I have a degree but no job. How lawyers find clients and what it takes

In any business, customers are the most important thing. No wonder they say that it is not the employer who pays the salary, but the client – even the most ingenious business idea will not work if no one is interested. The same applies to practicing lawyers, whose solvency directly depends on the number of clients. But where do they usually get a job and what needs to be done for a lawyer to find a client? Let’s figure it out with the experts.

The content of the article

1 Go to a firm or open a private practice?
2 How to find clients?
3 And how to prevent them from going to competitors?
4 How not to pass for scammers

Go to a firm or open a private practice?

Speaking about how a lawyer should organize the search for clients, first you need to decide on the main thing – will he work independently or in a law firm. In principle, both options have the right to life, and you can always leave the company to “free float” and open a private practice. So what are the pros and cons of both options?

As for employment in a law firm, many consider this option the only true one for a novice lawyer. There is a point in this – only after receiving a diploma, a young specialist knows little and knows little from real practice, and working at a company (even as an assistant or assistant), he will gain enough experience and skills to work independently in the future. And also a law firm is an official employment with all the corresponding pluses (like vacations and paid sick leave).

True, there are also many disadvantages:

  • salary. There are different options – a salary (most likely, very small) or a percentage of income from customers. It is unlikely that a firm will pay a lawyer more than he brings her income, so this kind of work is definitely not about sky-high earnings;
  • load. A novice lawyer is likely to be engaged in monotonous and routine work until senior colleagues decide that he has acquired enough knowledge to be allowed to work with clients;
  • competition. The most interesting clients with extraordinary cases will definitely be taken by older and more experienced colleagues, and the young specialist will deal with consumer protection claims and simple statements of claim;
  • limited career growth. There are many lawyers, but not very many clients for them, so even after several years of work in a law firm, you can stay in the same initial position, because there is simply nowhere to grow.

Private practice for a lawyer is a completely different matter. The proceeds do not go through several pockets, you can choose more interesting cases and create your own reputation. In fact, practice opens up unlimited possibilities, but it will not be so easy to use them.

Like any other work “for yourself”, private law practice is not without its drawbacks:

  • additional expenses. This is at least office rent and the purchase of consumables, as a maximum – the salary of an assistant, advertising costs and other expenses. Do not forget about taxes and insurance fees;
  • complete uncertainty. If a crisis breaks out, clients sharply lose their ability to pay, and lawyers lose their revenue. Another potential disadvantage is the adoption of new laws that constantly simplify and clarify something from a legal point of view. For example, if it will be possible to file claims and hold meetings through the State Services, a lot of law firms and private lawyers will close;
  • competition. Competitors will be both other private lawyers and large law firms. At the same time, companies can afford something that a private lawyer does not have – for example, take some company for legal support (one lawyer simply will not have enough opportunities for this). And some competitors may also resort to “black PR” – to spread rumors and false information;
  • the risk of making a mistake and letting the client down. A lawyer from the firm can consult with colleagues, a practicing lawyer is usually on his own.

Nevertheless, in any city there is a place for both options – in almost any locality there will be a couple of firms and at least a dozen private lawyers. Some even choose some narrow specialization for themselves (for example, family disputes or debt collection from contractors), but this is hardly possible in small towns.

As a result, most of the practicing lawyers opened their own business after several years of work in a firm (not necessarily even a legal one). And here the main question arises – where do you get customers?