While there is still a surge of lawyers going solo, many solo attorneys are finding success by developing a niche practice area (or areas). Many times, working in a niche area can be frustrating because of the high number of clients you have to turn down or refer to another attorney.
When you are making referrals, however, make sure you market yourself by explaining your practice area.
Tell them what types of cases you handle
I practice consumer rights law, but I generally only handle two types of cases. Up to this point, I have had enough work to keep me busy just handling those two types of cases. I still get a fair number of phone calls about other issues: auto fraud, repossession, and other assorted consumer complaints.
Before I refer clients to another attorney that can help them, I always give my elevator speech and tell them what types of cases I do handle: I sue debt collectors when they harass consumers and I also defend consumers in debt collection lawsuits. It’s hard to be more succinct than that.
You may uncover a case you can handle while making the referral
On more than one occasion this has led to a potential client turning into an actual client. Some potential clients immediately bring up another situation, completely distinct from whatever they called about, and have a case I can handle.
On other occasions, those potential clients call back weeks later, or even refer a friend to me just because I took ten seconds to explain what types of cases I can help with. I admit that it felt a little weird at first, but then I realized how important it is. If you do not take the time to explain your area of law, that potential client will never remember you—because there was nothing to remember.
Make the most of every potential client contact and it will pay off down the road.