I know that many lawyers reading this went to law school never giving thought to the idea of having to do any legal marketing. In fact, I suspect that you would rather undergo root canal surgery than spend your precious time marketing and selling.
Just the thought of legal marketing causes an allergic rash to mysteriously appear all over our bodies. Can’t we just be left alone to “practice”? After all, isn’t practicing difficult enough? The long hours, demanding clients, time constraints, firm politics, and of course, dealing with opposing counsel on every nit.
Yes, practicing law is hard, especially in today’s economic environment. It doesn’t help that today the practice of law looks more like a business than ever before. With over 1 million lawyers in the United States alone, competition is fierce. Outsourcing, increased utilization of RFPs and contract attorneys, budgetary caps and alternative fees, hiring freezes, deferred start dates, reduced salaries, mass demotions, de-equitization of partners, and technology that commands 24/7 attention, are all altering the legal landscape. Practicing law may be a profession, but today’s law firms are run more like a business than ever before. And like their counterparts in the business community, revenues and earnings drive major decisions.
The result of all this change is that just being a good lawyer or tactician is simply not enough anymore. If you really want to succeed in today’s environment, you have to become knowledgeable about legal marketing and client acquisition. It’s the only way you’ll be in complete control of your professional destiny. Sure, you could bill an outrageous amount of hours, be a national expert in your area of the law, even a partner in a large firm, but these factors no longer guarantee your financial and personal success. Deep down inside you know this to be true…unfortunate…but true.
And getting started is the most difficult part. An attitude and belief shift may be in order. For many of us, legal marketing is seen as demeaning, time consuming and a waste of our precious time. It goes against everything we believe in. Yellow page ads, obnoxious late night cable commercials, glossy brochures and similar looking web sites all serving only to gratify an attorney’s ego rather than sell real benefits and value reinforce this negative view of legal marketing. Most of us know that today’s typical legal marketing activities represent the opposite ends of the spectrum…either professional garbage about the impressive “image” of the lawyer, or raunchy ads about getting the client massive amounts of money for injury claims. And worse, they all look alike.
The reason the majority of us dislike attorney marketing is that we were never taught how to do it in a professional and personally fulfilling way. And with the pressure to bill hours, how do we find the time to market? Even more, what tactics should we use that fits our personality and are comfortable to implement? Let me assure you that when you know how, marketing your solutions can be easy and enjoyable…if you implement a few of these ideas.
First and foremost, determine what it is you really want to be, do and have with respect to your legal career. Failing to address these important and unique issues will render any legal marketing strategy completely useless and boring. In other words, what do YOU want to do with your legal career; where do YOU want to do it, and what do YOU want your professional legacy to be? The answers to these three important questions explores what inspires and motivates you, what it is you stand for, what activities you love to do, the environment you want to do them in, who you want to serve, and what you want your professional life to stand for.