What They Didn’t Teach You in Law School #14: How to Define Your Ideal Client

Last week, I told you about a 3L student who listed an ad on Craigslist seeking employers who matched his criteria for a perfect boss. Instead of accepting a job that did not meet his standards, this student decided to put his likes and dislikes on the table before taking a job from just anyone.

Similarly, attorneys should define their ideal client if they want to attract the type of clients who cultivate business success and career satisfaction. While a new solo may be tempted to put out blanket ads and accept every client with every type of legal issue, this business plan could lead to problems down the road. In order to attract the ideal client, you need know what that ideal looks like.

How to define your ideal client:

  • Take a look at your old client files and look for the clients you enjoyed working with the most. Did you have any star clients? If so, flag their file for review.
  • Ask yourself why those clients and cases were so great. Were you working on a particular issue or area of law? Did the client pay on time and listen to your advice? Did the client communicate effectively via a particular medium-email, calls, texts, your VLO platform? Did the client share similar values, ethics or beliefs with you? Did you enjoy working with a specific demographic?
  • Define your ideal client in terms of a niche. In other words, does your ideal client reflect a particular type of person or a group? Take a look at your old clients and sift their files for similarities. Don’t limit yourself to information only relevant to their cases. Dig a little deeper: Do most of your star clients share the same hobby, vote for the same parties, or practice the same religions? Are they medical professionals, small business owners, corporate executives, or retirees?
  • Compare your ideal client/niche to available markets and networks in your geographic practice area. Are their enough people in your geographic market to justify pursuing your ideal client? If not, see if you can define another niche that fits well with the characteristics of your ideal client. Do you have access to networking opportunities, referrals and introductions? If not, try working with an marketing company or advertiser that targets particular markets, personalities, demographics and other consumer-based factors.