During the Gold Rush, many miners went broke because it cost so much to prospect. That’s also how many merchants got rich.
One egg cost $25 in today’s dollars. Coffee, $100 per pound. A pair of boots, $2,500.
In the legal marketplace today, it’s the niche practitioners who stand to profit as large law firms compete for the gold. Here are some “certified” ways to find fortune in a niche market.
Find Your Market
Real estate, corporate transactions, employment, and health are defined niche markets for lawyers now. But like rivers that dry up, those markets come and go.
“Areas that are hot right now may be completely cold in the future, and vice versa,” Valerie Fontaine, a legal search consultant, told the ABA.
It’s no secret either, as large law firms have absorbed specialty practices and enlarged their nets to catch more clients. In the process, small firms and solo practitioners are finding opportunities in sub-specialties.
Carolyn Elefant, the popular lawyer-cum-blogger, says attorneys can capitalize on certifications. By taking classes in substantive areas, they can earn credentials that practically qualify them as experts in the field.
Certify Your Market
With a certificate in “diversity in the workplace,” for example, a solo attorney can become a resource to other employment lawyers. A master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship could be a big feather for a start-up attorney’s cap.
“Best of all, participating in certification or online courses that aren’t geared for lawyers are the best way for lawyers to meet potential clients,” says Elefant.
It’s all about going where the need is and the competition isn’t, like fishing. In the Gold Rush days, it also helped to be a little creative.
Levi Strauss got his start then, when he planned to open up a store to sell canvas tarps and wagon covers to the miners. But he saw a need for a tough pair of pants, and the rest, of course, is history.