COVID-19 has made face-to-face networking all but impossible. As a result, attorneys at small firms and solo practitioners — who often rely heavily on referrals, professional networks and industry events to connect with clients — have had to rethink their marketing and business development strategies.
Many small firms have adjusted by increasing their online and social media presence. They also report they’re spending more money on marketing and hiring professionals to revamp their practices.
Before the pandemic, attorneys at Hackstaff & Snow networked at some of the busiest spots in Denver. They met clients and referral partners at Rockies games and the rodeo at the National Western Stock Show and held open house events at The Kitchen American Bistro and Denver Beer Co. The small firm’s attorneys also volunteer with various nonprofit organizations, which led to a lot of connections.
“Our marketing was generally a very hands-on, personal, interactive, event-oriented activity,” said Douglas Griess, a partner at the firm, which represents small business clients in litigation, business law, intellectual property, tax law and estate planning.
After the pandemic put an end to in-person meet-ups, the firm had to get creative. “We had to think critically about how we could continue to maintain personal connection and not just email people and send newsletters out,” said Aaron Atkinson, also a partner at the firm.
Virtual happy hours have been important for maintaining those connections during the pandemic. The firm’s attorneys meet with clients one-on-one using videoconferencing software to discuss their needs “from a real comprehensive standpoint,” Atkinson said.