How to Choose Your Legal Niche

Written by Derek Bolen
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As a solo or small law firm practitioner, identifying and targeting a specific legal niche with your marketing materials and website content can be an incredible boon to your business—and a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. Suppose you’re marketing yourself as a legal generalist. In that case, it’s easy to get lost in the noise, but having a narrowly defined target market for your firm can drive greater client acquisition and establish you as a leader in a particular space.

With the benefits of a well-established niche practice in mind, how do you determine which niche is right for you once you’ve decided to specialize? Read on for tips on getting started.

1. Establish a legal niche that matters

A niche practice isn’t only rewarding financially—it can also be personally rewarding. When determining the niche you wish to service, it’s important to consider work you legitimately enjoy doing. To stay motivated, author Daniel Pink suggests finding an intrinsically rewarding niche. In other words, it’s best to find an internal motivation rather than external sources (like a big bag of money).

Finding a niche that provides you with purpose and meaning will go a lot further than simply choosing one based on profitability (though it’s great if you can combine the two). Take stock of the kind of law you enjoy practicing, the clients you love servicing, and what truly gives you meaning at the end of the day, and choose a focus based on those factors. The monetary rewards will follow.

2. See what’s trending

What legal niche services are clients in your market looking for? What trends are emerging that you might be able to capitalize on? Technology is opening up new avenues for attorneys to explore faster than ever—as long as they know where to look. Consider, as an example, that widespread domestic and commercial drone use was a sci-fi fantasy just a few years ago. A wealth of legal issues have come along with this development.

So how do you know where to find these trends? To start, stay on top of legal blogs to get an idea of emerging opportunities or practice areas.

Beyond that, Google Trends is an excellent tool for getting a granular look at what potential clients are searching for and potential demand for your services at a global, national, or municipal level (for example: ‘Intellectual property (IP) lawyers’ are in demand in Oregon and Texas, per the graph below). With this tool, you can even compare niche practice areas by search volume to see what’s trending upwards and what’s declining.

Interested in IP law? Read more about trademark docketing guidelines to get started.

3. Test your niche

Once you think you’ve identified your legal niche (or niches), you should be testing to see if there is some pick-up on your idea. Set up a quick PPC campaign, do some social media marketing, and write a few blog posts around niche topics to see if they get any traction. But don’t go overboard – for example: rather than redesigning your entire website, consider putting together some one-off landing pages focusing on your newfound areas of expertise. Network with other lawyers in your chosen niche to get advice and hear about their experiences. Use that advice to refine your strategy on attracting clients to get you started.

Not getting the reaction you expected? Consider that these may be niche areas because there isn’t enough business to wholly support them—then go back to the drawing board and start again. By continuing to research, refine, and optimize your approach, you’ll find your newfound niche success in no time.

Categorized in: Business, Marketing

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