As a Public Defender, you were assigned clients by your state court system. However, in a private law firm, you'll need to seek out clients actively. The strategies you use to attract private cases may involve marketing your legal services through several areas, such as the following:
- Creating a brand
- Building a professional website
- Providing helpful online content
- Optimize online directories such as Avvo and Justia
- Utilize Social media platforms
Ensuring potential clients know your expertise and the services you offer is crucial to building a successful private practice.
In your role as a Public Defender, the initial client consultation may have been brief and more so focused on gathering information about the case. In a private law firm, the initial consultation will still involve collecting case information, but it also serves as an opportunity to establish rapport and trust with the potential client.
Establishing a solid relationship is crucial, whether you're serving as a public defender or working in a private law firm. However, as a private attorney, clients aren't assigned to you and clients will directly pay you for your legal services. Identifying shared interests and ensuring a good client-attorney fit can bolster their confidence to select you as their attorney and that their money will be well invested in the outcome of their case.
During the consultation, you'll need to discuss your fees, payment structure, and the scope of representation. If the client decides to retain your services, you must prepare a retainer agreement outlining the terms of your representation, fees, and other essential details. This legal document is crucial in protecting your and your client's interests.