Acquiring Foreign-Born Clients: Marketing Legal Services to a Growing Niche

Copyright © by Nina Ivanichvili, CEO, All Language Alliance, Inc.

Support the Ethnic Community

Attorneys who are sincerely committed to fostering mutual respect, trust, and long-term relationships with ethnic constituents might consider giving something back to that community and promoting good will. Ways to become involved in such a community include: joining a local ethnic chamber of commerce (for example, the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce); contributing to a charitable cause; sponsoring an ethnic community outreach program, an event celebrating ethnic holidays (such as the Chinese New Year), or foreign film festival; volunteering for a legal clinic at a local ethnic community center or a radio or television station; or performing pro bono service for ethnic non-profit organizations.

Still another way to support the local ethnic community would be through teaching or coaching. Consider teaching a class or conducting a seminar jointly with one of the Small Business Administration's business development centers,26 or at a public library or ethnic community center. If the seminar is open to the public, write and distribute an announcement about it to the local press, libraries, ethnic community centers, chambers of commerce, and ethnic websites. Many newspapers would publish this announcement in the calendar of community events. Finally, law firms may prepare seminar materials in the language(s) of the law firm's niche market and include a flier with the law firm's address, phone number, and website.

Be Diligent in Targeted Marketing

Abraham Lincoln said, "The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence."27 The successful marketing of legal services will not happen overnight. Attorneys committed to establishing an attorney-client relationship with someone whose language and customs are different will experience a learning curve. It will take perseverance and flexibility to set aside established perceptions and beliefs in order to connect with foreign-born prospects and clients. Clearly, foresighted attorneys will use targeted marketing both as an opportunity to learn to represent foreign-born clients more effectively and as a chance to break away from the pack and open up a whole new market for legal services. This can uniquely position the law firm as a law firm of choice in the eyes and minds of members of that niche market and, in turn, lead to an ongoing stream of referrals.

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