There are a lot of ways to get per diem business. Some of the standard ways work pretty well, including networking your existing attorney contacts, word of mouth, and advertising in bar journals and legal newspapers. I have always done best with variations on direct mail, to a targeted list. The attorneys I mail to are those who have court appearances coming up.....especially the types that lend themselves to per diem coverage. For example, most Civil cases in New York have a "Preliminary Conference" ( a "PC"....we love acronyms and abbreviations in the per diem biz). PC's are good ones for per diem because they are not too complicated, but one can end up waiting around for awhile. Unlike Federal Court, where they might schedule a PC at 3:45 in the afternoon, and you have a real conference with the court, in State Court they schedule about 75 PC's every morning at 9:30 AM. All the attorneys mill around the halls until they find their adversary, fill out their little discovery order, hand it in, and leave. Its worthwhile to pay someone else to do this, and its worthwhile to try to get these appearances because you can do as many as you can get. My personal record is 16.
Another reason I like PC's, is that its fairly early in the case, and if you make a new law firm client, you have a good shot at the CC (compliance conference), PTC (pre-trial conference) EBT (examination before trial, which most human beings call a deposition), and any motions.
I like PC's so much that I price them on the low side, to help grow the client base.
In this context the "client base" are other lawyers and law firms, in many ways the best types of "clients"....more on this in the next post....