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The Legal Industry: A Marketing Perspective

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The Legal Industry: A Marketing Perspective

The state of marketing in the legal industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Just a few short years ago, lawyers depended solely on word of mouth and yellow page ads to publicize their business. Slowly over time, this has changed, and lawyers are now taking a more proactive approach to marketing their firms and shopping their services in the market place. The following research will show that law firms have learned from their previous mistakes, and are now growing because of the time and effort they put into developing successful marketing plans.

An article published in Law Practice Today, talks about marketing being a major focus for law firms. Mike Wells writes that, “…having a marketing plan alone is not going to bear fruit if you do not take common sense steps to make the plan work.” This seems to be the common idea in much of the research that I came across. While many firms in today’s market are hiring ad agencies to get their name better recognition, many are missing the intricate details that really allow marketing plans to succeed. “Service is the most important marketing activity,” writes Wells. “Just because a client doesn’t complain about bad service, do not confuse that with thinking you have delivered good service.” Wells points out that communication is often key, and stresses the need to return calls and emails promptly, citing that clients don’t know lawyers are unable to return their calls unless they are told so. Wells reminds his readers that, “A lot of your marketing efforts are likely making progress. It just takes time to see tangible evidence of that progress.” Given the proper time, increased marketing efforts can payoff enormously.

According to David Leffler, of the New York based law firm Leffler Marcus & McCaffrey LLC, the type of law that each law firm practices needs to determine the type of marketing the firm engages in. He points out in his article “Marketing Strategies for Lawyers: Q&A with David Leffler” that often times law firms overlook this basic principle of marketing. The way in which a firm markets itself says a lot to the people who are looking for the services it offers. For example, Leffler says again in his article that, “It's gotten to the point that if you don't have a Web site, people wonder why. You're not as credible, not as impressive.” Having a website is not always a must for smaller law firms in smaller markets, but for any significant business, a website is crucial. This is just one of the many examples of how law firms are bringing their marketing campaigns up to date with current technology.

Connie Irwin developed the first marketing strategy for Price Waterhouse in the 1980’s; she wrote a column for the magazine Of Counsel depicting the ways in which law firms will succeed with marketing in the 21st century. “Research, research, research,” she writes in her column. She believes it is important for a firm to know the needs of the clients better and before the clients do themselves, and research is the golden ticket. She writes in her article that, “Marketing begins the minute you wake up and it never ends, including after the client’s paycheck has cleared the bank.” Lawyers must understand that basically everyone, at least once in their life, will need legal advice. It is for this reason that lawyers must never stop their marketing, whether it is a full blown campaign, or talking about their law firm in line at the grocery store. Getting the word out about the law firm is job number one and a major reason why so many law firms have fallen short on clients.

In the article “Barbarians at the gate?” from Marketing Magazine, the way in which management consulting firms have repositioned themselves with successful marketing strategies becomes apparent. With Ford Motor Company’s recent hiring of Accenture, one of the world’s largest management consulting firms, to develop a media optimization plan for its U.S. business, marketing firms took a big hit and consulting firms rejoiced in an entirely new market. The new strategy for consulting firms seems to be focusing on the creative, and has helped them to streamline their clients operations and gain a large portion of the market that formerly belonged exclusively to marketing agencies. The way in which law firms market today is similar to the way in which management consulting firms used to market, in that they often focused on just the basics that were offered. These consulting firms have now opened a new door by expanding what they offer to their customers, and before this drastic change, were very one dimensional in how they positioned themselves. Now, with the new success of consulting firms and their new

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