Building a Niche Practice – the Upsides and Downsides


In today’s legal landscape, it can be hard to get noticed through all the noise, especially for small-firms or solo-practice lawyers. Having a niche practice is one way to focus your business strategy and grow your firm.

A niche practice is one that is simply focused – one that sticks to a particular area of law, instead of general practice. There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of practice…


Pro: Focusing on the work you find enjoyable

If you build a niche practice, it means you can limit your clients to those who need your particular kind of law. It also means that you are better able to ensure that the work you are doing is enjoyable. There is no pressure to take all paying clients who walk through the door, because your practice only provides certain kind of services.


Pro: Being a subject-matter expert can get you clients

If you specialize in a certain area of law, you can hone your practice by understanding more of the intricacies of your niche. This makes you a more desirable lawyer, because your clients will know you are an expert in the kind of representation they need. Many clients are willing to pay a premium for a specialized skill set. If you are recognized as an expert, it will help you land more high-paying clients


Pro: Niche practices are easier to market

Marketing is most effective when it knows its audience and targets it well. Having a niche practice means you can advertise directly to those who may need your particular services, instead of trying to reach the general population with your general services.


Con: Niche practices can be more subject to ebb and flow

General practices can be more insulated from the changing needs of the legal market. In a general practice, when bankruptcies fall off, the firm can fall back on other areas of practice. If you only offer one kind of service, it can be hard to ride out the times when clients don’t need that particular service.


Con: Niche practices can get monotonous

While it can be good to become a subject matter expert, it also can get repetitive to only handle the same kind of cases day after day. An upside of general practice is diversity – every day brings a different set of cases and challenges. Niche practices don’t have to become boring, but you must work hard to make sure you don’t get single-issue fatigue.


Con: Not every niche works in every market

You may have a passion for patent law, but if you live in a small town, there may not be enough potential clients to sustain a practice. Make sure your business fits not just your desires but that it has the market to support it.


If you have identified an area of law that you would like to specialize in, and you know this area plays to your professional strengths, and you feel confident that your market can support your business, a niche practice can be a great way to get noticed and get more clients. Good luck!

Kimberly Hanlon
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Kimberly Hanlon

Attorney at Law at Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC
Kimberly Hanlon is an estate planning and small business law attorney in the Twin Cities. She is also a co-owner of MoreLaw Minneapolis, the executive suite exclusively for attorneys in downtown Minneapolis.
Kimberly Hanlon
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