MCLE Article: Getting Clients in the Door: How a Client Can Find the Door Even When It’s Off the Beaten Path
By Megan Meadows
Megan Meadows is an environmental attorney in Los Angeles working with state and federal environmental rules and regulations to support clients in navigating investigations and remediation, litigation, and administrative matters. Her firm covers a wide range of environmental matters at the local, state, and federal levels, and represents property owners, industrial businesses, and environmental non-profits.
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People fear things they don’t understand. When it comes to getting clients in the actual or proverbial door, having a practice that is oft misunderstood, like environmental law, can bring unique challenges. Within these niches, the potential clients often don’t even realize they have a legal problem at all, and if they do, they do not know what the practice area is, so they have no idea how to look for the right attorney. Furthermore, most really want to avoid dealing with a lawyer altogether. When you add all these elements together, it makes for a marketing problem. This makes it extremely challenging for the attorney to connect with, and market to, the clients that need their help. For example, in the world of environmental law, there is an assumption that attorneys only represent huge plaintiffs like counties and municipalities that have been injured by decades of toxic waste based on the maladministration of industrial companies. These perceptions, like many, can come from the media and movies, but the reality is that there are many types and sizes of clients that need guidance when attempting to navigate the intricacies of environmental law. When people outside the practice area don’t understand the scope of your practice, it’s impossible for them to identify a referral. If you have a firm with a very specific focus, how can people find you and what can you do to promote yourself in that quest within the bounds of professional and ethical conduct? This article will address some of the ways to market a niche practice and some of the rules to be aware of.