How to Get Started in Your Legal Niche as a New Lawyer

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 6, 2018

Jul 6, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

You've just graduated from law school, have excellent academic credentials, and even have a few offers from firms within your legal niche.

You might think that you're doing pretty well for yourself and that you're well on your way towards a comfortable career in the legal field.

However, you need to be aware that, as the legal market becomes more and more oversaturated, you'll have to work harder than ever if you want to make it as a new lawyer.

What does it take to both get noticed in your legal niche, and create the kind of solid foundation that allows you to consistently climb the career ladder?

Keep on reading this post to find out.

From helping you to better see your legal practice as a business to finding the right ways to make an impact on your community, we're giving you exclusive access to some of the most effective -- and lucrative -- tips for new lawyers.

1. First and Foremost: It's a Business

If you're a new lawyer, it can be easy to forget that, above anything else, your practice is a business.

Yes, you're passionate about what you do -- especially if you're building your career with pro bono work. However, don't let your emotions interfere with the most important reality you need to face.

Your law office is a business operation, and the people you represent are customers.

Like any business, you need to balance making decisions that strengthen your brand and reputation with the choices that allow you to stay afloat.

This means that you won't be able to take on every case you're offered. It means you'll have to hustle to get your name out there. It means that no one else on your team will be willing to work as hard as you when it comes to boosting your reputation.

Remember that every new relationship you form -- with clients or within your field -- is like an investment. Make sure you do everything you can to make that investment grow.

2. Pick a Location that Makes Sense

Another important piece of advice for new lawyers?

Whether you're starting your own practice or joining an existing one, location matters much more than you might think.

For example, let's say you want to become a stock market attorney.

This likely means that you'll need to live in a city that's a financial/banking hub, like New York City or even Charlotte, NC.

In other words, you need to be certain that there's a market for the kind of law that you want to practice. To discover more about what clients expect from a stock market attorney, visit the Savage Law website.

Also, consider where you'd like to live in the future. Do you plan to stay within the United States, or would you like to one day be able to move abroad?

Where you want to put down roots will greatly influence the kind of law that you practice. So, after you finish law school, don't just move to the first place you stumble across or where the rest of your family lives. Take your time, and find an area that needs your specific legal expertise.

3. Create a Strong Online Presence

As a young lawyer, you've likely grown up fully understanding just how much of an influence the Internet can have on your reputation.

And while there are lots of specific rules and regulations surrounding how you can market yourself online as an attorney, there is enough wiggle room for you to create a website that can bring you more clients and establish you as a force to be reckoned with in your community.

Start by outlining your legal history and educational credentials on your website. Make sure your bio lists your legal niche, how many years you've been in practice, your case outcomes, and where you studied.

Once site visitors know a little bit more about you as a professional, it's time to prove your authority and expertise.

Do this by creating a legal blog (making sure that you include disclaimers indicating that what you write about shouldn't be taken as legal advice.)

You can explain how the laws work, outline the potential punishments and fines for specific offenses, and tell people when they can represent themselves vs. when they should hire professional legal help.

You could even create a legal podcast or YouTube video series that explains in laymen's terms some of the more complicated legal concepts that your clients may face.

Not only is a strong online presence an awesome way to build your reputation -- it can also help you to make a little extra income in the process.

For example, we suggest writing a downloadable eBook and putting it up behind a paywall.

4. Make the Right Connections Early

In the legal profession, it's all about who you know.

Getting into the right circles can help you to learn about professional opportunities, ensure that you're always up-to-date on the latest industry buzz, and even help you to learn about people looking for representation.

Attend as many industry events as you can -- and even consider speaking at a few of them yourself.

You should also think about joining legal guilds, associations, and other clubs relating to the legal profession.

Becoming a part of an association like the National Lawyers Guild or the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers won't just help you to learn more about your specific legal niche.

It will also help you to make in-person connections with other professionals, who may be able to help you to get the outcome you want in future cases.

5. Be Personable

Especially in the legal profession, reputation is everything.

But some of our most important advice for young lawyers relates to how you should carry yourself, and how to strike the right balance between confident and successful and arrogant and charlatan-like.

After all, the last thing that you want to do is end up coming across like a used car salesman.

This means that you should dress professionally at all times, but that you should leave the flashy jewelry and over-the-top expensive briefcases at home.

Remember that you'll be meeting potential clients during consultations -- many of whom will come from difficult or even impoverished backgrounds. You need to be sure that you make them feel heard, respected, and as your equal.

You also need to be able to simply explain complicated legal concepts, while persuading them to take the advice you're giving them.

This means you should be patient, have excellent (and prompt) communication skills, and truly make your clients feel listened to and valued.

This won't just make you more helpful to clients. Having superior personal skills can also help you to convince a judge and jury in the courtroom.

6. Give Back to your Community

Finally, especially as a new lawyer, you need to work to show your local community that you care.

This goes way beyond pro bono work alone.

We suggest that you host an event, raise money for a local charity, or even speak at a legal seminar or lecture in your city. First of all, this is an awesome way to get your name out there.

But it also builds a strong sense of trust between you and your potential clients. It shows that you understand and care about where they come from and that you want to work to help make it better.

Things like sponsoring a local sports team, sending out mailings and submitting your name to local business directories, or even volunteering to clean up the neighborhood park are all excellent places to start.

You might be surprised by just how much of an impact small gestures like this can have.

Being a New Lawyer Means Being Proactive

Finally, as a new lawyer, you need to be certain that you have a level of independence that's second to none.

Remember, no one is going to chart your professional course, or care about your overall professional development, other than yourself.

The best attorneys are persuasive, driven, and know how to market themselves within the right community.

They also start looking for ways to break into their legal niche and widen their network as soon as is possible.

We can help you with that part of the equation.

Whether you're looking to connect with the right internship, or if you're ready to accept an entry-level position at a competitive firm in your area, we want to connect you with the right opportunities.

Be sure to check out our job postings to learn more, and come back to our blog to understand how to make your application stand out.