10 Opportunities for lawyers to increase income now

Albert Eistein said: “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity”. South Africa is facing a number of crises at this time, including the pandemic, increased unemployment, slow growing economy, GBV, state fraud and corruption.

As lawyers are natural problem solvers, we should not become overwhelmed or paralysed by these problems, but seek opportunities to serve and grow. Better lawyers make a better South Africa.

The purpose of this blog is to make lawyers aware of opportunities in the midst of theses crises. Your lawyer qualifications and experience provide you with various opportunities to develop your own career and income. If your legal practice is currently suffering financially or you want to increase your income, let’s explore if you are considering all your opportunities.

I share 10 opportunities for lawyers available now:

  1. Reevaluate your legal services – Is it time to niche or a time to diversify? In this regard, based on the general business principle of “supply and demand”, consider what is the demand for paying legal services now? Consider if you are accessible to any of these target areas: (a) businesses who went online (b) brick and mortar businesses and landlords which had to adopt to Covid-regulations (c) winding down, business rescue, selling or merging of businesses (d) new ventures and start-up businesses (e) employers and employees (f) families facing legal issues, and/or (g) renegotiation of contracts and debt collecting.
  2. Online marketing – The 3 benefits of online marketing are (a) that it is driven by Big Tech and the consumer’s and businesses’ needs to connect (b) it is more affordable than other types of marketing and (c) it can be constant and passive. It is essential for lawyers to be seen through online marketing.
  3. Expand your target market – Remote working is making it possible for lawyers to reaching and serve a wider range of clients, as it is not limited to provincial or country borders. Clients are getting used to buying products online, without asking where the product is coming from. If lawyers have the same qualifications and statutory requirements, why should this not also become the norm for legal services?
  4. Optimise your commercial office space – If you are operating a commercial office space, have you considered how it can help increase your income? In accordance with legal practitioners’ code of conduct only attorneys may share offices with other attorneys. Why not sublet a closed-door office in your office or rent your consultation room to attorneys per hour. Attorneys working exclusively from home, often still need professional or neutral spaces to meet confidentially with clients and other parties.
  5. Save on overheads – If your renting or paying a commercial office is becoming more than a third of your monthly fixed expenses, consider how much you could save by moving to a smaller or co-work office combined with remote working from home.
  6. Reevaluate staff requirements – Many people are struggling financially now. As it is in the nature of most lawyer employers to help people, be careful not to feed everyone around you first, that you have nothing to take home. If you go hungry, you will get weak. The new circumstances call for new types of working and employment relationships. Fixed term or outcome based contracts rule the new normal and is an opportunity for lawyer employers to reassess what they need from employees and how to measure performance.
  7. Join virtual platforms – Finding the right information fast in the algorithms mazes of search engines have become a frustration. Online platforms are the new way to get connected with your target market and peers fast. The primary purpose of “Lawyers Working From Home” platform is to facilitate matches and connections – between lawyers and potential new clients – and between lawyers with each other.
  8. Contract with other lawyers – As most lawyers in South Africa are likely facing similar challenges, why not conclude mutually beneficial contract with each other. To optimise your leads for new clients, why not conclude a referral agreement with a lawyer practising in a complimentary service area to help expand your reach? Having more attorneys working from home serving clients in all parts of South Africa, opportunities for correspondent attorneys are also likely to increase. Don’t hesitate to expand working relationships with other lawyers in other provinces.
  9. Develop new legal services products – Consider if there is another way to package and monetise your legal knowledge. Could you perhaps write an e-book relating to the legal options for divorces? Could you create and sell some “self-help” legal packages to start-up businesses? Although not yet developed in South Africa, legal coaching could be another option to develop new legal support services to clients.
  10. Contribute to legal education – If you are a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer, have you considered presenting a training or teaching course or download to lawyers online? There are a number of new 2020-2021 legal developments relating to, for instance, POPI, new sexual harassment employment regulations and the directive on mediation requirement in court litigation, which each lawyer practising in these areas must self-study, unless a lawyer steps up and grasps this training opportunity to peers.  

In my experience as Lawyer Coach, it is not that lawyers are not aware of these opportunities, but that sometimes time pressures, management skills or fears of changing get in the way. I hope reading this list of opportunities has inspired you to take action at least in one aspect of managing your legal practice. It is my job and passion as Lawyer Coach to help lawyers to a next level. If a coaching session may benefit you, please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

You are welcome to connect with me via email emmie@lawyerfirst.co.za or WhatsApp 082 704 1774.


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