Take Suzanne Lowe's One-Minute Marketing Survey

Suzanne Lowe, author of the Expertise Marketing Blog, is conducting another one-minute survey for her upcoming book. The title of this survey is "How well do Marketing and Business Development work with other operations, like Finance, IT, HR, Legal and more?"

Increasingly, Marketing / BD leaders seek ways to add new value by partnering with their colleagues in HR, IT, Finance, Legal, and more. Yet often these collaborations are simply “good ideas” forged by proactive people. Typically, these collaborations are not organizationally supported by incentives, rewards, recognized shared accountabilities or co-developed job descriptions.

In the increasingly competitive professional services marketplace, are these “good ideas” good enough?

Take her super-short survey to find out how your firm compares to other firms at creating formal working relationships between Marketing, Business Development and other operational functions. She'll give you a chance to see the results before anyone else. (Later, she'll post the results on the Expertise Marketplace™ blog and The Marketplace Master™ newsletter.)

Take our short survey

Many thanks,


Survey Report: How Law Firms Spend their Marketing Dollars

Become a LawMarketing Portal Premium Member today for only $200/year! You get:
  • To read "MEMBERS ONLY" articles
  • To post JOBS listings a simple text editor and image upload capabilities (no HTML knowledge needed).
  • To list EVENTS listings.
  • To upload CONSULTANTS listings.

All you need is one moneymaking tip, one good job candidate, one good consulting project, or one big turnout for your event -- and you've made the $200 membership fee back. Harness the LawMarketing Portal, which gets 80,000 unique visitors per month.  Click here to join today.

A new LawMarketing Portal survey reveals that:

  • A preponderance of law firms spend 2% of their gross revenues on marketing.
  • Law firms lavish the amount spent on attorney-client meals and entertainment.
  • 52% said that their lawyers have individual marketing plans
  • 49% reported that their firm does not have a marketing committee
  • 62% said they only “occasionally” measure ROI on marketing
  • 54% of respondents admitted that their law firm does not have a written marketing plan.

Note: You must be a Premium Member of the LawMarketing Portal to view the article.  See the sidebar for more info.

The report itemizes in detail how much law firms spend on printed marketing materials, website, sports and other tickets, advertising, public relations, yellow pages, event planning and marketing training.  For example, some firms (16%) spend $101,000 to $200,000 on charitable and civic event sponsorships; ironically an almost equal number (18%) spend $5,000 or less on sponsorships.

Read "Survey Report: How Law Firms Spend their Marketing Dollars" today at http://www.lawmarketing.com/pages/articles.asp?Action=Article&ArticleCategoryID=58&ArticleID=740




Marketers Now Have Many New Choices for CRM Software

John Rogers, law firm marketingOver the past 12 months there has been a transformation of the market for CRM (client relationship management) software. Previously dominated by InterAction, there are now five plausible competitors vying for a slice of the professional services market, according to John Rogers, a consultant with Tandem Management Ltd. who advises law and accounting firms on complex technology projects.

There has never been a better time to purchase CRM, with greater choice and software costs under pressure from increased competition. But is this all good news for potential purchasers and how should they exploit the current situation? Having spoken with the principal suppliers, I have set out in this article the opportunities – and pitfalls – that await anyone considering a new system this year.

The pioneers

The first systems were installed around ten years ago, and the concept of using CRM within law firms – and a handful of accounting firms – quickly became established. Most early implementations were based on InterAction, which went on to become the market leader in the UK and in its home US market. Other vendors spotted an opportunity, most notably e1 Business with SalesLogix and Elite with their Apex module.

For the rest of the article, please visit the LawMarketing Portal at http://tinyurl.com/3beqoy.


Scales shifting from marketing to business development

law firm marketing, marketing director, business developmentThe scales are shifting in professional services marketing. The days when it sufficed to perform ‘marcomm’ activities – like brochures, advertising, public relations, firm events and branding – have passed. Today there is pressure on marketers to show return on investment.

In short, marketers must move from the ‘expense’ side of the ledger to the ‘revenue’ side.

Adding urgency is the fact that the US (and soon the world) is in a recession – consumer spending is down, unemployment is up, home prices are down, oil prices are near an all time high and the war in Iraq is wasting billions.“We are in a recession right now – it’s pretty obvious,” said Sara Kraeski, Director of Business Development of Davis, Graham & Stubbs in Denver, at a recent conference.

Partners today don’t want to know how much your project costs, they want to know how much it will earn. Smart marketers are changing their focus to business development activities:

  • Advising teams going on tender competitions and beauty parades.
  • Developing proposals that win new business.
  • Identifying targets for clients to pursue.
  • Helping professionals write personal business development plans.

Coaching is the single best activity in which to be proficient.The good news is that ‘BD’ is a learnable set of skills, and the abilities that make a top professional – being a good listener, analytical, expert questioners, organized and hard-working – are the same skills of those of top salespeople.

You as the marketer must help the professionals write business development plans.The priorities of the plans are pursuing clients first, then referral sources, next becoming visible in a business organization and finally targeting business executives. It’s all about relationships – the more a professional has, the more clients he or she will have.

First you’ll need support from the top. Announce to firm management that you have a plan to increase its revenue significantly. That will get their attention.Then explain that you will work with the fee earners who have the most potential (not the new associates or the 40-year old ‘service partners’ who have no clients).Your plan is to magnify their new business production.

I recommend that professionals spend 200 hours per year on business development. This equals four hours per week – a goal easily attained by meeting a referral source for coffee, visiting a client’s offices at lunch and attending a trade association meeting at an event.

Here’s why this works. If you have 10 professionals who are active four hours a week, they should meet two ideal clients per week.This works out to 1,000 contacts per year. Let’s suppose they are just terrible at what they do and have a 90% failure rate. It still works out to 100+ new clients/matters per year. And that is a return on investment the partners can take to the bank.


Thelen Reid Layoffs Hit Firm's West Coast Marketing Staff

ste[jem PThe recession which is hitting law firms has caused 600-lawyer Thelen Reid to lay off 26 associates and 85 members of its support staff, including members of the west coast marketing staff.  

In my opinion, laying off marketers during an economic downturn is like dumping fuel when a plane is trying to stay in flight.  The layoffs support Betiayn Tursi's op-ed piece in which she said marketing is undervalued by law firms.  Tursi, who is Editor in Chief of Marketing The Law Firm, went on to say that "as soon as profits start to fall or management takes a hard long look at staffing--bye, bye marketing department."

Identities of the marketers hit by the layoffs were not immediately known.

Above the Law broke the layoff news, noting that Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner has 234 associates still named on its website, so the firm cut over 10% of their associates.

Co-chairman Stephen O'Neal told the Recorder and Above the Law that the associate layoffs are in response to the economic downturn, which has cut into its capital markets practice. He also said some of the staff cuts were partly because of redundancies following the firm’s 2006 merger, which combined Francisco-based Thelen Reid & Priest and New York-based Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner.

"We are being prudent businesspeople,” O’Neal told Above the Law. “When you are dealing with recessionary pressures, you adjust your business so you will have—and maintain—a strong level of profitability, notwithstanding those pressures."

At least one associate has been cut in each of the firm’s nine offices. Both junior and senior-level associates are being laid off, mostly in the firm’s business and finance, litigation and construction practices.

The Fifth Dimension: Online Advertising Increasing Rapidly

shaun Quigley, law firm marketingThe four biggest advertising media channels—print, television, radio and outdoor—now compete with a ubiquitous and rapidly changing fifth, the digital channel, because your buyers and influencers are spending more and more time online, according to Shaun Quigley, Account Director, and Joe Walsh, Principal, of greenfield/belser ltd., a professional services marketing company based in Washington, D.C. 

As a service marketer building brand, service offering or recruitment campaigns, you not only have to understand the digital channel, you need to learn how to use it well.

Internet advertising revenues exceed $5.2 billion for the third quarter of 2007, representing another historic high for a quarter and a $1.1 billion increase, or 25.3% higher, than Q3 of 2006,” according to The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Smart advertisers are putting more dollars online because that medium delivers “viewers” with increasing levels of frequency, reach and measurable results—which is the point. The oft-quoted and acclaimed bank robber, Willy Sutton, said, when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that's where the money is.” And so it goes with Internet advertising.

Read the full story on the LawMarketing Portal at www.lawmarketing.com



Emerson College to Offer For-Credit Course in Law Firm Marketing

Silvia HodgesProfessor Silvia Hodges, of the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston will soon launch the first university-level for-credit course in law and professional services marketing.

"I am in the midst of prepping my upcoming course in professional services marketing for graduate marketing students at Emerson (heavy on the legal marketing side, thanks to several years in the industry). A visionary administration at the university and lobbying from my side made it possible that this May a group of graduate marketing students will read the first-ever (to my humble knowledge) 4-credit university course in our industry.

"There is no textbook yet, so I have to put together a reader with excerpts from a number of books and articles. A number of thought leaders from our industry will come and volunteer their time to make this idea come to life.

"In lectures, case studies and workshops we will examine how the professional services sector has undergone greater transformations during the past two decades than in the last two centuries and traditional conduct and approach no longer guarantee the success and survival, thus forcing the firms to compete in new ways, that is, embracing a service and marketing orientation. We will look at the fundamental concepts and strategies that differentiate the marketing of professional services from the marketing of tangible goods and non-professional services.

"Marketing challenges that arise due to these differences will be identified as well as the factors necessary for the creation of the right service experience and possible solutions for the management of the service experience. Client satisfaction and service quality issues, such as methods for tracking service failures and recovery efforts as well as retention strategies will be covered to ensure the assessment and improvement of the professional service delivery system that will lead to a seamless service experience for the client. The focus will be on strategy, which you will surely appreciate, not on operational tactics.

For the rest of the story, visit the LawMarketing Portal.

LMA Gives Out Awards for Brochures, Ads and Marketing Initiatives

law firm marketing, your honor awardsLast week the LMA gave out its annual Your Honor awards.  Taking a cue from the LawMarketing Portal, the LMA put up the list of the winners online (Click here for an excel file for the full results) and actually printed a 48-page glossy brochure describing what the winners did to get the award.  (Click here to download the 2008 Winners Book (it's a 7.18 MB PDF file).

Several of the winners have already been featured on the LawMarketing Portal and Blog:

Of course, I couldn't anticipate all the winners, and I'll be contacting several of them to find out key info, such as what the programs cost and what results they brought -- topics that were not thoroughly covered in the winner handbook.  I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

To review the list of first-place winners, just click the link Continue Reading...

Continue Reading...

Podcast: Virtual Law Firms

Lawyer 2 Lawyer, podcast, law firm marketing, larry bodineAlmost since the earliest days of the Internet, lawyers have been experimenting with virtual firms to increase efficiency and lower costs. More recently, virtual firms have taken on greater levels of sophistication and complexity. On the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, we discussed this phenomenon with the principals of two virtual firms and a business-development consultant. The speakers included:

Among the things we discussed were putting a law firm on the Web with lawyers at widespread locations, the convenience of virtual firms for clients, and letting the Web do your own marketing for you. Other advatnages are less travel, less overhead, and no boring office meetings.

Download or listen to the program on this page or listen on your mobile phone using mobilize. Subscribe to receive all Lawyer2Lawyer programs via RSS or using iTunes.

Right Click and Download Play Windows Media


The LMA Rebuts a Critic

The following letter to the editor from Jennifer Johnson, president of the New York LMA chapter, appeared in the March 13 issue of the New York Lawyer.  It came in response to an op-ed article by Elizabeth Anne "Betiayn" Tursi, Editor-in-Chief of ALM's Marketing The Law Firm. Among other points, Tursi wrote, " I dropped my membership because as time went on, I found the organization to be lacking the type of educational give and take that an organization is supposed to provide its members." 

Jennifer JohnsonTo the Editor:

We here at the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) find ourselves compelled to respond to the recent forecast of the death of our industry and alleged lack of leadership in our Association as outlined on this Web site on March 6, "Law Firm Marketing: R.I.P.?." It is clear to our members that this is anything but a field in decline. The facts point to just the opposite: law firm marketing is alive and thriving.

The LMA is a group of more than 3,100 marketing, business development and public relations professionals worldwide whose members are dedicated to growing the business of law firms globally. The Metro New York Chapter, with nearly 500 members locally, believes it is necessary to deliver hard facts not only to counter the provocative opinions of the author of the March 6 column, but to provide a clear and accurate picture of the reality of law firm marketing today.

The Association, in direct correlation with the industry of legal marketing, has grown more than 53% over the past five years due to law firm's investment in building more sophisticated platforms - many of which mirror those of their clients. What is the reason for such tremendous growth? It is because law firms have seen positive results in their bottom line. The firms who utilize marketing resources have seen increased efficiency with internal cross-communication resulting in more business from existing clients; brands that are differentiated from their competitors; increased partner business generation thanks to individualized marketing plans and coaching; geographic expansion due to the research of competitive intelligence teams; heightened realization rates because of improved matter management; and the list goes on.

A recent study by the author of this rebuttal shows that 61% of Chief Marketing Officers report to a Managing Partner or Chair of their firm. The average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer was merely 18 months in 2005 and has grown to more than four years today. This compares favorably with other industries and can be taken as a strong gauge that marketing professionals are not only accepted, but very much valued by their firms.

Wait - there's more. Over the past five years the LMA has been led, whether at the International or Chapter level, by 24 c-level marketing professionals and by 125 director-level professionals, all of whom are volunteers. More than 30% of our members possess advanced degrees (which is a far cry from the days when firms plucked any warm body from the staff pool to lead marketing efforts). With 17 Chapters in the United States and Canada and members spanning the globe, the LMA has held approximately 1,000 events over the past five years that are not only educational but also afford important networking opportunities. These activities enable legal marketing professionals to learn from each other, form alliances and refer business which, ultimately, benefits their firms.

As to the substance of our educational efforts, the keynote speaker at today's LMA conference, for example, is noted attorney and human rights activist Cherie Booth Blair. After graduating with the highest honors from the London School of Economics, Ms. Booth Blair pursued a career as a practicing lawyer at Matrix Chambers Law Group in London while championing international causes along with her husband, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

As legal marketers, our mission is to ensure that our clients, the lawyers, are able to invest all of their energy and intelligence into providing the best possible service to their clients. With our help, lawyers have to worry less about where the next new matter will come from. It is the volunteers of the LMA who provide crucial resources to supplement the already marketing-savvy professionals in the industry.

If legal marketing as a profession is in decline, why are we able to point to so many successes? Ms. Tursi's column suggests that the law firm leaders who hire us, pay us and retain us are missing the mark. We could not disagree more. The increase in c-level positions, the diversification of roles within marketing departments and, frankly, the increased profitability of law firms in recent years can be attributed to the investment in legal marketing professionals.

The members of the LMA in discussion have been unable to grasp the motivation behind Ms. Tursi's comments, and we welcome a reasoned opposing view (we work for lawyers, after all),

But we will not stand by without responding to an attack that is not constructive, and we feel is blatantly without merit.

For many years to come,

Jennifer Johnson
President of the Board of Directors
Legal Marketing Association
Metro New York Chapter

Jennifer Johnson is Vice President of Recruitment & Strategy at Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc.

Awesome Discoveries at the ABA Techshow Exhibits

For the first time I can say that a vendor expo was awesome. The ABA Techshow had the usual collection of case management and time-and-billing stuff, but I found some really cool items:

I bought a top-of-the-line fast laptop/main computer at the Dell booth.  I got A Latitutde D630 for 35% off -- for a total of $1831! Ask for salesman Jesus Ortega, a big guy with a big smile. The system includes:
- Core 2 Duo T9300 2.50 GHz processor with 6M Level 2 Cache with an 800 Mhz bus
- XP home edition.  No Vista for me, thank you.
- 120 Gig hard drive -- a faster one that runs at 7200 rpm.
- DVD player and burner
- built in wireless card
- MS Office 2007 Small business edition (I winced that I would have to learn yet another version of Word, but Jesus told me I could master it in 3 days).
- a 9 cell batter that lasts 9 hours
- 3 year mail in service warranty

The next cool thing was the KeyScan KS810 keyboard scanner.  Most scanners have huge footprints.  With KeyScan you just insert your document into a slot in the keyboard. KeyScan can save it as a PDF and automatically insert it as an attachment in Outlook.  Or, if you're working on a document, you put the cursor where you want the image to appear, scan it, and it is automatically inserted there.  Here's the best part: the price is $159.  If you want one, call Ophira Rosolio at 781.658.2020 or ophira@keyscan.com (see www.keyscan.com)

Thirdly, I was walking down a aisle as saw my face flash up on the TV monitor.  Being curious I tracked down the camera and found Audience Response Systems, Inc.  I congratulated Regional Sales Manager Doug Kinsella on his eye-catching marketing.  It's the best draw in the entire Expo.  They sell Pulse, a continuous real-time audience polling system.  Each audience member (or mock jury member) is given a little keypad, and every 5 seconds they indicate whether they are bored (click 1) or that they're fascinated (click 10).  The results appear live on a screen viewed by monitors.  A speaker or lawyer doing a closing argument can instantly see when he's losing the audience, or when he's got their total attention.  Level 2 Pulse for 24 participants is $4,160.  For more info go to www.audienceresponse.comk or call Doug Kinsellla at 800.458.9081.

Finally the best "gimme" was a yo-yo that lights up when you spin it.  I'm meeting my son Ted for lunch (he's an analyst at Fidelity Investments in downtown Chicago) and I'm going to give it to him.

Stay tuned for more.


2,000 Expected for ABA Techshow

ABA TechshowAccording to Conference Chair Tom Mighell, some 900 lawyers will descend on the Hilton Hotel on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago for ABA Techshow 2008.  When you add in exhibit hall vendors, faculty and vendors, the total is expected to go up to 2,000.

ABA Techshow is ideal for the 21st Century wired lawyer.  I'm here blogging about the conference and also writing a story for Law Technology News about how lawyers use social networking.

You can follow reports on the conference by:

  • Reading this blog, where I'll be reporting on several programs on Friday March 14 about marketing with technology.
  • Go to http://www.abanet.org/techshow/buzz/ and see photos from Techshow that have been posted on Flickr, follow updates from attendees or even check out some of the websites being talked about at the show.
  • Following a Twitter stream, with conference updates as well as personal messages from attendees. You need to open an account on Twitter (http://twitter.com), which is a service that asks the question, “What are you doing?” Techshow is using Twitter to update attendees on activities.  Twitter can be used to tell people that, you just heard or saw something really cool, there’s a raffle drawing happening in a few minutes, you’re looking for someone interested in a particular subject or an important session is about to start
  • Grab the RSS feed -- http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=OigKb_Tj3BGJA380n0artA&_render=rss -- and plug it into your news aggregator so you can see other blog posts about the conference.
  • You can share a website that's cool by using del.icio.us, a social bookmarking tool. We’re keeping all of the ABA TECHSHOW 2008 bookmarks in one place, and it’s really easy to join in.  Just read the tech Cheat Sheet at http://www.abanet.org/techshow/docs/2008/buzzcheat.pdf.

There's free wi-fi on the conference floor to blog, get on the Web and email about the 60 CLE sessions and 100 legal technology exhibitors.  More later.


Podcast: Ten Most Effective Marketing Techniques

The Chicago Bar Association asked me to record a podcast on the most effective marketing initiatives for solos and small law firms.  The recording is online at http://www.chicagobar.org/podcasts/   It's the second item: 08/24/2007 - YLS - Most Effective Marketing Techniques. 

Look for the link Download -- left-click on the link to listen to it online, or right-click to download it to your computer. It's 8.92 meg, so it'll download in about a minute.   Here is a table of contents:
  1. Spend 2.5% of gross revenue on marketing.
  2. Put video on your website.  It appeals to 30% of the US public, which has always had the Internet as part of their lives.
  3. If you can't measure your marketing initiative, don't do it.  Be skeptical of advertising and public relations. Instead write blogs, websites, online banner ads, email newsletters
  4. Focus on getting new files from current clients.
  5. Cultivate referral sources. Start with clients, then pursue investment brokers, accountants, bankers, law school classmates and other sources.
  6. Get on the board of directors of a trade association.  Get active and be visible.
  7. Pursue "targets," or business executives whom you already know.
  8. Write down your business plan -- whom you're going to call, when you're going to meet them and the outcome you desire.  It's inchoate until you write it down.
  9. Spend 400 hours a year on business development -- four hours per week.
  10. Track your results.   It's better than radio ads, which don't produce any results.

Bingham named one of Calif.'s Best Places to Work

Jay Zimmerman, law firm marketingBingham was one of 20 winners of California's Best Places to Work, as chosen by the Los Angeles-based Employers Group, a human resources consulting and educational company for California employers.

It's most recent recognition of the firm’s culture and working environment. Bingham, with nearly 1,000 attorneys in 13 offices, was selected  in the large company category out of more than 400 entrants. Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp won in the medium company category.

“This is the second competition that has named Bingham as a Best Place to Work this year, after being named for the fourth straight year to FORTUNE magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list. We hope to build upon this momentum in 2008 and beyond,” said Bingham Chairman Jay Zimmerman.

The ranking was based on more than 400 companies’ responses to a survey of employers and employees in nine categories, including: pay, benefits, training and advancement opportunities, work-life balance, diversity programs, turnover, perks, employee voice and workplace culture, and community involvement.

  • In January, Bingham was named for the fourth straight year to the FORTUNE magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. The firm ranked 41st on the list, up from 94 in 2007, with the percentage of women and minority employees noted as a main factor for the firm’s selection.
  • In September 2007, the Los Angeles Business Journal ranked Bingham’s Los Angeles and Santa Monica offices No. 7 on its “Best Places to Work” list.
  • Bingham also was the only large law firm named to the Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” list for 2007, ranking fifth. The firm was one of only four companies that has made the newspaper’s list each year since it was launched.
  • In August 2007, Working Mother magazine named Bingham one of the top 50 law firms for working mothers and flex-time lawyers.
  • Bingham was one of only 30 law firms and 195 major U.S. companies to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2007 Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, customers and investors.

A Ray of Economic Hope: Corporate Clients Have Plenty of Cash

There's a ray of light in the economic gloom affecting law firms: many corporate clients have plenty of cash and little debt, and are well-situated to get through the recession, according to the New York Times.

The concern in the legal community is that corporate clients will start demanding rate freezes or discounts, following the direct challenge spearheaded by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) against law firm rates. (See They Say They Want a Revolution: Reconnecting Legal Costs to Value Delivered, subscription required.)

But Jason Trennert, managing partner and chief investment strategist at Strategas Research Partners in New York, who said his own rough examination of corporate balance sheets shows that “cash, as a percent of total assets, is as high as it’s been since the 1960s.”

  • At Paychex the ratio of cash as a percent of total asserts has grown from 30% in 1988 to 70% by last year.
  • Apple's cash ration grew from 38% to 60% over the same time period.
  • Microsoft's cash on hand is so large that it could pay out the $20 billion cash component of its pending hostile takeover bid for Yahoo from its own reserves.

High cash ratios exist across many industries, including apparel, manufacturing, engineering, retail, healthcare and technology companies.

Meanwhile, a study by at Ohio State University shows that corporate debt has fallen sharply.  The net debt ratio, or debt minus cash as a percent of total assets — fell so sharply that, by 2004, it was below zero, where it stayed at least through 2006.

“In other words,” the researchers noted, “on average, firms could have paid off their debt with their cash holdings.” Innovations like "just in time" supply chains and faster payment systems have cut accounts receivable, cut debt and raised cash reserves.

Ideally this means that corporations will spend their "overstuffed wallets" on litigation, mergers and acquisitions and corporate work done by law firms.

As recently as October 2007, an ACC/Serengeti survey revealed that corporations expect their law firms to increase their rates by 5.3% up to 6% on hourly rates in 2008.  The same report found that the balance of fee-setting power favors law firms, hourly rates will continue to predominate, and cutting fees is not the top client priority.

Maybe 2008 won't be as hard on law firms as they expect.

Editor Rips Marketers and the LMA for Failing to Grow into a Profession

Betiayn Tursi, law firm marketingIn a controversial op-ed article entitled "Law Firm Marketing: Is It So Over We Need a New Word for Over?" Elizabeth Tursi, the Editor-in-Chief of Marketing The Law Firm, takes legal marketers -- and the LMA to task -- for failing to grow into a real profession. "Things are starting to look even gloomier," she writes.

For close to 20 years, I have been one of the supporting voices for law firm marketing, hoping against hope that the profession would come to be accepted and that over time, law firm marketing would come into its own and garner the respect it so richly deserved. Simply stated: For the most part it has not and things are starting to look even gloomier.

 "I dropped my [LMA] membership because as time went on, I found the organization to be lacking the type of educational give and take that an organization is supposed to provide its members." -- Editor Elizabeth Tursi.    

Yes, there are firms that have embraced marketing and as a result of targeted marketing programs, these firms have prospered. Many of these firms appear on the annual MLF 50. But for every firm on that list there are countless others that have been unsuccessful in putting forth the premise that marketing works. I have watched the revolving door of marketing professionals and have taken note of many firms that have no marketing programs at all. You’ve got to wonder. What’s up with law firm marketing and after a somewhat good run, is it in the throes of going the way of TQM — remember that?

Where did it all go wrong? My contention is that there are several factors at work that have contributed to the current state of law firm marketing. I know I am not going to make any friends here, but this is after all an Op Ed, so here goes.

Exactly the wrong person for the job

"Betiayn is indeed ignorant. Through that ignorance she spreads insidious disinformation, hurts our profession as a whole, and, unlike most responsible Op Ed columnists, utterly fails to offer anything resembling a solution to an identified problem." -- ex-LMA president Nat Slavin.  Click here to read his full comments.

To begin, we have the selection of the actual person leading the marketing efforts. Time after time, in firm after firm, the individual selected as CMO has been exactly the wrong person for the job. Many of these individuals had been chosen based on a resume of other law firm experience. Did anyone ever stop to check to see if these candidates were successful in their prior position? The resounding answer is “no.” The reason: Because law firms thought that candidates with resumes replete with other law firm positions obviously made them marketing geniuses. Wrong again. On the other side of the spectrum is the choice of individuals from outside the world of law firms. These are the candidates who have never worked in a horizontal management structure and are completely baffled as they walk into a room of 20 or more owners. Disastrous results followed because with no political savvy (a prerequisite for working in a law firm), these individuals were clueless as to how to work within the structure. The other part of the problem is gravitas. I have been preaching about this forever. Without the ability to have a “seat at the table,” make your case, stick to it and go head to head with management, a CMO is doomed to fail.


Problem Number Two: There are certain questions that a candidate prior to securing the position must ask. It involves doing one’s own due diligence and asking those questions. Will I have autonomy to do a needs assessment and when the results are produced, and when I do create the plan and develop the strategy, will I be provided with the resources and buy-in from management to implement that plan? Without the answer being “yes” on the part of management, the success ratio — zero!

The wrong approach to implement marketing

Next problem: Many firms chose the wrong approach to implement the marketing plan — marketing by committee. Again, what do attorneys know about marketing — not very much. Therefore, why would a CMO be forced to sit in a room filled with attorneys giving their opinions on how to market the firm? Clearly, at the get-go, the CMO is in a no-win situation because, after all, the committee members own the place and it was their money that was being pumped into the marketing program. If a committee has to rubber-stamp each marketing activity, the overall program once again is doomed to fail. Marketing by consensus is just not the way to go.

To finish reading the article visit the LawMarketing Portal.


2,200 Texas Lawyers Join Social Networking Site

In case you missed it, appended below is an article about a social networking website that the State Bar of Texas created for Texas lawyers
Branching Out in the Lone Star State
By Tom Mighell, Law Practice Magazine, January 2008
Branching Out in the Lone Star State 
On June 1, 2007, the State Bar of Texas officially launched the Texas Bar Circle, the first social networking site for lawyers provided by a state bar organization. Has the site caught on since its rollout?

Definitely yes—as of this writing, more than 2,200 lawyers have joined it. “We knew that lawyers are social animals, and that their success depends on their ability to network with peers and build connections,” says John Sirman, Web manager of the State Bar of Texas. “We saw our members as a group ideally suited for and in need of social networking tools. To me, this concept was a no-brainer and an inevitable offering by any bar association.”

The social network is “closed,” in that only members of the Texas bar can participate. Because the members are all known individuals, the closed network helps to minimize many of the concerns that exist with public sites like MySpace and Facebook. Members sign up using their bar number and automatically have access to their own “Home Page.” This page contains a calendar, announcements and news, links to new members in the Bar Circle, and other information. To add friends to their networks, users click on People and browse for other members, and then the other person receives an e-mail asking him or her to accept or reject that invitation.

A common part of joining a social network is the creation of the member profile, to let others know more about you. The Profile page on the Texas Bar Circle site has areas where members can add information about their current employment and their education, upload their resumes, and add all of their contact information, if desired. The Profile page also contains a listing of the member’s current friends and groups joined. Users can keep a journal on their Profile page, or upload photos to their photo album and share them with the community.
In addition to traditional social networking features, the Texas Bar Circle also offers a Careers page, where users can browse for jobs or post job listings of their own. The Discussions area allows members to converse about virtually any topic. And coming soon to the site will be the ability for members to add their specific practice areas to their profiles.

Members are also able to create their own groups, and as of this writing, there are more than 90 groups, ranging from law school alumni groups to practice-specific interest groups, to Lawyer Moms, Christian Attorneys and Musical Lawyers.

Sirman has seen some interesting things happening in the interest groups. “People really are using it to make new connections with people they may not otherwise have met. A fun example is the Art and Photography group, where there are some real artists sharing their work by uploading photo albums. Or Rainmaking, where members are making new business connections. With the Bar Circle, our members have a way to connect statewide that couldn’t exist without this platform.”

About the Author

Tom Mighell is Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas, as well as ABA TECHSHOW 2008 Chair.

2008 Law Firm Lateral Hiring Survey - Get a Free Copy of the Results

ioma, law firm marketing, lateral hiring, marketing consultingIOMA is conducting a survey on lateral hiring and integration at law firms, and this is your chance to provide input. I recommend that you take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

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Perkins Coie Makes Crain's list of Best Places to Work in Chicago

Perkins CoieThe law firm Perkins Coie, with 129 employees (staff + lawyers combined) at the office at 131 S. Dearborn St. in Chicago, made the list of Chicago's Best Places to Work just published by Crain's Chicago Business.

Congratulations to Christopher Wilson, Office managing partner, for breaking the code on how to make a law firm a great place to have a career.  If you want a job there, just contact Joyce Wlodarczyk at jwlodarczyk@perkinscoie.com.

With more than 650 lawyers in 14 offices across the United States and in China, the firm represents companies ranging in size from start-ups to FORTUNE 100.  Perkins Coie was named to FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. 

See my earlier report 5 Law Firms Included in Fortune's Best Places to Work on the LawMarketing Portal.