8 ways lawyers can best differentiate themselves


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As an attorney, you know who you are and why you began practicing law. 

Let me ask you this, though: Do your clients and potential customers know these facts? 

Your story — who you are, where you came from and what you’ve gone through — inform your unique value proposition, which is what makes you different from the competition. 

In my book, The Game Changing Attorney, I write that without a unique value proposition, you’re just another lawyer among dozens in the eyes of potential clients. 


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Follow these eight steps for effectively communicating your value proposition and setting yourself above those dozens of competitors.

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1. Use as few words as possible

One of my clients, a solo practitioner, prided himself in offering a boutique-level client experience. His level of care and attention to detail were second to none. The problem was that he kept getting overlooked because he represented such a small firm. 

We helped him craft a message that accounted for both his firm size and his work’s quality in just six words: “Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results.” 

If you can’t explain what you do in simple terms, don’t expect your audience to get what you’re about. Try connecting with a familiar concept and making a positive association.

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2. Admit that you’re not in the business you think they are

Attorneys generally assume that they’re in the business of providing legal services, but it’s more than that. The best dentists don’t clean teeth; they create incredible smiles. If you want to stand out, you need to be about more than providing legal services. 

You’re in the business of helping people through difficult times, of offering guidance and support. These are the real reasons clients reach out to you. 

If all they had was a pure, somehow abstract legal need, they’d head over to LegalZoom. Your unique value proposition shows that you’re more than a commodity and more than a provider of legal services.

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3. Stop marketing to other lawyers

Many attorneys feel like they have to keep up with the Joneses. If Attorney X won an award recently, Attorney Y better win two. Just remember that all those awards you’ve won don’t mean much to your clients. When you’re looking at potential dentists, do you base your decision on the amount of awards and certifications they have on the wall? 

Or, do you rely on more tangible things, like customer reviews and testimonials? 

You may think that your years of experience, awards and big wins in the courtroom are selling points, but unless you’re marketing to other lawyers, they don’t mean much. 

There are technical methods of reaching a broader audience, too.

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4. Know the difference between entertaining and educating

Airing a bunch of commercials in a banana suit may sound like a good way to draw clients. If your goal is to entertain, then power to you. Just remember that getting people to like you isn’t the same as getting them to trust you. 

Attracting attention with a little entertainment is fine, but don’t overdo it. Use your time to educate customers and clients about what you do and what you stand for.

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5. Go after your ideal clients

You’re not going to get every client on the planet, but you also don’t have to. You just have to get your ideal client. There’s nothing wrong with building a legal practice that focuses solely on (and caters to) your ideal clients. 

After all, they tend to be your best clients, right? 

Focus on landing the clients that connect with you. If you try to connect with everyone and appeal to every audience, you’ll find it hard to engage with your ideal client.

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6. Be authentically you

I’m not for everyone. I sometimes rub people the wrong way when I speak. That’s okay. I don’t want to work with clients who get offended when I say that their “Super Lawyer” award doesn’t matter to prospective clients. 

When considering your message, your first consideration is whether it authentically represents you. If you’re trying to play it safe, you’re not going to stand out. 

Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Be authentic about who you are and prioritize the elements of your personality, values and culture that will connect with prospective clients.

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7. Go all in

When marketing yourself as an attorney, your job is all about differentiation and giving people a reason to care about you. Your job is to communicate your value — not in the services you offer, but in the experience of working with you. 

When it comes to the attention-resource cycle, it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got or how much of it you’re spending on marketing. When you’re competing with others who may have more resources, your story is your best way to help you stand out. You may not have anything else, but you can go all in with what you’ve got.

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8. Keep at it

When you’ve got your message, it becomes the differentiator you can use throughout all of your marketing. Until you’ve drilled down on your message and know it inside and out, don’t bother spending any money on marketing — not on Facebook, not on billboards. 

Two businesses can run an ad campaign, spend the same amount of money and put their ads in the same place. The one with the better message will win because your “why” is your “differentiator.” It forms the basis of your culture, performance and client relationships. Use it everywhere you can.

Michael Mogill is the founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group and the author of the The Game Changing Attorney. He’s helped thousands of attorneys — from solo and small firms to large practices — differentiate themselves from competitors and earn millions in new revenue.

This article was adapted from The Game Changing Attorney and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.