Tag Archives: New Lawyers

New Lawyer Practice Series Part 2: Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Law

Here is the second part of our blog series entitled: Developing and Funding  a Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Practice.

In this post we will take a look into the other areas of Personal Injury Legal Marketing.

Existing and Past Clients

Past and existing clients are an excellent source of referral business. When someone has been seriously injured in an accident, their friends, family, acquaintances and neighbours generally know about it.  If one of these people subsequently suffers an injury in an accident they are likely to turn to the person that they know has gone through the same experience for guidance.  If the person is still an existing client of yours and you have been doing a good job on their behalf, the referral should come easily.  Past clients on the other hand are a different story.  They are potentially a huge source of word of mouth business that grows over time as your practice expands, but too many lawyers neglect to maintain any form of relationship with past clients once they have completed their file.  You need to create an opportunity to remind your past client of your name and address.  Remembering this is an easy task for the first several years after file completions, but becomes increasingly difficulty after a number of years.  Your past client may simply assume that you have changed address or that you may not still be practicing personal injury law and not want to bother you with a referral.  Maintaining a data base of past clients who you send a firm newsletter or holiday card to is an easy task and helps to remind people that you are still alive, well and practicing personal injury law.

Health Care Practioners

In the same way that an injured person seeks out someone that they know who has been through an accident related injury, so to do people seek out community health care practioners who are known to have experience with treating accident victims.  Local physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors and family doctors are commonly asked to recommend a lawyer.  Developing a strategy to become one of the lawyers on their “list” is crucial to nurturing this type of referral business.  Generally, these people are busy and are not likely to be interested in simply going for lunch with you.  However, if you can provide a value added service to them by way of a lunch and learn seminar, you will have a much easier time getting their attention.  Look for opportunities to write a paper that explains something new that will be important to their practice and then call the person in charge and ask if they would be interested in having you discuss your paper with their group.  The recent changes to the auto insurance Regulations is a perfect example.  Our office routinely puts on seminars and webinars for health care practioners where hundreds of people attend or watch online. 

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New Lawyer Practice Series Part 1: Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Law

This is the first of a series of blogs on Developing and Funding a Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Practice.

Starting a plaintiff’s personal injury practice from the ground up is not an easy thing to accomplish for a number of reasons.  First, there is a considerable amount of competition amongst the plaintiff’s personal injury bar.  Attracting potential new clients to the firm is a challenge for all lawyers including ones who have been in the practice for many years and who have a number of established relationships.  You will need a clear and focused marketing strategy if you intend to build a successful personal injury practice.

Second, most people who practice plaintiff personal injury have a large component of their cases in the area of motor vehicle litigation.  The majority of serious personal injuries take place in the automobile.  As most of you will know, Ontario has a unique set of no-fault rules and these rules change periodically.  The practice is very paper intensive and you will need to develop various systems for document gathering and file development for your practice to flourish.

Third, you will need to develop a strategy for dealing with the significant financial demands of establishing your practice.  Since nearly all plaintiff personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, you essentially have no choice but to do the same.  This means that you will have to be prepared to wait to be paid for your services until the conclusion of a case while at the same time dedicating the resources necessary by way of time and disbursements to develop your files appropriately.

Lastly, once your firm begins to enjoy some success, you will inevitably begin to suffer growing pains as you try to attract and retain your firms most important assets; its people.

Marketing Your Practice

Standing out from the crowd is one of the most significant challenges you will face when trying to establish your personal injury practice.  Marketing your practice will not happen overnight, but it can be accomplished if you develop a plan and remember to dedicate a certain number of hours to executing that plan each and every week (even when you start to get busy).  It is easy to begin to feel overwhelmed with the work that you have now, but you always have to consider what is going to happen two or three years down the road if you are not opening at least as many files as you are closing.

Like most people, I religiously tracked (and continue to track) where each and every client got my name.  I soon realized that all of my business came from one of four sources:

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