Getting clients is such a big part of being a lawyer that you might forget that all clients are not created equally.  You might be tempted to accept clients that aren’t right for you because, well, bills.

What if there was a way to attract specific clients to your law practice? You know, your ideal client. Would you be willing to change the way you attract clients to get a steady stream of your ideal best client?

I think you said yes, so let’s talk.

The problem is, law school didn’t prepare you to be a good business person. Only 18% of law professors think that 3rd-year students are ready for practice, which includes running your own business and advising clients on their business. You didn’t learn how to market or sell because, well, that’s not what lawyers do. Right?

Lawyers who want to eat learn how to sell.  Lawyers who want to be happy learn to select clients carefully. Not everyone who wants to use your legal services should be your client.  You are looking for your ideal best client.What is your ideal best client?

What is your ideal best client?

Your ideal best client is the client who fits into your target market criteria AND measures up to your standards in terms of client behaviors.

Your IBC (Ideal best client) is the one you get up for in the morning. She inspires you to do your best work.  He doesn’t question every move you make. She pays your fees without comment or delay.  He shares you with friends because he thinks you are outstanding.  She sends you a note of thanks and gratitude.

You get the idea.  Working is your IBC is so energizing and satisfying. The other day I sat down virtually with one of my IBCs and got reminded how good it feels to work with someone who is willing, collaborative and an action-taker. She is a badass who:

  • arrived to the call on time
  • had done her homework for the call
  • totally engaged in our conversation
  • was open and not defensive when called out (I do that lovingly)
  • didn’t go for the easy answer
  • re-committed herself to her timetable
  • told me twice that I’m very good
  • booked her next session during the call

I know that she will get the results she is after because she is working as my partner, not expecting me to do the heavy lifting and present her with a solution.  She will prosper and so will I.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Client Yardstick

Finding Ms. Wonderful Client was not luck or an accident.  It was planning. I created what I call a ‘client yardstick’ so I only accept clients who measure up to my standards.

Now, I know some will have a hard time judging clients.  I get that. I’m not suggesting that you judge your clients for the situations they get into. I AM saying that you should judge whether or not a client is a suitable fit for your law practice.

Do you just let anyone into your house at home?  Nope, you prevent bad people from entering. You gotta do the same thing with your law practice. Prevent unsuitable or rogue clients from entering and damaging your practice.

6 Steps to design your Yardstick

Creating your client yardstick is a fun process that allows you to reflect on what matters most to you and design your law experience.  How cool is that?

You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing or accept things that you don’t want. Personally, I find having a Yardstick very empowering because it allows me to say no to clients without a bit of guilt.

There aren’t a lot of steps-thank goodness.

  1. Write your Law Firm Legend
  2. Identify your target market
  3. Niche down
  4. Identify your desired client traits
  5. Survey your past IBCs
  6. Craft your Yardstick statement


Dina Lynch Eisenberg, JD, is the CEO of, an outsourcing training/consulting firm for successful lawyers and entrepreneurs based in Oakland, CA.

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