Improve Law Firm’s Visibility in Foreign Clients’ Community
Lawyers who truly desire to serve a diverse group of foreign-born clients should consider making efforts to become a part of the ethnic group’s community and their ethnic client’s lives outside of work. In doing so, lawyers will demonstrate their trust, respect, and admiration for the clients they wish to serve. There are many ways in which to get involved in an ethnic group’s community, such as:
• Volunteering at a legal aid clinic within the applicable ethnic community;
• Volunteering to teach English as a Second Language;
• Joining a local ethnic chamber of commerce (Ex: the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce);
• Contributing financially or with one’s time and talents to a charitable cause (Ex. serving as a board member for a charity, sponsoring a fundraising effort);
• Sponsoring an ethnic community outreach program;
• Attending special holiday events (Ex: the Chinese New Year, a foreign film festival);
• Offering legal advice on a radio or television program targeted toward a particular ethnic group;
• Offering pro-bono services for ethnic non-profit organizations;
• Volunteering at schools and colleges within the ethnic community;
• Hosting a charitable effort that benefits the ethnic community (Ex: a coat drive for needy members of the Hispanic community);
• Asking religious leaders for ways to serve the ethnic community;
• Donating to projects that benefit the ethnic community.
In addition to the above, lawyers may also want to consider teaching or coaching sports. Both of these can be excellent ways to meet members of the target ethnic group and develop a rapport with individuals you may not ordinarily become acquainted. Consider teaching a class or conducting a seminar with one of the Small Business Administration’s business development centers, for example. Teaching a seminar of this type is an excellent way to give back to the ethnic community and demonstrate a lawyer’s expertise and trustworthiness.
If the seminar is open to the public, increase your impact and your reach by distributing an announcement to local newspapers, libraries, chambers of commerce, and ethnic websites. Then, impress your audience by having the seminar (and marketing) materials professionally translated into the language of the niche market. Include the law firm’s address, phone number, website, and lawyer bio(s) on the seminar/marketing materials. Bring ample business cards to the seminar for the attendees and extras for them to give to their friends and family.
Like teaching, coaching can provide a rewarding experience for both the lawyer and the ethnic community. Coaching kids’ little league or soccer can provide opportunities for a lawyer to meet and interact with members of target market in a very positive and non-threatening setting. Developing trust as a coach may lead to being trusted to handle one’s important legal needs down the road. At a minimum, volunteering to be a coach will provide lawyers with further insight into the lives of their target market and will provide additional experiences from which the lawyer can draw upon in order to more fully understand their foreign clients’ culture.
In sum, attorneys and law firms seeking to develop a niche law practice focused on serving foreign clients should consider offering and marketing legal services to foreign born individuals. Not only is the number of foreign-born individuals living in the United States increasing with each passing year, but the purchasing power of this group as a whole should not, and cannot, be ignored. In addition, as the number of foreign-born individuals living in the U.S. continues to increase, so does their need for competent and compassionate legal representation. Accordingly, lawyers who are understand, empathize, and are prepared to serve foreign born individuals will be able to attract these types of clients more easily than those who do not, thereby retaining a competitive edge in the legal field.
Of course, successfully marketing legal services to foreign-born individuals will not happen overnight. Learning a new culture and understanding how to best serve the legal needs of this niche population will take time, dedication, and perseverance. Lawyers may need to go out of their comfort zone and join community organizations and charitable causes in order to better connect with foreign born individuals who the lawyer seeks to obtain as clients. Lawyers may need to do a considerable amount of relationship-building before a niche practice can develop and grow.
Lawyers will also need to embrace alternative ways of marketing, servicing, and maintaining a different type of clientele than they are accustomed to. For example, lawyers will need to advertise in ethnic medial they may currently be unfamiliar with and/or expand their social media presence in order to attract this segment of the population. However, forward-thinking attorneys will use targeted marketing as an opportunity to expand their client base, expertise, and profitability. Attorneys seeking to develop a niche law practice that services the foreign born will be well served in remembering the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said the following: “The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence.”