With each leaf that falls, the landscape below changes. Use that change to your advantage.
Almost everyday that I meet with my students I have a new proposal for specialization. “Niche Practice” is not new. In fact, it is promoted everywhere I look. But, there is good reason for this.
Why labor trying to keep up with every development in the law in multiple areas of practice? Why would you do that? It is so inefficient, particularly for a solo practitioner. Stand out from the rest and highlight those aspects of your service that others simply do not offer. In my last blog, if you read it, you know that it should not matter how many attorneys are located in your area. What matters is whether the clients you target see you as meeting their needs better than anyone else.
How do you establish yourself as the best resource in the area? Two ways – you provide client service that exceeds the expectations of your existing clients or, you provide a service that others do not provide (or better yet, have not thought of before the demand has been anticipated).
Case in point – I had an opportunity to drive a TESLA auto at one of the ABA events in Chicago recently. Impressive and exclusive. Who will be buying those cars? Probably consumers with significant disposable income. But what is more interesting to me is the implication that these vehicles come with “self-driving” software that I recently read would allow you to leave home and go to work without driving the car. They have built into the software for those cars the capability of not only getting you to work, but those cars can FIND A PARKING SPACE and park the car! Watch this video, https://www.tesla.com/autopilot in it, the car drives to work and parks itself after the driver leaves the car!
Think of what this has the capacity to do. Think of the legal implications. Drinking and “driving”. If you are in an autonomous self-driving car, will this support an argument that the intoxicated “passenger” in the “self-driving” vehicle was not an “operator”? Can someone who is blind be allowed to operate those vehicles on the highway or under limited circumstances? Should they be allowed to do so? If we have the capability to provide that degree of freedom for those who are marginalized by society due to lack of mobility, is there an argument that they should be given access to the highways that their tax dollars supported just like everyone else? What about the mentally challenged individuals? What I.Q. is necessary to transport someone who is in control of an autonomous driving vehicle? Do you see some issues here? Is this something that legislation needs to address? Are there opportunities for attorneys to foster greater access to those denied access to employment without a tradeoff to public safety. What I tell my students to do is to write about these new developments in publications that circulate to the audience that they wish to attract as potential clients.
I can see manufacturers of these autos being concerned with liability. The municipalities and other governmental agencies will be interested in passing laws addressing these issues. Ancillary products associated with those autos would be interested in commercial applications as well. Consumers would definitely be interested in the implications for them in their daily lives. As an attorney armed with the knowledge of how laws might be drafted and individuals, corporations and governmental units might be very interested in how changes in technology might affect all of them.
Define your target market and write about what you are passionate about. Be on the lookout concerning developments in the news concerning changes in the law, technology, or anything else that interests you. Right now with a change in administrations, there is hardly a federal agency, business or individual who is interested in how changes that might take place will affect them. Yesterday I read an article concerning changes in the tax law that might occur as a result of the election. There is so much to write about and so many ways that you can stay ahead of the rest of your competition by simply writing about proposed changes in the tax laws and (if they are changed in the manner proposed). Think of all the other federal agencies with potential changes that you could write about. If you do, you will never run out of things that you can write about in developing your own area of specialization. But as you write, think about how these changes might impact individuals, groups, businesses or governmental units. Focus on one segment and how it might have very real impacts on that segment going forward and offer several possible outcomes that might result from those changes. If you hit a cord, you will develop a following. Feel their potential pain and offer some possible solutions to minimize the pain.
Change is your friend. Go gather leaves and find the one that you like the most. Now, go write!