Marketing your law firm: how to avoid getting caught swimming naked!

Marketing your law firm: how to avoid getting caught swimming naked!

By Kevin Wheeler

Pre-2008, when the market for legal services was booming, lawyers threw money and resources (marketing staff) at promoting their firms. As a relatively new business discipline – let’s remember, The Law Society only allowed lawyers to advertise in 1986 – few partners really understood the “science” of marketing, but this didn’t stop them going overboard on advertising, sponsorships, brochures (and more latterly websites) and, of course, corporate hospitality. At the time, most of this marketing looked like it was more about boosting the partners’ egos and allowing them to have a good time, rather than identifying client need and positioning the firm to win future business. But when instructions were pouring in and everyone was busy, few stopped to question what was being done and why.

When the credit-crunch came and the market for legal services went over a cliff, the folly of law firm marketing came home to roost. As Warren Buffet remarked of those businesses that failed to adapt to the new economic order, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked!” And this was particularly true of law firm marketing. That partners didn’t understand the importance of marketing – strong businesses usually increase their marketing spend in a downturn

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About the author:

Kevin Wheeler has been advising professional services firms on all aspects of marketing and business development for nearly 30 years. As a consultant he helps firms to manage and grow their key clients as well as to win new ones. As a certified coach with WABC he works with partners and those approaching partnership to improve their BD skills.