Measuring the Return on Investment in Law Firms

tim corcoran
Tim Corcoran

Here's a synopsis written by Frank Strong of a webinar by Tim Corcoran and Chris Fritsch, courtesy of the Make More Rain blog. See below to review their slides.

Following are five lessons from the webinar:

1. Seemingly small but important details matter.  It’s the “little things that count,” according to Fritsch.   Start by getting the entire team focused on business development for just a few hours a week.  Details, such as getting the right people to the right events can make a big difference.  Focus on modest but achievable goals such as improving the click-through rate on email communication by 1%.

Chris Fritsch
Chris Fritsch

2. Measure and reward based on business objectives.  One law firm was recognizing volume – a business development team had completed some 400 RFPs over a given period of time – but the question remains, is volume the goal?  Volume however, may not be the same as focusing on the right things:  relationships with top clients or conducting client interviews.  There’s an aspect of culture to this as well – and it’s a way to ensure that the firm’s young attorneys are being properly trained in business development.

3.  ROI is relative.  Return on investment, or ROI, is by definition the gain from the investment minus the cost of that investment and then divided by the cost of that investment.  There’s a credible argument to be made that ROI in law firm marketing is not always so absolute, rather a firm should “look at all of our expenses and compare to what else we can be doing,” according to Corcoran.  “In a law firm we are asked to do a lot,” added Corcoran but the question is, “What should we do?  Where should we focus?”

4.  Avoid random acts of golf and lunch.  It’s important to ensure the marketing spend is strategic.  Fritsch relayed an anecdote about a firm that noticed complete strangers were showing up to the firm’s box seats at a major sporting event.   When the partners looked into this matter, they discovered that the firm’s associates were giving the tickets to friends, who were in turn reselling them on internet sites.  The firm ended up cutting the program and yielded some $2 million in savings.

5. Target, segment, target.  This was a theme that ran throughout the webinar with several tips for emails, events and content marketing presented at various times.  Corcoran pointed out he often sees law firms create brochures with a long list of capabilities, what he called, “do it yourself selling.”  In other words, if a prospective client reviewed every biography on a law firm’s website, they might find a lawyer that can meet their needs. The problem is, prospective clients aren’t wiling to do this so marketing needs to segment their messages according to who they’d like to reach.



Infographic: Law Firms Will Invest More in CRM in 2014

As the infographic below shows, 63% of law firms plan to invest additional funds into law firm CRM (client relationship management) in the next 12 months, according to a new survey by LexisNexis. A working system is extremely useful in business development, and can spotlight

  • "Who" at the firm knows "whom" at a client.
  • Sort clients by industry and growth potential.
  • Facilitate cross-selling.
  • Produce reports about every time a person or company made contact with the firm.

Yet marketing professionals and IT directors dread rolling out CRM initiatives, because 33% of law firms encountered lack of employee buy-in, and only 50% of firms saw a return on investment. Success turns on implementing CRM as a firm-wide strategic effort, as opposed to a technology implementation.Insights into Law Firm CRM



The Power of an Instant Response

Tech expert Justanswer.comLawyers can take a page from Internet marketers who have discovered the potency of an instant -- and I mean immediate -- response to a client inquiry.

Tale #1: I recently bought a new laptop (Windows 7 Toshiba Satellite) and was aggravated that I couldn't open attachments from emails or install a new program. The mystery problem seemed to be with the pre-installed Norton antivirus, and I contacted customer support. I completed the online form and was notified I was #66 in line! You guessed it -- I missed my turn.

I was considering uninstalling Norton when the phone rang. I was astounded that it was Norton support, calling to reconnect me with a tech support person. Taking control over my laptop, she immediately fixed the problem. I was delighted and they kept me as a customer.

Tale #2: I have an idea for a service and bought a domain name via Within a minute the phone rang, and it was a guy from, offering to build a custom website at no charge. The site would include graphics, several pages and email accounts. Hosting would cost $115 per month. 

It seemed like a good deal but I told him I wanted to think about it. He said the offer was good only over the phone. So I turned him down because I don't like "act now" ultimatum-style offers. I might have said "yes" if I hadn't already looked into WordPress. In any event, I was impressed with the lightning offer.

Tale #3: After a week of hassling, I could not get Outlook 2013 to add my Gmail account. It kept rejecting my username and password. I Googled for a solution repeatedly, until I ran across I read a transcript of an online chat with an expert who got Outlook 2013 working, so I tried it.

I willingly put down a $48 "good faith deposit," and was immediately connected with Jason, a tech expert. This guy was awesome. Using a chat feature I described my frustration and gave him permission to take over my computer remotely. I watched the screen as he quickly created a new IMAP Gmail account, got it working and deleted the defective account.

I was dazzled and soooo grateful. Using an online feature, I gave him a cash tip plus a good review. Then I learned I had a free trial and wouldn't be charged the $48 until after a week. In other words -- the fix was free. Needless to say, they have me as a customer when the trial ends.

Marketing Lessons

These tales taught me that the very best time to close a new client is the moment they are telling you about their problem. There will not be a better time to close them later on. If you wait for a client to do more research and mull things over, they may likely choose someone else. The person they will choose is the lawyer who closed the client as they listened to them talk.

So if you have subscribed to a lead generation service, be certain to have someone make a response the second it arrives.

The tales also show that a solution now is worth much more than a solution later. There is a huge intrinsic value to speed of delivery. This is why Amazon and eBay have gone beyond competing on overnight delivery, and are working on same-day delivery. Giving good legal counsel immediately is much better than giving excellent legal advice eventually.

Recently I needed advice on a contract governed by Ohio law. I found a lawyer online near Akron, and described the legal issue via email and phone. He gave me the bottom line answer on the phone on a Friday and sent me an eight-page opinion letter on Monday.

Making a legal problem go away without a wait is what clients really want.


Tags: Lawyers Offer the Perfect Mix of Business Development and Education

Network of Trial Law FirmsIt’s rare to see business development and CLE combined perfectly, and the Network of Trial Law Firms has achieved it as 75 trial lawyers and 75 corporate clients convene today and tomorrow at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

Focusing on trial and litigation, the Network is a not-for-profit corporation with 6,000 attorneys in 23 independent trial law firms practicing in more than 135 offices. It’s the 10th largest lawyer network – see

Today began with CLE presentations by Network lawyers on Daubert motions, eyewitness testimony and internal investigation plus two client panel discussions on white collar crime and class actions. What is impressive is that the network actually makes CLE interesting, by allotting the speakers 20 minutes to make their point, and by making their PowerPoints sparkle with video and dramatic graphics.

All presentations are videotaped and uploaded to the Network’s YouTube-powered TRIAL.COM online video presentations at www.TRIAL.COM/cle

It’s a tech-savvy group. Attendees can tweet their thoughts using #trialcom, and join in any of 14 Trial Area Groups on LinkedIn, ranging from banking litigation to transportation law.

The genius of the conference is that lawyers invite clients and their spouses to join them at a first-class resort on the Pacific Ocean, where there are nature walks, golf and shopping trips. It offers a unique setting to deepen client relationships – which is the heart of business development. The in-house clients like it too because they can meet skilled trial lawyers from across the country.

Everything, especially the food, is first-class. The Network meeting makes bar association CLEs with stale coffee and starchy snacks seem grim in comparison. There are dozens of networks lawyers can belong to, but if you’re trying to build your practice you should ask yourself the following questions.

Are the meetings so desirable that clients ask to be invited? Do the meetings include lots of in-house corporate counsel, or just other competing lawyers? Do you get a chance to demonstrate your expertise by making a presentation to the attendees? And most importantly: do you return from the meeting with new business?


Improve Your Business Development Savvy

Amy KnappAmy Knapp spelled out how law firm marketers can be effective business development coaches, speaking at the Continuing Marketing Education Conference of the LMA Virginias Chapter in Richmond.

“I am hearing the word sales more and more frequently in law firm,” she said. “Business development is getting in front of the client, making the sale and bringing home the bacon. There is nothing between you and bringing in the money,“ she said. Amy, the Principal of Knapp Marketing of Washington, D.C., is a marketing and business development strategist with more than 20 years experiences working for professional services firms.

  1. Read business books about the sales process. She recommended Legal Business Development by Jim Hassett, Rainmaking Made Simple by Mark Maria, Spin Selling by Neil Rackham and Business by Referral by Ivan Misner.
  2. Go sell something. "If you want to be a good coach, you have to go sell something." It is a disadvantage for many marketers that they haven’t sold anything. Amy suggested joining your daughter and sell Girl Scout Cookies. “You will feel the fear that your daughter feels.” Other options are selling an LMA sponsorship for a chapter or raising funds for a charity.
  3. Help them move the ball forward. It can be useful to do something as basic as edit a lawyer's email proposals. A lawyer might write, "I’d love to talk with out about opportunities with your company. My phone number and email address are…” Change it to: “I’d like to speak with you about we can provide value to your company. I'm available to talk anytime this Thursday or Friday and I'll give you a call then. If you would prefer a different time, just let me know."
  4. Use pre-recorded training. She recommended Rainmaker VT, an online education program for lawyers featuring videos created by sales coach Mike O'Horo. Sales coach Cordell Parvin offers free podcasts of coaching sessions on iTunes.
  5. Make them comfortable. Marketers think in terms of engaging people, being entrepreneurial and creative and cultivating relationships. Lawyers are focused on following precedent, avoiding risk, preventing problems and picking apart documents, according to Amy. A marketer can develop a list of prospects and marketing initiatives -- which will feel intimidating to a lawyer. When you make a list of things they should do, start at the bottom so they can take little steps and it’s not a high-states situation. You can’t make them afraid to take the first step.

By using these tactics, a marketer can coach a lawyer to finally say to a prospect, "I would like to be of service to your company.



Event Information: How Today's Consumers Search for Attorneys

                         Register for this event!!

Date and time: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:30 pm 
Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00) 
Change time zone
Duration: 1 hour

If you are interested in understanding how consumers search for attorneys so you can align your marketing efforts to reach more potential clients, then this webinar is for you! 

During this 1-hour webinar, we will uncover key findings from the latest research on how consumers search for an attorney, including: gathering information on their legal matter, finding a lawyer, validating a lawyer, and ultimately selecting a lawyer or law firm. The increased role that online marketing plays in the consumer search process will also be discussed.


• What are the primary ways consumers search for attorneys?
• Do they use websites, blogs and forums to find legal help?
• Do Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn® play a role in the process?
• Are legal directories still relevant? 
• Do consumers pay attention to peer and client ratings?
• What role do mobile devices play in their search and what does that mean for you?


Larry Bodine is Editor-in-Chief of Lawyers.comSM and®. Larry is also a former litigator, prolific author, editor and blogger on all things legal.

Rocco Impreveduto is Senior Director of Consumer Marketing at LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®, where he focuses on driving traffic and awareness for consumer brands, including Lawyers.comSM.



Reap More Clients Through Reviews and Endorsements

Reviewpositive reviewHave you ever felt overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get an endorsement for your practice?  There are actually several ways to get those positive reviews.

Research shows that more and more consumers are depending on reviews and endorsements for products and services before making a purchase. Online reviews of a business or product are viewed as “unbiased”, and therefore more credible. A good review can make you, and a bad review can turn clients away in droves. 

Is there a way to generate reviews and endorsements for your practice? There are several:
Repurpose good reviews. If you have received good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.
Give to get. Social media is, well, social. So if you give good reviews on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites, chances are that the effort will be rewarded with reciprocal reviews.
Request a review. We know of a car salesman who routinely asks satisfied customers to post reviews of his service on Google and other review web sites.   He says it is now responsible for a big part of his monthly new customer acquisition count. If you’ve made a client happy with your service, ask them to submit a review or testimonial saying why they loved doing business with you.
One thing you should never do is fake a review or testimonial. If they sound too glowing or like you wrote them, it will do much more harm than good. And somehow consumers can always tell what is authentic and what is not, so don’ t try to fool them or you could get burned.
Click the link to read the full article, How To Get More Clients Through Reviews and Endorsements.

Handling New Callers to Your Firm

Here is the PILMMA Bright Idea of the Week by Ken Hardison. The important function of responding to new callers is often relegated to whoever's available. "As business owners, we understand the new callers and clients are our lifeblood," he says. Ken, who is president of the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association (PILMMA), offers these tips.

  • Hire at least one person who is dedicated to answering new callers. Get people who are pleasant, empathic and good listeners. By using a Plantronics wireless headset, the person can answer a call no matter where they are working in the office.
  • When the call-taker is not busy taking calls, they can be busy scanning and opening new mail, filing, making copies, sending out letters, and closing and opening new files.
  • You must train these people and give them scripts to follow. Once they're working test them with "mystery shoppers" and record incoming calls (be sure to check local laws about this). You can also can train people by using role-playing.

These tips will give you more cases, a happier staff and happier new callers.


Last Chance to Register: 'How to Win Your Competitor's Clients'

David Ackert, law firm marketing, legal marketingWEBINAR PRESENTED BY: The Ackert Advisory and the Professional Business Development Institute (PBDI)
SPEAKERS: David Ackert and special guest Larry Bodine, Esq. 
DATE: Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - one hour
♦ 10 am Pacific ♦ 11 am Mountain ♦ Noon Central ♦ 1 pm Eastern
LOCATION: on the web, on your computer

Join David Ackert and me this Tuesday in this live program about how to lure, attract and capture the best clients of competing law firms and turn them into paying members of your own clientele.

Click here to sign up for this event.

Click here to register instantly with a credit card. Registration fee: $300. You can display the program in a conference room, put the telephone on speaker mode, and invite as many attendees at your firm as you wish. One connection per registration.

Join us to learn the techniques that law firms employ to lure away the clients of their competitors. 

Be aware that the strategy of most law firm marketing directors is to take away the clients of competing law firms. This is a highly profitable strategy in the current law firm recession. If you want the business of another law firm's best clients, we'll show you how to win it away from them.

The approach has nothing to do with charging less or offering discounts.  Instead, we'll show you proven techniques on how to:
  • Identify the other law firms whose clientele is vulnerable.
  • Spot which of their clients will be most interested in hearing from another law firm.
  • What makes GCs and executives decide to switch law firms and what they seek in a replacement.
  • How to outshine larger firms.
  • Getting another firm's client to listen to your proposition.
  • Make a compelling offer that will cause the clients to retain you as their lawyer.

This is a time of volatility in the profession, with as many as half of all clients switching law firms in a year. If you know what to look for, you can channel this new business to your firm. We'll describe the telltale signs that another law firm has unhappy clients. Once you've targeted another firm, we'll reveal how you can learn who are their top clients.

You'll discover that many business clients have remained with a particular law firm because of inertia. They'll keep using their old law firm -- until they hear a better offer. David Ackert and special guest Larry Bodine have interviewed many law firm clients and will inform attendees of this webinar exactly what clients want to hear that will make them switch law firms.

 Don't say:  Instead say:
 "We are less expensive."  Click here to find out
 "We have better lawyers."  Click here to find out
 "We have more offices, more lawyers."   Click here to find out
 "We've been in business longer."   Click here to find out



Tips from Rainmakers on Selling Legal Services

stacy west clark rainmaker, law firm marketing, attorney marketing, legal salesMy friend Stacy West Clark, a sales coach for lawyers in small firms, published a terrific list of business development tips from four million-dollar rainmakers she knows. She has been helping Pennsylvania lawyers and law firms expand their practices or 25 years. She is a former attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and was its first marketing director. Here are a few tips from the field:

Bring in business to the firm and your partners — not to yourself. More than anything else, lawyers who look to cross-sell a client to other sections and lawyers in their firm quite simply make more money. It’s easy to understand why. There is only so much you can bill as an individual.

Million-dollar rainmakers all decided to pursue a hobby, which they use for selling legal services. For the last decade, the golfer has scheduled golf dates months in advance with clients at top courses at which clients are excited to play. The tennis player has had a regular standing game with three other professionals and also plays challenge matches to meet more people. Because they chose endeavors they really loved, each was able to use the activity very successfully to develop business.

Help clients find a new job. These rainmakers had clients over the years who lost their jobs or whose jobs were changed because of mergers, bankruptcies and more. Each made a point to help any client who lost his or her job — sending their resumes around, speaking to contacts and arranging meetings for the client. When the client landed on his or her feet, a pattern developed: The client would try very hard to steer legal work to the lawyer who had been there for him or her over the years.

Over the years, all four report being told “no” by prospective clients. And none of them cared. They did not suffer feelings of rejection. In fact, it made them want to get the target even more. So they kept trying. That’s right: The target said “no,” but they kept in communication in ways that were useful to the target. One reported to me that it took 10 years to bring a Fortune 100 company in to the firm — but he did — and he did it by learning everything he could about its operations and how it made money, and by constantly bringing to its attention legal news that could affect its business. Persistence paid off.

Keep your business antennae up — no matter where you are. These rainmakers assess everyone they meet and every situation they are in to spot possible new business. In short, they are rarely “off” because they have changed their DNA to think about people in a new way. They were not born like this — they made a decision to be like this.

Dress the part. Throughout their careers, to a letter all four of the rainmakers — whether on a casual day or otherwise — deliberately made sure they looked “well-dressed.” They bought their clothes at nice, but not ridiculously expensive, stores, and they made sure they always looked highly professional. Ready for a serendipitous encounter with a client — they always looked the part of being smart. Don’t ever forget that appearance does matter — a lot.

Go where clients are in your personal and professional life. If you want corporate clients, hang out where professionals “live” — their trade associations, their alumni reunions, their charitable endeavors, their pastimes. If you want consumer clients, be active in your community; talk up what you do with the local barber, your pharmacist and others who can be walking ambassadors for your practice.

You can read all of Stacy's great rainmaking tips in her article My Night With a Few Multimillion-Dollar Rainmakers.