Reprinted with permission from The Legal Intelligencer, January 24, 2012
Copyright 2012 ALM Media Properties, LLC.
Marketing Items Your Firm Should Have on Its
Does this sound like your firm?
It's a new year and you want your firm to grow and prosper. You have tried lots of different
marketing activities over the last few years but you did not see any home runs. You are not
sure which of your activities have paid off the most or the least. Your revenues are flat or
perhaps you had a good year because of one case that has now settled.
This is what I would recommend you do:
• Decide on a plan. Write it down. It really can be short and easy to implement. For example:
"We will grow the tax practice. We will do this by focusing on our retail clients. We will meet
with them individually and ask about what tax challenges they are facing. We will see what we
can do for free for them to solidify the relationship (maybe a webinar, in-house program, free
audit). We will then meet with our non-tax lawyers in the firm and see which of their clients
could use our services and repeat the webinar, audit or in-house program for them. We will
become active in a local retailers association and try to give our webinar, in-house program to
their membership. We will try to lead/head a 'tax solution' committee for the association."
Marketing plan done — you are off and rolling. You now know what your objectives are, where
to spend your nonbillable time, which industry you need to understand and exactly what clients
you need to meet with and think about. Share the plan with everyone in the firm so all can
jump on board and help. They can't help or support your efforts unless you keep them in the
loop, so be transparent.
• Announce successes and praise your people — regularly.
When you win a case, when a new staffer or lawyer joins the firm "family," when someone
provides a client with exceptional client service, announce it internally. Let everyone learn by
the examples of others and let everyone celebrate the achievements of one another. This is great for morale, which is a key element to the delivery of top client service.
• Have an outsider "audit" the experience of being your client.
You need to know how clients and potential clients are being treated at all points of entry into
your law firm. These points include your website, your website contact page, e-mails, your
phones, sitting in your reception area, sitting in your conference rooms and much more.
I conduct these for firms on a regular basis and it is amazing to me how many problems we
have identified — the majority of which are very inexpensive and easy to fix. Invest in this
Remember: Your clients have many, many choices of great lawyers. Don't push them away
unknowingly because of simple mistakes and oversights — like not having someone regularly
check the e-mails coming in from the "Contact Us" section of your website — believe me, this
• Train your staff and attorneys on what exceptional client service is.
Great legal work does not equal outstanding service. If you have not heard of BTI Consulting
and the studies it does as to what corporate counsel of the United States' largest companies
say about why they use certain firms and not others — you should.
The survey reveals that outstanding service by a firm and its lawyers and staff results in higher
client retention and revenues. As a result, teach your firm all the basics — from how the phone
should be answered (there are plentiful examples on YouTube) to how attorneys and their
secretaries can stay on top of important developments facing a client and his or her industry.
Solicit lawyer, staff and client input on how you can ratchet up the service you provide.
• Make sure that every marketing activity has a follow-up action.
Instill in your lawyers that just because they have lunch with a referral source once — or write
an article, or give a speech, or entertain a client — they are most certainly not done. Every
marketing activity requires a follow-up action with the same audience.
It takes multiple and meaningful communications with a target for them to keep you in top-of-
mind status. "Meaningful" in this case translates into something that makes the targets' world
better — helps them in their job, furthers their business objectives, makes them happy and
stress-free — you get it.
• Make sure your firm gets the maximum bang out of every marketing activity.
Speeches should become articles. Articles should be posted on JD Supra and on your website
and tweeted about. Articles should become very short notices to clients. And notices to clients
should become a story idea for a reporter covering the area. And, of course, speeches should beget more speeches and webinars and in-house programs for clients.
• Go out and visit your firm's clients on your nickel.
Talk to them about what is keeping them up at night. Talk about how you can be a better
service provider to them. Don't sell the firm at these meetings — just listen. Then act on their
feedback. Don't meet with clients at all if you are not going to act on their feedback.
• Tell your lawyers and staff to look for ways to save clients money and provide services that
add value to their business or lives — but do not appear on the bill.
Believe me, this is critical today; I have a list of 30-plus ideas of what you can do in this regard.
Put yourself in the clients' shoes and figure out what would help them on a personal and professional level — and do it for free.
• Probably most importantly, be a cheerleader for the programs and tactics you want your lawyers and staff to follow.
Lead by example. You want your lawyers to look first-class — then dress by example. You
want them to go out and ask their clients how they can improve, then have a meeting where
the lawyers hear what happened when you conducted such an audit. Report on the good, the
bad and anything else the client said. It is all important information. If you want them to go out
and market within their comfort zone, vocally support them in their efforts and recognize what
they are doing as valuable.
I am rooting for you. Get up, get started, get going. You will see that this stuff really works.
Stacy West Clark has been helping Pennsylvania lawyers and law firms expand their practices for more than 25 years. She is a former attorney with Morgan Lewis & Bockius and was the firm's first marketing director. She is president of Stacy Clark Marketing LLC, www.stacyclarkmarketing.com, a firm that helps law firms grow their businesses.