc. it will actually turn potential new clients away. Why?? Do you ask?

Well, if you were needing specialized care in your life, would you go to a general practitioner or someone who specialized in what you need help with? People going through separation and divorce want to find someone who knows family law thoroughly and not someone who dabbles in it.

Because I wanted to get the work, I stated on my advertising and promotional material that my law firm did absolutely everything under the sun (family law, commercial law, real estate, bankruptcies, personal injury law, etc.) I was trying to appeal to everyone, and I appealed to nobody as a result. Don’t make this same mistake.

I was trying to appeal to everyone, and I appealed to nobody as a result. Don’t make this same mistake.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#6 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Focus on having a nice clean and well-presented office as opposed to expensive desks and marble, etc

When starting your law practice don’t get distracted by “shiny” things. For example, I spent a large amount of money on two marble signs ($!0,000++) that did absolutely nothing to increase my business. The expense for these signs certainly increased the amount of financial stress I was experiencing but did nothing else.

Not only did it make my law firm look exactly the same as everyone else’s, but these fancy and expensive signs also did nothing to increase the flow of clients coming to my office, increase my revenue, or increase my overall law practice’s efficiency.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#7 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t Think You Will Save Money By Building your Own Website.

When starting a law practice, so many lawyers neglect to get their websites up and running and functioning well. Over and over again, I hear the lawyerssay that they have to get around to learning how to build their website because they don’t want to spend funds hiring a professional to get it up and running. Then a year or two or five goes by and their website is still not functional. I see this issue over and over and over again.

This goes back to the “who” not “how” concept created by Dr. Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan. It means that rather than spending hours and hours trying to learn how to do something, saving the precious resource of your time and energy, by hiring/outsourcing someone who is an expert at what you need help with. 

As I write this, you can get a nice, clean, well-functioning site built for you for less than $1,500. Think about it. Isn’t that well worth the funds to get people coming to your law practice to hirei you? 

Hire a professional to get your website up and running. Your website does not have to be overly complicated or overly expensive. Take a look at my websites and you will see.  

Compare the small investment to the hours of your life it will save you  . . .

Hire a professional to get your website up and running. Take a look at my websites and you will see.  

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#8 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t forget to optimize the great software you have. 

When starting a law practice and running it well, most lawyers now know to get great software. Most lawyers get that they require software for client management, client intake, accounting, document production, timekeeping, document management etc. Yet, over and over again, lawyers get this great software and then fail to utilize it.

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when starting and running a law practice is that lawyers will invest in software, but then fail to invest in learning how to utilize it.

When I did this, I realized I had software that I was not optimizing and it also meant that I was paying for different pieces of software that did the same thing. For example, I used both Sharepoint and Clio. Clio did lots of things, including what Sharepoint did for me, however, because I was not utilizing Clio properly, I was paying for additional Sharepoint licenses across my whole team that I did not need. By the way, Clio rocks. Here is my affiliate link for it.

I wish I could say that this was a costly mistake I made when I first started my law practice, but, well, it was not so long ago. It is so important to continually upgrade and optimize.

When Starting a Law practice here is the
#9 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t spend a ton of time, energy, and money making sure your social media accounts everywhere are up and running . . .

When starting a law practice, most lawyers do a tremendously lame job of social media. If they do think social media is important, they have a smattering of social media scattered everywhere. They might have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, and maybe do some Instagram here and there. They focus on nothing in particular, and often let their social media efforts fail to be consistent within the first couple weeks or months.

First of all, pick one, JUST one social media stream or platform and get good at it! 

I suggest Google my Business! Google My Business is a sleeping giant source of potential clients who want to hire you. What do you do when you are looking for a product or service? You GOOGLE it! If your law practice has an optimized Google My Business profile (It is 100% free by the way), you will be well set to attract great clients! Don’t spend your resources where you don’t need to spent them.

Pick one JUST one social media platform and get good at it!

 When Starting a Law practice here is the
#10 Costly Mistake To Avoid:  

Don’t wait, hope and pray to get good reviews . . .
Make them happen! 

When starting a law practice most lawyers do not realize the absolutely profound importance of getting great client reviews. In our digital age, this is more important than ever. Now, the #1 reason people say they come to my law practice is because of the reviews that we get. The gigantic mistake and lost opportunity was that I used to lay back and hope for the best. I would have clients that were absolutely thrilled with my work, but they would rarely post their reviews anywhere. This went on for years.

Then, someone very smart said, “ask your thrilled clients for reviews and make it easy!” Now, when we have thrilled clients (and we mostly do), we ask for them to provide us a review and we make it very easy for them to provide us with a review. We send them a link! It is a free strategy that brings us tons of potential clients who want our help!

Now you have it! The (partial) list of my mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. 

Becoming a successful lawyer is easy, if you know how!

These 10 classic mistakes divorce lawyers are just the tip of the iceberg and I am sure I could write an entire website about the mistakes I and many other divorce lawyers have made, while they trying to grow a family law practice.

I've got even more detail on my page, The Real Qualities of A Successful Lawyer! See if you fit in!

Becoming a successful lawyer is easy, only if you know how!
This list of mistakes and what you can do to avoid them will help you stay on the right track on your path to success!

Ready to start your family law business? Choose the right journey for you!

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