Among the more befuddling proverbs, “the proof is in the pudding” is certainly one of them. If you googled a million pudding recipes, it’d be safe to say that proof is not one of the ingredients. However, from a client’s perspective, the proof is the essential ingredient. One of the most efficient ways to stock your law firm’s “pantry” with delicious proof is through case studies. When it comes to creating compelling case studies, it’s a matter of learning to show and tell, not just the latter. It’s one thing to say you can climb Mount Everest, but nothing conveys “I can do it!” to a client more than presenting them with a picture of your firm standing atop the summit. That’s where the case studies come into play. Here is a breakdown of the importance of case studies and how to build one for your firm.
The Importance of Case Studies for Law Firms
Walk the Walk and Reduce the Talk
While this may seem blunt, clients don’t care about what you do and only care about what you can do for them now. When creating a case study, it’s important to remember that each one is a documentation of your ability to back up the promises you make to a client when trying to earn their business. It’s easy to rely on boasting to demonstrate your value, but clients are just as interested in the journey, as they are the destination. How you achieve the desired result for your client is more important than the accolades.
Let’s put ourselves in the client’s shoes and try to understand their perspective.
Show Me What You Got
Before taking a leap of faith with any firm, a prospective client will do their homework. Knowing in advance what they’re more likely to want to hear about your firm’s acumen directly influences how a case study is conceptualized. If you can address their concerns, the probability they choose you as their lawyer may increase significantly.
The three main questions a client asks before picking their representation are:
- Do you understand my problem?
- Do you understand my business or me as a person?
- Do you have experience in dealing with similar issues?
If you keep these concerns in mind, you can create a compelling case study that eases a prospective client’s mind. The main objective is to show clients you can do the job by ensuring they understand their situation is a road you’ve traveled. However, another big question mark looms over many lawyers in the quest to write a case study, and it all comes back to keeping it confidential.
Sworn To Secrecy…Kinda
A common misconception is that Non-Disclosure Agreements are a roadblock to writing quality case studies, and by no means do we advocate violating one. Having those agreements in place with a satisfied client isn’t a cue to NDA (Not Divulge Anything) when you write a case study about them. To write a good case study, you don’t need to name names or get into the nitty-gritty details. The key is to speak generically about the specifics so that the context is there, but the identity remains a mystery.
For example, if your firm successfully secured patent rights in China for Apple ahead of the production of their next iPhone, most would shrug off the idea of writing a case study about it. This considerable accomplishment shows clients you can “walk the walk,” so why exclude the case altogether because of an NDA? If you keep your words generalized, you can sing your praises. So, instead of this phrasing the situation like we did earlier, try this: “Our firm helped a prominent electronics company secure patent rights for a premium product in the Asian Seas.” By keeping it non-specific, you can talk about what you did without talking about it, and it still sounds intriguing. So, how do you write a case study like this?
It’s as Simple as 1, 2, 3…
The completion of a good case study should be sealed with a KISS (Keep It Super-Simple) philosophy. You don’t need to pen a doctoral thesis to “flex” about your firm. Three strategically-crafted paragraphs are enough to make your case…study. The subject of each section should be the answer to these questions:
- What is the situation?
- What was the solution?
- What were the results?
Sticking to this outline gives you the guidelines to focus on the crucial details and cut the excess that might deter your audience from choosing your firm before they finish reading your story.
Case studies are an excellent way to show potential clients you’re experienced in handling situations that might mimic their own. You can boast about your achievements through a careful and brief story, even if your firm is bound by documents such as an NDA. When you write a case study, speak about the details of your work but generally about those involved and their business. Using a simple three-part Q&A, you can create case studies that demonstrate your firm is a trusted resource that walks the walk, not endlessly talks.
We work hand-in-hand with clients to showcase their accomplishments to establish their firm as a legitimate source to handle any need. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to learn more about how we handle these subtle nuances.