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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Strategies for Growing Your Solo and Small Firm Practice


By Sarah Van Voorhis, Van Voorhis & Sosna LLP


In early August, BASF’s Solo and Small Firm Committee presented a seminar entitled, “Strategies for Growing Your Practice” specifically focusing on small firms or the solo practitioner. Committee Chair Michael Sweet and executive committee member/presenters Kimberly Kralowec, Raj Jha, Kevin Rose and I discussed using the internet for marketing; alternative billing strategies; and how to get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

Internet Marketing Works
Approximately 50 percent of newer practices (less than four years old) report that they obtain clients with their website. By delivering information about your firm effectively via your website to prospective clients and other professionals, you will set yourself apart in your practice area.

Blogging is a valuable way to stand out and to make a contribution to your practice area. Know your audience and post consistently. Most importantly, choose a niche that you are passionate about. Regular, quality posts will prompt others to link to your blog and/or website.

Offer Alternative Billing Options
Another way to stand out is to consider offering alternative fees, such as subscription billing (a monthly subscription payment for legal fees). There is a lot of interest in alternative fees by both attorneys and clients, but very few firms implement alternative fee arrangements. Raj Jha’s firm, Smithline Jha LLP, implemented subscription billing two years ago to great success. According to Raj, everyone wins: it has offered certainty to the clients and efficiency and profitability to the firm. Most importantly, it has resulted in a closer relationship between attorney and client.

Referrals and Networking
The presenters survey showed that the primary sources of new clients for 60 percent of newer practices are other attorneys and professional networking. Ninety percent of those attorney relationships developed through networking and years of practice. Because the practice of law is a referral-based business, every contact made is a potential source of clients. When encountering other attorneys, be respectful, be a good advocate and be magnanimous.


Missed the in-person program?

“Strategies for Growing Your Practice” is available in on-demand video and podcast. Purchase now.

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