What Is A ‘Door Lawyer’ And Why It Sucks To Be One!


2012-06-06 08.32.37Before I can tell you why being a door lawyer is sucking your life away, I need to make sure you are clear on what it is exactly.

So, what is a door lawyer?

A door lawyer is…

Fortunately, there is a solution.  It’s to stop taking everything and anything that walks through the door and do just the opposite.

  • a lawyer who, in the past, might have been called a general practitioner
  • a lawyer who takes whatever walks in the door – a divorce here, a criminal case there, a personal injury for good measure and the occasional will and trust, etc.
  • There’s some part of you that knows this is not the best way to serve your clients, but you think you need to do it to be successful.
  • But it’s just not working.
  • You are tired. Overwhelmed. Stressed out.  Know that you aren’t serving your clients to your highest and best ability.

It’s time to get picky about who you work with and ONLY work with people who meet your criteria.  My friend Michael Port says it best in his bestselling book, Book Yourself Solid — you need to create a red velvet rope between your prospects and your services. The only people who get past the red velvet rope are the people you have chosen to work with, called in strategically and are absolutely right for you.

Everyone else gets referred out.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “this girl is crazy. I need to take everything that comes my way or I’m not going to survive.”

But there’s another part of you that already knows, survival mode isn’t cutting it.  And if you keep going as you are, you are not going to survive.  You’ll either burn-out, leave the law, or have a heart attack (or other medical issue that keeps you from keeping on as you are).

There IS a better way.

Before I share it with you though, let’s look at WHY being a door lawyer simply does not work.

1. When you take everything that walks in the door, you can’t charge premium fees because you are literally reinventing the wheel for every new matter so you have no systems, feel like a novice for each new case, and really cannot hold yourself out as the best in town.

2.  When you are taking everything and anything, you cannot effectively market.  Effective legal marketing requires direct communication between you and your prospect in which you let your prospect know you get him or her and how you can help. You do this by educating your prospects about specifically what’s on their minds.  You cannot do that if you are trying to reach everyone.  #1 you don’t have enough money and #2 you don’t have enough time.

3.  When you are taking whatever comes your way, you’ll never be the expert. You’ll never be able to design a system for serving your clients that turns them into raving fans.  You’ll always be tired and stressed out.

Ready to make a shift yet?

There is a better way, but it’s going to require a big shift in your thinking and the way you’re doing things. You’re going to have to focus on who you’re going to serve and what you’re going to offer them, and eliminate doing any work other than that. This is the foundation of your transformation.

It’s time to decide on a specific subset of people who need a specific type of legal service – that you are particularly suited to provide because of your own personal history or specialized training – to start to market to and serve.

When you narrow down your focus from a marketing and client-service perspective, everything shifts in your practice:

  • You’re able to create systems
  • You can effectively market your services
  • Invest your marketing dollars wisely
  • Become confident in the service you provide, because you know it’s the best
  • Have more than enough work
  • Your clients will want you to do more for them – and if you really want to provide a wide range of services you can offer them as gifts and favors to your existing clients, only on the back-end – just don’t market that up front.

Your mind will tell you that you’re going to starve, that there’s not enough work, that you have to take everything to make ends meet, but that’s not how it works. There are lawyers serving in the smallest of niches who are incredibly successful – lawyers who serve only dads in divorce and who only serve families with vacation homes and cottages, to name two. Be the known lawyer in your community for the service you provide, and there will be more than enough work out there for you, but only when you focus and stop taking everything because you feel you have to.

Tell us your thoughts. in the comments below. We’d love to hear how you made the shift from a ‘door lawyer’ to a focused expert in your niche.Share

About the Contributor
Alexis Neely is a Law Business Mentor and creator of the New Law Business Model. She built her law practice from scratch into a million dollar a year generating business in just three years with the new law business model her family and her clients loved.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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