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No Time to Market Your Firm? Here’s Some Quick Tips

By Jeffery Leon

September 6, 2017

Headshot---Mary-Ellen-Hickman-Web-StoryOne of the biggest challenges for small firms is marketing themselves correctly. Attorneys in small or solo firms juggle a lot of different tasks, and connecting with the right clients is among one of the trickiest. Mary Ellen Hickman, a business and marketing strategy consultant and the head of Hickman Consulting Partners, helps law firms and businesses create effective marketing strategies with measurable results. Here, Hickman shares more tips from her Small Firm Lunch and Learn program, “Help, I Have No Time for Marketing,” on July 27, presented by the D.C. Bar's Practice Management Advisory Service. 

‘Find That One Thing’

Hickman says attorneys need to highlight and emphasize their strongest talents and what they can do best.

“As an attorney, you deliver your services, and you’re good at something. Find that one thing, not the top four or five things, but that one thing you’re great at and love to do. Focus on that service, then figure out where in this market you can find your audience,” Hickman says.

The Five Questions

When clients come to Hickman for marketing help, she tells them there are five essential questions attorneys need to ask themselves to find the best clients:

  • Who needs you? 
  • Who values what you do? 
  • Who can afford to pay you, and who is willing to pay your price? 
  • Who is easiest enough to persuade? 
  • Who is easiest to work with? 
Once an attorney can answer these questions, it becomes easier to narrow the potential audiences to which to market.

Pricing, Pricing, Pricing!

Attorneys often believe that discount pricing is needed to gain a foothold in the market. Hickman’s advice? Pick your price and stick by it.

“I ask an attorney, ‘Are you good at what you do?’ and they’ll say, ‘yes.’ Well, if you are, why are you discounting? Why are your services not worth the money? If your client doesn’t actively refuse to hire you because of your price alone, your price is not high enough. You should be rejected due to that one out of five times,” Hickman says.

Attorneys should not devalue their services or take on clients who choose them because of a discount, instead of their quality and commitment to their services. Don’t sell yourself short!

Just Say No

Don’t be afraid to say no! Hickman says a common mistake by new firms is to take on cold calls for advertising or providing sponsorship for random events. Don’t be swayed; there are better methods and avenues to present yourself or your firm.

Measure Your Investment

Once you’ve put your marketing plan into action, measure your return on investment by looking at the time, cost, and return of each marketing tactic. Evaluate if the tactic has been successful or if it needs to be tweaked. Hickman advises to optimize the tactics with positive results, and cut the bad ones. Take your top two or three tactics and focus on them.