To Be Successful Even Lawyers Must Market Themselves

December 31, 2014

As 2014 ends, many companies and their employees in sales and marketing functions will think about next year’s marketing plan and sales plan.  How to expand the company’s sales and therefore increase revenue?  But for law firms, corporate law departments and even compliance departments, how much emphasis has been spent on business plans?  Probably not much.What emphasis have attorneys in law firms placed on their own practice group’s business and marketing plans?  Are there any marketing plans?  What emphasis have young associates placed on their individual marketing plans, if any?

What many lawyers forget is that they are indeed in business.  Though their law firm or corporate law department is a service provider, they are still functioning in a business capacity and are bound by the rules of business.  To be successful in today’s bottom line oriented legal world, lawyers must come to grips with the fact they are service providers in the legal service industry.  It may be a profession, but it still is a business.  To be successful, one has to market him or herself.  One has to create an individual marketing plan. The law firm has to create a business plan as well as a marketing plan to help it achieve its business objectives.  Lawyers in a corporate setting need to come up with their own marketing plans too.  They have to justify their existence like everybody else in a corporation.

It is imperative that lawyers whether in house counsel or outside counsel in law firms, actually sit down and consider their individual and team goals for the upcoming year.  How much value does the law firm place in business development?  How much value do young associates place on building a business for themselves?

Here are a few thoughts:

Law firms - Develop a Practice Group Marketing Plan  

  •    Do a situation analysis  covering the strengths and weaknesses of the group
  •    Identify the opportunities facing the group via prospective clients
  •    Identify the opportunities for the group via existing clients
  •    Identify potential sources of referrals
  •    Identify long term goals for the group
  •    Identify short term goals for the group

Law Firms - Associates Need To Develop a Marketing Plan

  •   Start visiting the people you work with at clients
  •   Ask for assignments
  •  Join a bar association
  •   Find a mentor
  •  Build a business development plan
  •  Start acting like an owner of a business – stop thinking like a worker bee
  •  Read a book on developing business or selling legal services 

Law Firms- Partners Should Think About Individual Marketing and BD

  • Develop a marketing plan that describes your goals, your practice and your clients
  • Develop a business development plan- how do you intend to increase business
  • Start visiting key clients on a regular basis
  • How can you cross –sell your services with others
  • What are your objectives for the FirmWhat are your long term goals
  • What are your short term goals
  • How can you increase service
  • How can you beat the competition

The world of the gentile law firm is over.  Lawyers in any organization whether it is a law firm or corporation must consider business development and marketing activities as crucial.  After all it is business.  Which is why, next time I will discuss business development and marketing issues corporate in house counsel and compliance counsel must consider.

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