The world does not need more general practitioners. What is needed, and what good clients are willing to pay a premium for, is deep knowledge and expertise in narrow practices and industries. While being a generalist may make you relevant to all, being an expert makes you indispensable to some. You don’t need me to tell you what category you want to be in.
In consulting with and coaching lawyers, one of the issues I frequently run into is that many lawyers desire a specialist practice, but are unsure how to go about building it.
As a starting point, I recommend a bit of introspection and self-examination.
If you are struggling to carve out a niche, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What type of work do you enjoy doing?
- Do you have experience doing the work you enjoy for clients in a growing industry?
- Are you genuinely interested in learning more about the legal and business issues concerning a particular industry?
- Are their mentors within your firm who you can model yourself after?
- Can you leverage your past experience to bring new perspectives to a new industry?
- Can you quickly and easily answer questions, and provide advice, on basic issues in your area of purported expertise?
- What are three trends that are transforming the industry you serve? Are there any legal solutions that can help clients overcome the challenges, or seize the opportunities, that these trends present?
- What legal issues and questions are you passionate and interested in?
- What insights could clients and prospective clients benefit from?
- How can you learn and/or validate what those insights are?
Want to dive deeper into these issues? Pick up a copy of my new book — One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Practice.