When we raise the subject of law firms/lawyers and marketing, is it inevitable that we start on the understanding that we lag behind the rest of the business world? Has anyone, anywhere ever said “law firms and lawyers are great marketing innovators”?
The general consensus is that although marketing has had a profound influence on law firms over the past decade, law firms are slow to adopt modern marketing practices, and they lag behind other businesses.
Worse, they often lack a marketing strategy.
Even worse, lawyers think marketing is a “a tawdry discipline beneath their education and skills as professionals”
And there’s more; Lawyers are arrogant and fail to realise that there are people at law firms that are more qualified than them in business disciplines including marketing, so they do not empower these professionals to make decisions that enable their firm to make the most of their talent and skills.
Is marketing the first budget to be cut at law firms?
Do law firms fail to enable growth and future business security through investing in marketing?
In Legal 500’s recent Round Table meeting with Chief Marketing Officers of law firms, David Burgess of Legal 500 proposed that law firms do the opposite of what all other businesses do – they are increasing their investment in marketing and business development, while law firms are making cuts.
Is this hopeless situation true? The CMO’s present unanimously disagreed. They said that obtaining resources and buy-in from their employers over marketing proposals was not difficult.
So great news. Partners have ears, they listen to marketing professionals and they are willing and able to move quickly and fund great marketing proposals. So why do we persistently hear that lawyers won’t listen to modern marketing practice or marketers? Perhaps we can finally leave that assumption behind us and read about some of the good marketing practises and developments at law firms.
Can lawyers market?
I’ve previously indulged myself with some personal views on this subject. Should lawyers, as proposed by many marketing professionals, leave marketing to the people who actually have the specialist qualifications and experience? Are lawyers fit to propose and develop marketing plans and actions?
Great lawyers are excellent communicators, which happens to also be the foundation of marketing. Yes, our style can be overly formal, we can be too cautious, and we can be more comfortable with working on individual rather than team marketing efforts. But there are many excellent results from lawyers who take it upon themselves to market themselves, their firms and their work.
Examples of some great efforts by lawyers to drive innovative and successful business and marketing practices are here (Rachel Roche of Roche Legal), here (Trevor Worth of Portcullis Legals) and here (Ben Amunwa of 36 Bedford Row).
And this insightful view from law firm CEO Rajiv Maheshwari regarding the move away from the “top down” approach at law firms to nurture and manage change is well worth a read.
So some great news regarding an improved attitude towards marketing at law firms, and some innovative and successful efforts by lawyers to drive great marketing initiatives. If any lawyer or marketing professional would like to write a post on Law Practice Manager about a marketing initiative at their law firm, please get in touch. Comments on this post are also welcome.