Katherine Taylor is the Owner and Founder of Taylor Legal – they focus on representing small business owners. When she first began her law practice, she started at a large law firm in Baltimore, Maryland and was there for just over 7 years. When she left the law firm, she was in local government, essentially in-house counsel for a local government for about 10 years. Katherine then decided to start her own practice, primarily because she wanted something challenging.
If you are interested in reaching out to Katherine or learning more, visit her website at https://www.taylorlegal.com
Authenticity in Growing Your Law Firm
Katherine decided when re-focusing her firm to hire a growth coach, or a business coach, and ultimately went with one that doesn’t only represent lawyers. It was a pretty expensive program with 4-5 workshops throughout the year. She would go to the workshops and walk out feeling like a major failure. After that, she began looking around online and found a program called ‘Referrals Without Asking’ and signed up for it. It was a process to show other people who you are, authentically, and why you appreciate the person as a client, a referral source, etc. It was natural for her to be herself and tell others who she was, what she does, how much she appreciates them and in being authentic in how she went about getting business, that was comfortable for her and has been successful going forward.
One thing that she did learn from the workshops was the idea of different organizations called different things – the center of influence, referral sources, etc. and how you need to foster those relationships. That portion of the workshops probably resonated the most. She learned more than anything she has done that she needed to treat her practice as a business. Lawyers, in general, have a very hard time with that. Now, even if you are an associate or even a partner in a larger firm, you have to run your own business. You have to treat yourself as a profit center. You have to consistently be marketing. When she says marketing, she is referring to the whole umbrella of things that come under that. You cannot just do a little bit and then expect it to work. You have to continuously do it and pay a lot of attention to what you are doing – figure out what works and what doesn’t. There is no quick fix or cheap and easy ways, it is a process that you need to stick with and nourish as you go forward.
Staying On Top of Marketing and Relying on Others When Needed
Katherine and her team stay active on their firm’s social media accounts, posting to social media outlets that are common to lawyers. They are in the process of updating their website to make their content more identifiable as well as sending out email communications. Katherine has recently started doing short videos that they send out via email or post on social media because a lot of people respond to video. It is just a matter of keeping up with all of those things and it is hard. Knowing all of the little steps that she has in play, and all of the tentacles that she has going out and making sure that they are all kept up with. And it can be exhausting.
One thing that any lawyer has to do that is running their own firm is ask themselves why they are running their own firm. If it is because you want to be a lawyer and only practice law and do the legal kind of work, you are probably better off not being a solo practitioner or even a small firm partner because running a law business requires so much more than just practicing law. Katherine spends only about 15% of her time actually doing legal work. A lot of the other stuff is marketing related activities to bring business in, make sure you can do the work, make sure you can get paid for the work, and make sure that bills are paid and that the business is running. Any lawyer who is running a small firm or business needs to figure out what they want to do. When you are running a business, you have to rely on people who are experts at doing the things that your business needs to do and not try to do everything yourself.
Understanding Referrals Without Asking
Basically what it is is making sure that you are very number one on the client side – you understand what your client experience is and you follow through and you nourish those client relationships. On the referral source side, you need to determine who they are and reach out to them in a non-salesy kind of way and keep up with those relationships, whether it’s calling them, sending them a gift, etc. Katherine grew up in North Carolina, so she is a ‘southerner’ inherently. Just being considerate to people, being nice, letting them know you appreciate them when you get a referral. It is kind of just manners. If you get a referral, let the person know that you appreciate it and how much it means to you and amazingly, that will come back to you. You will stay top of mind in their brain and they know you will appreciate that they thought about you. Anybody can be considerate. It is all about being appreciative and establishing a connection with people. People like to know that when they do something nice for somebody that it is appreciated and it comes back to them.