“Niching down” is not a new concept. Nonetheless, it has become increasingly important to consumers in recent years. For law firms reaching out to clients, it remains an essential factor in their decision-making process.
Potential clients are not merely considering niche regarding practice area, but also concerning how lawyers manage cases. For instance, let’s say a personal injury attorney practices in an at-fault auto accident insurance state like California. Some drivers may be gung-ho about the litigation process. Other drivers may prefer to put the situation behind them.
Neither driver is likely very interested in settling the dispute for less money than the case is worth. However, there can be peace of mind by pursuing either avenue. So even if your law firm is proficient at getting fair settlements from insurance companies, you may be interested in playing up how skilled you are at litigating and trying cases before a jury.
Because legal clients prefer specialists, They like the comfort of knowing that their lawyer is great at something.
Furthermore, this can be a massive benefit to smaller firms that are still making a name for themselves and trying to separate their practice from well-known colleagues. If your law firm is competing against very well marketed and established firms, then separating yourself from the competition gives you a foothold in the field. It’s something you can stake your reputation on. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
A firm that markets itself as a Jack of All Trades will not do well convincing prospective clients that they are the best law firm to handle their case.
When you look at it from the client’s perspective, it makes complete sense. They only have one chance to litigate this case. They want the best firm to manage it.
A Brief Primer on Niching Down
We’ve established the ‘why’ of niching down. But what about the ‘how’?
Consider the fact that, much like medicine, the law is a highly specialized and esoteric industry. It’s not always apparent to a layperson who the best practitioner will be in their case. But how do specialists in the medical get patients? They get them through referrals.
Niching down means standing out not only to your clients but from your network of contacts and colleagues. For instance, a personal injury attorney who is adept at managing traffic accident cases may call in a specialist when the reason a traffic accident occurred was due to a defective tire. That attorney may have an expertise in litigating cases where defects in manufacturing techniques cause tires to blow out unsuspectingly or given certain conditions. In other words, their experts at litigating tire liability lawsuits.
It doesn’t matter if this individual handles other kinds of product liability or personal injury lawsuits. They are experts in the field of tire liability. For those who need to litigate a tire liability lawsuit, this guy is your man. People know that. They recommend him for such cases.
Figure out Your Niche
For some, figuring out their niche will be very easy. For others, it comes with great difficulty. Some fall into a niche through circumstance. None of this is necessarily good or bad. The best questions are:
- Which cases do you enjoy working on?
- What is the market like for those cases?
- What does the competition look like?
Choosing a specialty does not necessarily mean refusing cases that don’t fall into that specialty. It means finding one particular way for you to stand out above your peers.
Commit to Your Niche
Greatness comes from commitment. There can be no greatness without it. Nonetheless, people don’t always commit to the right things, and that leads them down a path they may later abandon. That’s not the worst consequence in the world. A worse outcome is going through life without committing to anything.
Once you’ve set the parameters and found a focus for your law firm, it’s time to exude that expertise in everything you do.
In other words, when you’re setting up your website, you want to make your niche the primary focus. You want to establish yourself as a leader in your field, theorize about essential cases, talk about the legal implications of important decisions.
It doesn’t matter that you’re taking cases that are outside of your niche. That’s okay. It’s the fact that you are establishing yourself as an authority in something and committing to that thing, that’s important.
It will take a while to build your brand as a legal professional. Patience is vital to the process.
Niching down is an effective way to build your brand. People are naturally drawn to experts. Even when your niche falls to the periphery of their case, they will appreciate the fact that you are an expert at something and a leader in your field of practice.
To make this work, however, you must understand how to correctly position yourself in an already existing market. Niching down into a saturated niche is not an effective strategy for a new firm.
Now, more than ever, law firms are being forced to think like businesses.