In this week’s continuation of our top 10 tips of how to successfully build your trademark practice, we are going to focus on the importance of legal networking and how to plant the seeds, so you can reap the rewards of your business development efforts for years to come. Last week we talked about how you can get started in setting up your trademark practice, picking a focus area and spreading the word about your new trademark law practice. To review our first five tips, check out that post here. Here’s our remaining 5 tips focused on legal networking.
6. Join a Professional Legal Networking Group or a Business Networking Group
We talked last week about connecting with other lawyers and professionals and inviting them out to coffee. While this is a key aspect of your growth, it’s also important to be a part of a regular networking group. The group should have the right mix of professionals. As trademark lawyers, we need business clients, so depending on the activities in your community, it is unlikely that attending a local chamber event with the local vacuum repair shop and other local-focused businesses is going to be beneficial for you. You want to look for networking groups where other lawyers, in different practice areas are members, and where accountants, financial planners, and similar professionals are all trying to grow their books of businesses and client bases. That’s where you should be doing your legal networking! Belonging to a regular networking group for even 1-2 years can pay HUGE dividends. Also look for networking groups along your areas of interest. There are women’s professional groups, and groups tied to industries (more on that below). Try it and let me know how it works for you!
7. Join Local Bar Associations and Trade Organizations
We have so many options to choose from to expand our legal network. At the national level, we have the International Trademark Association (INTA), American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), the American Bar Association (ABA), plus your state and local bars. The choices are endless. Plus, if your clients are in a particular industry, you may want to get more involved in industry trade organizations to find clients in one or more particular industries. For those looking for more trademark work, my advice is to always network with other attorneys who need our services. If you handle trademark law and focus on a specific industry, spent your legal networking time with the clients clients in your focus area or industry.
8. Educate Others and Develop Content for Your Ideal Trademark Client
Lawyers by their very nature are teachers. It’s our job to explain complex legal principles to our clients. If you leverage that skill and educate other attorneys and clients and prospective clients, you’ll find after time, you’ve laid a strong foundation for a new pipeline of lead generation and new work. Whether you enjoy making reels, TikToks, podcasting, or writing articles for your blog or an industry magazine, the opportunities are endless. If you enjoy speaking, consider asking one of the local attorneys you met from one of your coffee meetings (see last week’s Tip #4) if you can present a CLE topic for their firm. It’s especially helpful if their firm doesn’t practice trademark law. This will serve two purposes – it will help provide valuable CLE credit to those attorneys and it will help your legal networking, by introducing you to a possible new referral source so that you can be the go-to trademark attorney for that firm’s client base. You could also present a CLE at your local bar association and/or pitch your idea to one of the national CLE providers which will give you a national platform and exposure.
9. Keep In Touch with Your Current and Past Clients
The best type of legal networking you can do is with your current and past client. Make sure you are keeping in touch with them at least a few times a year. Not sure what to say? At a minimum keep them abreast of any changes in the law or new cases you think might impact their business. You could even curate some interesting industry stories from the news and share them with your clients to keep your name top of mind. Trademark law is always in the news. Consider sending news stories about current trademark cases and topics from the news with your legal insights. Clients will appreciate this type of service. You never know when someone has a new legal need but they just need a gentle reminder of what it is you do best.
10. Say Thank You
The best legal networkers respond timely to all emails, whether they are from clients, colleagues, or referral sources. Especially when a matter is referred to you, whether it materializes or not, make sure you thank the person making the referral. Even better, if you can get in the habit of sending a handwritten thank you note, these small gestures, will go a long way to your being remembered. Last week I told you people like doing business with people they know, like and trust. There is no better way to become one of those trusted advisors than to mirror the habits of a professional that takes care of every detail. Trademark law is after all, a practice that depends on the smallest details.
If you or someone you know is curious about trademark law, we can help. Our Trademarkabilities Masterclass is a comprehensive 12-hour course designed for U.S. lawyers who want to confidently represent clients before the USPTO. No prior trademark experience is required. To learn more, please visit our website or contact us for more information.
Stacey C. Kalamaras is the founder and lead instructor of Trademarkabilities®, an online trademark academy for lawyers, whose mission it is to prepare lawyers to be confident and effective practitioners before the USPTO. Stacey started Trademarkabilities to share her passion teaching the law with the next generation of lawyers and help them become practice ready lawyers. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stacey is also a seasoned trademark attorney and currently works in-house as Senior Counsel for a multi-national candy company. She previously owned her own solo trademark practice, which she scaled and sold. She has been recognized by her peers for her outstanding knowledge and service in intellectual property law.