Nearly every business needs a trademark and adding trademark law to your transactional law practice might be the right move for you. Developing a solo practice in any area of law is not for the faint at heart, but after years of working as a trademark attorney, over the next two weeks, I’m going to share with you my best business development tips to have a thriving trademark practice. Make sure you return here for the next week for the rest of your tips. Let’s get started!
1. Pick a Focus Area Best Suited for Your Trademark Law Practice
It’s important to pick a focus area. I don’t mean to only focus on one area of law or even one area of trademark or intellectual property law, although you may choose to do that too. What I mean is to focus on what kind of clients you want to serve. Are you a musician? An artist? Passionate about NFTs? Whatever it is that makes you you, celebrate that and leverage that into your financial success. We all need a competitive edge, and you should use your interest to turn that into a marketing campaign. It will serve you well in the long run.
2. Trademark Ideal Client Personas – How to Identify Your Ideal Client
Once you know what kind of client you want to serve, now you need to get to know this “ideal client” inside and out. Who are they? Where do they live? If you want to be a trademark attorney, hopefully they live throughout the U.S.! What do they read, watch, eat, etc.? Start making a list of all their attributes so you know how to target your marketing efforts. You might even make a profile for what your ideal client looks like to help you know whether your marketing dollars are money well spent or not.
3. Your Trademark Law Firm is Now Open
As soon as you set up your solo practice, make sure you tell everyone. Your doctor, your hairdresser, the person waiting in line next to you at the bank – everyone! You are a business owner now. Make sure you have your elevator pitch rehearsed and at the ready. Have your business cards always with you and never miss an opportunity to network. More on networking next week. If you are adding trademarks to an already established practice, you should be alerting your clients to the fact you have added a practice area. This is low-hanging fruit is the easiest way to generate business from existing clients. If you are a brand new attorney, connect with law school classmates, and your family and friends to let them know that you have started a trademark practice and how you can help them.
4. Level Up Your Trademark Practice by Inviting Other Lawyers to Coffee
As trademark attorneys, our work is highly specialized. Invite other local attorneys in your area to coffee to get to know them. You’ll need a referral network of other attorneys that don’t do what you do, and other business-minded attorneys will need you as a referral source for their clients. Remember always to approach this with a giving attitude. The more you learn about someone else and help them, the more likely they are to help you. People like to work with others they know, like and trust. Start looking up local attorneys who could be synergistic to your practice that are located in your immediate area and invite them to coffee. Before long, you’ll have a robust referral network.
5. Partner With Other Business Professionals
Many small business owners have never met a trademark attorney (hence the popularity of the DIY services), but have a tremendous need for our services nonetheless. Who are the other professionals in their life they trust? They trust and likely use some combination of an accountant, a marketing agency and/or other creative services professionals. I especially love meeting with all kinds of creative services individuals and agencies because there is so much synergy between the creative aspects of what they create and the legal aspects of what we do to ensure those creations are protected. Reach out to these people in your local area. Work to understand the services they provide and how you might be able to help them and their clients. How can you build long-term relationships with them so that when their clients need help, you will be top of mind?
It can be scary to start a solo legal practice, but like any other business, it takes a solid plan and working that plan to become successful. The Trademarkabilities Masterclass can help provide you with the basic knowledge to build your confidence and provide you with a like-minded community of professionals to help support you every step of the way. To learn more, check out 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.