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Many firms bill themselves as 'boutiques' regardless of their practice area or their size or even their location.
The title itself is something to turn heads. A boutique evokes a feeling of private service, close attention, and exceptional quality. When most clients are looking for relief from their legal headaches the idea of a boutique sounds soothing and reassuring.
Legal marketing is already a tricky game with all the ethics requirements on honestly and disclosure in advertising. So the rules on calling yourself a 'boutique' must be tricky, right?
Not even a little bit.
The requirement of being a boutique law firm is that the firm specialize in a certain area of law. Boutiques aren't general practice operations and they don't make exceptions for individual clients.
But many firms already specialize in one type of business. Whether or not they take the label, those firms are 'boutiques.'
There are definite benefits to calling your law office a 'boutique firm' but the title isn't for everyone.
Boutique has a high-class sound to it. Firms that call themselves a boutique often specialize in fields where clients value prestige, like business transactions and litigation. They may also take the title to attract high-end clients to widely-needed practices like family law, tax, and employment.
If you are looking to attract a certain class of clients, the boutique title can go a long way towards that goal. But it won't attract all kinds of clients.
The downside of calling your practice a 'boutique law firm' is that it will scare away clients who are turned off by the snob-appeal of the title. For clients who are wary of being looked down on by their attorney, a boutique is the last place they want to be.
For practices that specialize in traditional criminal defense, social security, and worker's comp the title may prove more of a turn off than a selling point.
If your office does provide specialized services, the boutique label may be right for you. Just make sure your client base will respond positively to the marketing change.