While the idea of casting a wider net might theoretically make you think you’ll catch more fish, the truth is that this isn’t always true in business. When it comes to acquiring customers, the more you target a certain type of customer, the higher your success rate and the more skilled you are at what you do. The exercise of the right is no exception. In today’s world, more and more law firms are recognizing legal specialization as a necessity for developing their target market. Not only customers benefit from this, but also lawyers.
Benefits for Lawyers
Better customer relationships
By specializing in a legal field, you know your niche well, be it corporate law, healthcare law, criminal law, environmental law or international law. As a certified specialist, you can represent your clients in the best possible way and get to the heart of the problem better. Exclusive specialization also means that you are well informed about all the latest updates, news, legal issues, strategies and changes in this area of law. Compared to a general understanding of the law, this is a huge benefit for your clients as you offer bespoke legal advice tailored to their circumstances. A law firm that has handled hundreds of similar cases to its clients can anticipate and navigate the nuances of such a case at a much deeper level than someone who does not have the same type of experience.
As an expert in a very specific area of law, you effectively position yourself as an easy choice to make against a competing attorney with a more general approach. Essentially, your competitor pool shrinks significantly. General practice attorneys with a wide range of practice areas will compete with any other law firm within a ten mile radius (or more). However, if your law firm specializes in marine accidents, you are likely one of the few options, if any, in your particular region, which can reduce your marketing costs and potentially increase the volume of client acquisition for that legal specialization. Assuming your reputation is top-notch, the more accurately you can describe your legal services, the harder it is for the competition to keep up.
Law firms that choose to specialize not only attract attention, but are often featured in publications related to their area of practice. The more you can partner with local businesses related or neighboring to your area of expertise, the greater your sphere of influence. For example, if your practice focuses solely on estate planning for the wealthy, you will likely choose to leave business cards where the wealthy inevitably spend time, such as country clubs, civic clubs, or auctions. Get creative with candidates in your referral network; it pays off over the life of your business.
As the saying goes, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life again.” When deciding what you want to specialize in, consider an area that inspires you more emotionally and emotionally even on a philanthropic level. One of the perks of choosing a niche is doing something you genuinely enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis. Not only will you get a real sense of accomplishment on the best days of your job, but clients can easily sense when your field of activity grew out of a true passion of yours. Besides, it is always It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big one.
Expertise means becoming a thought leader in your area of law. Of course, mastery requires experience. Attorneys who jump between different types of cases are not as familiar with the nuances and challenges as someone who handles the same type of legal representation every time. While it’s always a good idea to get legal protection insurance, specializing in a niche field can also reduce the chances that your law firm will need to use it. When you’re recognized as an expert in your field, not only do you gain more customers, you gain more referrals through customer trust.
Doing the same workflows and legal documents over and over again in quick succession means faster completion because you know them inside out. This allows specialist lawyers to master the administrative side of running their law firm in a fraction of the time.
In today’s legal climate, more and more legal professionals are turning to automation tools to streamline repetitive processes like client onboarding and billing. Time-consuming document creation, for example, can now be completed in seconds instead of hours thanks to automated workflows.
If your practice is specialized, increase your value thanks to the power of referrals. Focusing on one type of case brings additional knowledge and experience to the table that clients crave, which in turn will refer you to their friends and family. Since 80% of a law firm’s business typically comes from referrals, the more targeted you are, the more word of mouth can benefit your practice.
As a result of your better understanding of the inner workings of specific cases, you will develop a reputation for delivering the results your clients want, ultimately increasing your overall profitability. The more experience coupled with efficiency you can offer, the more work you can take on and increase your overall revenue.
Benefits for customers
In return, when a client seeks out a legal expert who is knowledgeable and focused on their specific needs, they receive much better advice for their specific context. In addition to the legal support that a specialist offers, there is also a deeper understanding of the emotional needs of his client. For more turbulent cases, such as divorce cases or immigration issues, a specialized attorney can be a tremendous asset to the psychological well-being of those they have entrusted with their case.
Specialists have a broad network of other experts at their disposal, which they can use to the advantage of the customer. Because they have a more comprehensive list of contacts to support their case, clients have better access to leading experts who can offer related services and even strengthen their case.
Better success rate
There’s a reason GPs in the medical field don’t typically perform spine surgeries—because they require unique skills. The same logic can be applied to law. Lawyers who specialize in a particular area generally have a higher rate of winning or successfully arbitrating cases in court. Specialized attorneys who see the same types of cases day in and day out can offer a much higher success rate because of their experience and dedication. Those who hire specialist lawyers tend to feel more comfortable knowing they are in good hands when it comes to their legal proceedings.
When is a good time to specialize?
It can be nerve-wracking to dive into the specialization from a general legal focus, so it’s important that you read the space first. To ensure that your chosen specialization is delivering the demand you want, use the data you have to answer the following questions:
- What trends do you see in the types of cases you currently manage?
- What is your success rate in these cases?
- How satisfied were the customers?
- Which cases were the most lucrative for you?
If you find yourself taking on a significant number of cases that produce happy clients, that’s a good indication that specializing in this would be a good choice. If you feel like you don’t have the experience or knowledge to call yourself an authority in a particular niche anymore, then give yourself more time to grow.
Ultimately, there is no defining moment that is the same for every lawyer who decides to specialize. It all depends on how much talent and drive you have for one type of legal remedy.
How to identify your specialization niche
1Create a vision
Every success starts with a vision. Your vision is the foundation of your overall success and how you are perceived as a brand. When creating your vision, consider not only your skills, but also what drives you. How do you see yourself as a representative of your customers and what do you hope to achieve for them? Are you interested in a specific type of law, such as civil rights, intellectual property, or family law? What do you love about the legal profession and why? Let these answers guide you as you develop a vision of how you want to differentiate yourself.
2Think of your experience
First of all, it is not advisable to choose a niche in which you have no experience. Specializing in something you are not well versed in would not only lead to failure, but is also a risk for potential clients who decide to go your way.
One of the best tools you have to narrow down your choices is to consult with other more experienced attorneys and mentors. Ask them for advice based on personal stories, recommendations and experience-based guidance.
Talk to other attorneys who specialize in the area you’re considering and get their heads. Be direct and ask the questions that matter most:
- What are the biggest challenges in this area of law?
- What are the biggest rewards?
- What is the success rate?
- What are the long-term effects?
When you hear about the benefits that law firm specialization can offer, it can be tempting to jump head first. However, it is important to step back and evaluate all of your decisions. Weigh the pros and cons and return to your overall vision.
Rushing in too quickly can cause you to prematurely align yourself with something that ultimately prevents you from realizing your full potential and passions.
Choose a specialization and pursue it
There are many advantages of becoming a specialist lawyer. If you manage to find a niche and master it, you will not only have less competition, but you will also be more dedicated to the legal practice.