Visibility Key to Gaining New Clients in Tough Market

, The Legal Intelligencer

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"There are a few different ways to get in the door without doing any kind of cold-calling, which never works," said David M. Kleppinger, chairman of McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg.

As with many types of relationships, sometimes the best way to meet someone is through a mutual friend, lawyers said.

"Client referrals are the best referrals you can hope for," Kleppinger said. "If one GC says to another, 'I just had the experience of a lifetime with McNees on this case that was very complex and they did a very good job,' that recommendation goes a long way."

Coburn said firms should not be afraid to ask their clients to put in a good word for them with other companies.

According to Levin, that strategy has worked for his firm.

"We're not shy about asking clients we really treasure to make introductions," Levin said.

While matchmaking and word-of-mouth are both highly effective, they're not the only ways firms can be seen by prospective clients without having to resort to solicitation, attorneys said.

According to Kleppinger, lawyers at his firm make significant efforts to establish relationships with potential clients by serving on local boards and councils.

The goal, according to Kleppinger, is to ensure that McNees Wallace is top of mind when one of those potential clients needs new outside counsel.

Traditionally, that need has arisen due to an outside firm's conflict or the retirement of a relationship partner at the firm, Kleppinger said.

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