Nacht offers tips on 'growing your practice' at section meeting

By Frank Weir

Legal News

David Nacht is no stranger to the topic of "growing a law practice" having gone from a large firm to a solo and now to his current multiple-member partnership.

And he shared some of his expertise with the WCBA's Solo and Small Firm Practice section meeting last week discussing some ways for solos and small firms to build their practices.

After going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves and tell the room what they do, Nacht commented, "How you do what you just did is one of the most important skills you need to develop.

"Some people call it an 'elevator conversation.' The idea is to quickly convey to a stranger who you are and what you do so that information sticks in their heads. And you need to come across with credibility so they remember your name and what you do.

"You may have a wide variety of reasons of why you practice law and a lot of answers. But they are all irrelevant to the person you are selling.

"I just want everyone who knows me, and who might potentially refer me cases, to say, 'Oh, you've got an employment problem? Call Dave Ann Arbor.'"

Nacht shared that he is "a friendly guy and I meet a lot of people. It has become second nature for me to let people know what I do when I interact with them.

"I convey that I respect what I do, I take it seriously, and that I feel competent."

He notes that "you must always be selling your services in any environment that you are in and that might include through church, community organizations, parents of a child at a soccer field. It could be from anywhere."

He added that he doesn't mean sell "in a pushy way, but if a connection happens and it feels comfortable, have your card ready."

Other tips Nacht offered at that meeting:

--Anticipate cash flow problems. Most businesses fail for cash flow. You can't be certain when a settlement check will finally arrive. You must anticipate that you will be wrong about your cash flow and make sure you can meet your obligations anyway.

--Run your practice as a business: look for referrals from other attorneys, from people you know, look to advertising tailoring it to the specific class of client your practice accommodates; use marketing for institutional clients.

--Your time is valuable, don't waste it. If you don't have many clients, then spend time developing your expertise or marketing yourself.

--Don't be afraid to ask others for their help on an area of the law or a case if you've gotten as far as you can on your own. Offer to share a case you have with someone with more experience and take minimal billings from it. You'll learn how to handle future similar cases.

Published: Thu, Feb 17, 2011