Law Practice magazine "History Of Law Firm Marketing" article
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THE BUSINESS OF PRACTICING LAW OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2005 VOLUME 31 NUMBER 7
THEN&NOW Legal Marketing’s Long
Strange Journey. Personal Lessons.
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How to Practice Feel-Good Rainmaking
Marketing Salary Survey Stats
Rebounding from Marketing Mistakes
Is Marketing a Laughing Matter?
A Personal View of LEGAL MARKETING’S
Long Strange Journey
Sell All the
By Ross Fishman
oor John Bates. All he Up from Disbarment: Out of the NALFMA (later happily renamed
P wanted to do was provide
legal services to the indi-
gent—those who weren’t
quite poor enough to
qualify for free Legal Aid attorneys.
But he found that he couldn’t make a
living simply through referrals. He
The Bates decision led to the first big
wave of mostly consumer-oriented
legal advertising. Personal injury
lawyers grabbed hold of the opportu-
nity with both hands, and the “sincere
lawyer holding a gavel and standing in
the Legal Marketing Association).
The genteel profession of law was
becoming a business.
That same year, The American
Lawyer published the salaries of big-
firm lawyers. The figures sent shock-
waves across the profession, as lawyers
needed high volume. Which meant front of a bookcase” ad was born. migrated to the money, increasing the
advertising. Which probably meant Entrepreneurs started snapping up competition among and within firms.
getting disbarred. So when he and his law-oriented 800 numbers, and Yellow The firms saw they needed an advan-
partner Van O’Steen advertised their Pages advertising exploded for con- tage, a way to connect to clients and
price list, they simultaneously hired a sumer practices. Sales of cheesy clipart attract more prospects.
lawyer of their own. flags, eagles and ionic columns grew. Public relations became king, as
Sure enough, they got clients—and No street-side billboard or bus bench firms hired publicists to get their names
disbarred. was safe. in the paper, any paper, on any subject.
Fortunately, and famously, their Then, in the very-late ’70s, a couple It wasn’t strategic, but PR firms discov-
ultimate appeal to the U.S. Supreme of thoughtful firms gingerly started ered that lawyers loved seeing their
Court made it possible for lawyers to putting in writing what they actually names in print—almost as much as
market their services. At last, lawyers did, producing the first law firm they hated seeing their competitors’
could stop wondering whether simply brochures—black-and-white, all text, names there. Sales of annual PR retain-
having a business card would cause single-spaced, really dull. But they ers skyrocketed.
them to lose their licenses. No, really, showed that at least a few firms were And brochures came into vogue on
it was that bad. trying to think about what marketing a wider scale. The standard: 24 pages of
It’s been nearly 30 years since the might mean. dense, detailed, single-spaced ponder-
Supreme Court decided the landmark By 1985, roughly a dozen large ous prose; no pictures; covers bearing
Arizona v. Bates, and today selling the law firms had hired their own in- the firm’s name alone. Yep, still really
services of lawyers and law firms is a house marketers, and together they dull. You had your choice of any color
sophisticated and widespread disci- formed the awkwardly named as long as it was black. Neither clients
pline. Witness the fact that the interna- National Association of Law Firm nor the firm’s own lawyers could read
tional Legal Marketing Association Marketing Administrators, or these mind-numbing abominations.
celebrates its 20th anniversary this year
at more than 2,500-members strong.
I’ve watched the discipline evolve
from primitive to professional, having Legal Services Marketing Timeline
left litigation for the brave new world of Here’s a quick-
19 7 7 19 7 7 19 8 4
law firm marketing more than 15 years shot review
ago. It’s been quite a ride, in terms of of just a few The U.S. Supreme The ABA Law Market research
of the many Court, in Bates Practice briefly takes cen-
messages, media and more. By sharing highlights that v. State Bar of Management ter stage with an
some of my own dim recollections and have marked Arizona, reverses Section (then American Lawyer
observations, I hope to provide some the still- the Arizona Sup- called the cover story about
ongoing evolu- reme Court in a Economics of Denver firm
context for how far legal marketing has tion of legal 5-4 decision on the Law Practice Gorsuch Kirgis’s
come, where we are today—and where marketing. Section) publishes marketing pro-
question, “Did the
we might be heading. I’m a little hazy Arizona rule, which the first edition of gram, which was
on some parts … I wasn’t intending to restricted legal Jay Foonberg’s built on research
advertising, violate How to Start & by MIICORP, then
chronicle the history, so I didn’t take
the freedom of Build a Law the only market
notes. But this is how I personally speech of Bates Practice. research firm
remember it and, in turn, what I see and his firm as guar- specializing in law
happening today and tomorrow. anteed by the First firm work.
October/November 2005 Law Practice 31
“ F I R S T, LE T ’ S S E LL A LL T H E L AW Y E R S ”
But when the firm down the street had Strawn hired its public relations con- won national awards for creative law
one, its competitors wanted one, too. sultant, Loren A. Wittner, to be the firm advertising. Boy, those were the
Then came equally tedious nation’s first full-time marketing part- days. The innovation bar was so low
newsletters, full of legal jargon and case ner, creating national news as the you could practically trip over it.
citations. The target audience—busy playing field tilted. Wittner hired a Soon after, Howrey & Simon
executives—wouldn’t touch them, but half-dozen in-house marketers, includ- launched the profession’s first image-
firms kept churning them out, ordering ing me, thereby creating perhaps the advertising campaign, the brilliant
overworked associates to rewrite recent first law firm marketing “department.” “Human Side of Genius” series. And
memos into lengthy articles. NALFMA had around 300 miraculously, it worked, helping
“Marketing strategy” back then members at this point. Wittner and I expand the firm’s reputation beyond
typically meant “let’s see what everyone became co-chairs of the ABA’s national antitrust litigation. Still no pictures,
else is doing, and do that, too.” Me-too Marketing Legal Services Committee. but it showed actual creativity. A high-
marketing. Lawyers didn’t know how We were also the only members. quality corporate firm advertised and
to market legal services but figured Membership soon doubled in size, to neither the firm nor the legal profes-
that their competitors did, so they four, then doubled again, to eight. sion imploded. In fact, clients and
just copied the flaccid competition. Corporate firms gingerly started to prospects noticed and approved, and
Decisions and revisions were made in advertise, using text-only “we’re pleased the firm grew, prospered and diversi-
large committees, in which every lawyer to announce” ads called “tombstones,” fied its practice. Other progressive
had complete veto power over every designed like typewritten wedding firms took careful notice.
plan, proposal and period. The lowest- invitations. At Winston & Strawn, we But progress comes in fits and
common denominator prevailed, as the merged with a Washington, D.C., firm turns. Back then, I recall one of our
most conservative lawyers volunteered and, following numerous tense market- branch office partners insisted on using
for marketing committee duties, to ing committee meetings, we successfully Times Roman for his correspondence
make sure the image and integrity of removed the words “pleased to instead of Courier, the standard font
the firm wasn’t sullied and nothing was announce” from our merger announce- used by the nation’s typewriters. His
tried that might actually work. ment ad—simply naming the firms and choice created a complete furor. Times
Change was inevitable. using the word “merger” between Roman? But lawyers should use
them—just to be a little different. Courier! Yeah, the transition to com-
At the First Turn: Picking Up the Internally, it was seen as a huge risk: puters was hard on everyone. When
Pace (But Still a Bumpy Ride) How would people know that you our marketing department requisi-
Fittingly, change came as we entered were happy about the merger if you tioned an inexpensive color printer, we
the next decade. In 1990, Winston & didn’t tell them? Nonetheless, the ad were informed that law firms don’t
Legal Services Marketing Timeline
19 8 4 19 8 4 19 8 5 19 87 19 9 0 19 9 1
Van Nostrand McGuire Woods & ultimately results Holland & Hart Winston & Strawn Corporate law firm
Reinhold publishes Battle’s black-and- in the 1985 forma- spices up a staid hires its public rela- advertising begins
Robert W. white all-text tion of the brochure with a tions consultant, in earnest with
Denney’s How to brochure gets the Legal Marketing surprising full-color Loren A. Wittner, to Howrey & Simon’s
Market Legal nation’s attention in Association (then cartoon fold-out be the nation’s first groundbreaking
Services. called the National map of the firm’s full-time marketing “Human Side of
Association of Law Rocky Mountain partner. Genius” national
and The New Firm Marketing region. Color starts campaign.
York Times. Administrators) in to appear in law
San Diego, where firm brochures.
Gray Carey’s Sally Schmidt
Justine Jeffrey was elected the
organizes a meet- organization’s first
ing of 25 law firm president.
in San Francisco.
32 October/November 2005 Law Practice
The Unfortunate Era of the Truly Trite
LIGHT BULBS CHESSBOARDS HANDSHAKES “sales” training (gasp) to big firms
took off. Suddenly lawyers saw that it
brought in business.
3 Smaller firms, with streamlined
decision-making processes and
greater risk-taking abilities, took larger
calculated risks and won more business.
3 Firms started targeting their
materials, creating tailored, well-
0“We have good ideas!” 0“We think strategically!” 0“We’re your partner!” researched new-business proposals for
each new opportunity. They formed
GLOBES BOXING GLOVES COLUMNS client teams and videotaped their
presentation rehearsals. And the firms
with the best strategy and materials
started to win disproportionately
high numbers of these competitive
Meantime, back at Winston &
Strawn, to pitch the business for Major
League Baseball, we put our lawyers on
0“We did a deal in 0“We’re tough!” 0“We’re, uh, lawyers!” baseball cards and had them autograph
Toronto once!” baseballs for the team owners. These
became so popular that we had to
reorder. The recipients started showing
need color. At that time, sadly, they ment ad to actually use the lawyer’s them to their other private firm
were probably right. photo was published about 1995, lawyers, proclaiming, “This is how a law
That changed over the next five by Schiff Hardin & Waite. It gained firm should market!” Clearly, the clients
years, fortunately, as firms began mar- attention for the headshot (even were ready to accept creative marketing
keting in earnest with some new tactics: though the design tragically looked efforts long before most lawyers were
3 Others started to follow the early like an obituary). willing to offer it.
adopters and logos started to have a 3 Some brochures and newsletters Five more years passed. Ads were
dash of color. became more readable. Somewhat. next. Corporate Legal Times created a
3 The first new-hire announce- 3 Bill Flannery’s business offering platform targeting in-house lawyers,
19 9 2 19 9 5 19 9 6 1 9 97 2001 2005
The ABA LPM Coffield Ungaretti The ABA Law Red Street Larry Bodine Sales training,
Section launches & Harris launches Practice Consulting (other- formalizes the blogging and pod-
ABA Women its “Written Management wise known as Erik LawMarketing casting are among
Rainmakers, Service Section publishes Heels and Rick Listserv. Even the new hot-button
dedicated to Guarantee” the first edition Klau) launches managing partners marketing territo-
providing market- campaign. of The Lawyer’s annual online tap into daily con- ries for lawyers.
ing education and Guide to reviews of law versations among
networking Marketing on firm Web sites, “a bunch of really
opportunities. the Internet. grading them for smart legal market-
appearance and ing directors trying
functionality. to devise new
ways to differenti-
ate their firms in —Timeline prepared
a crowded by Merrilyn Astin
October/November 2005 Law Practice 33
Your Silver Bullet
and its aggressive sales staff convinced
Focus, Focus, Focus
t its core, marketing is simple. highly visible fish. For lawyers, that type
firms to advertise with them. And firms
gradually did, in greater numbers. The
early ads were awful—every firm was
A Identify the people most likely to
hire you for the work you want to
do, then develop close relationships with
of narrow focus is the only silver bullet
The more focused your target, the
“big,” “smart,” “smart and big” or “big them to help them achieve their goals. easier it is to be successful faster. If your
and smart” (cf. www.smartbiggar.com). One-shot marketing activities do not goal is to be the best divorce or family
But every tiny innovation was emulated create close relationships. And undiffer- lawyer in town, forget it—that’s too broad
and improved on again by yet another entiated, Jack-of-All-Trade lawyers who and generic. Too many others are com-
progressive competitor. market to everyone invariably must peting for that same turf and there’s likely
As the ads improved, willing firms charge low rates. But if you have—or can a number of others who have been there
saw more examples down the street to develop—expertise in a particular field, go for decades. Try developing a unique
to the trade associations and show them practice focusing on representing only
copy or another bar to step lightly over.
that you have this expertise, you’ll be men, or only women. Or perhaps you can
Marketing committees still retained full
swamped for business. build a specialty practice representing
control over the advertising images and
Direct all your marketing efforts gay couples, or the elderly, or second
messages, and thus began the unfortu- toward the target group. Find an appro- marriages. Whatever it is, become the
nate era of the truly trite: priately small pond, well-stocked with go-to expert for something.
3 Light bulbs (“We have good ideas!”) clients, and work hard to become a big,
3 Chessboards (“We think
3 Handshakes (“We’re your partner!”)
3 Boxing gloves (“We’re tough!”) Service Guarantee” and nearly doubled gave away cute stuffed termites wearing
3 Globes (“We’re global!” or “We did a the firm’s revenue. We implemented BugLaw.com T-shirts. Marketing the
deal in Toronto once!”) the same message using both public Bug Lawyers? Like shooting fish in a
3 Columns (“We’re, uh, lawyers!”) relations and advertising. And our barrel or bugs in a … whatever. The
3 Running up courthouse steps brochure matched the mugs! The cam- international publicity generated both
(“We’re late!”) paign generated enormous positive sizable firm revenue and demand for
Many ads contained two, three or publicity in the legal and business similar industry-based campaigns.
more (the trifecta) of these icons. press, and law firms saw that you could Corporate clients, having realized
Translation: “Our tough lawyers have use a multifaceted marketing campaign that they had the buying power, started
strategic, partner-y ideas all over to implement an actual strategy. We flexing their muscles, causing law firms
the place!” won all the marketing awards that year to look for new ways to offer more
Then, boom, Womble Carlyle (which might sound like I’m bragging, value. Differentiation became increas-
turned a single ad with a cute bulldog but see the “low bar” comments above). ingly important. And firms started
into a nationally renowned marketing I left Coffield Ungaretti & Harris to using those ideas as the foundation of
mascot, and other prominent firms make a consulting career of helping their new collateral materials. Sadly, that
took serious notice. other firms differentiate themselves message was rarely displayed in firms’
The gloves slowly came off. and, in 1997, through the first promi- first-generation Web sites, which typi-
nent industry-based marketing pro- cally used photos of the firm’s:
On the Next Leg: Different? gram, helped Alabama’s 10-lawyer 3 Office building (“We work in a
Who? You? Crosslin Slaten & O’Connor become building!”)
By the latter half of the ’90s, as com- The Bug Lawyers. The program fea- 3 Lobby (“We have couches!”)
petition for corporate clients stiffened tured “Some lawyers don’t know their 3 Local city skyline (“We … oh,
and firms needed to convey their ants from a hole in the ground” ads, never mind.”)
worth, marketing’s focus became along with a BugLaw.com Web site Since then, the competition for cor-
differentiation. (sadly, currently offline), complete with porate mindshare has led to firms using
By that time, I’d accepted a job at crawling termites and downloadable everything from Orrick’s proprietary
Coffield Ungaretti & Harris as the checklists and animated cursors of bugs viral computer games to one firm’s
nation’s second marketing partner. In chewing away at the firm’s logo. Our realistic-looking hand-grenade mailers.
1995-96, we offered the first “Written pest control-industry tradeshow booth (Okay, they probably should have recon-
34 October/November 2005 Law Practice
“ F I R S T, LE T ’ S S E LL A LL T H E L AW Y E R S ”
sidered that last one. By definition, great mountains. The sky’s become the limit just putting them to use in different
marketing doesn’t cause clients to evacu- in advertising. and much, much better ways. Let’s
ate their buildings.) But look at any collection of lawyer take a look.
Oh, and along the way, “branding” marketing and you’ll still see plenty of
became a buzzword, then a noxious globes, gavels, handshakes and columns. 3 Printed brochures. The firm
fad. Although it remains a powerful Some things just don’t change. brochure has ceded agonizing practice-
strategy, it’s now called differentiation But on the other hand, plenty of area details to the Web site. Today’s
or positioning. things do. brochure is a shorter image piece—
Today international law firms are a medium for the firm’s message. Its
marketing as innovatively and aggres- Beyond Brochures: What the intriguing cover compels you to open it,
sively as our corporate clients, using the Innovators Are Doing Today and the style, graphics and tightly
full range of tools. Think global client Unlike passé clipart images, all the old written text demonstrate the firm’s
teams, lead-generation professionals, fundamentals of marketing still work. unique differentiation.
client extranets, direct mail, secund- The best of the current generation is Litigation boutique Segal
ment and Internet micro-sites.
And those advertisements that Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney
Bates and O’Steen suffered for? The cor-
porate counsel-targeting magazines are
now so choked with vibrantly colored
advertisements that desperate firms will
do almost anything to get noticed. Their
ads use eye-popping photos of yellow
rubber duckies, wacky doggies wearing
turtlenecks and cute widdle wide-eyed
babies. Some implement a well-defined
This juror thinks And it’s our job to help her
understand the epidemio-
strategy, but most seem simply to be “Myria
“Myriad” was a girl logical distinctions between
saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” (If I
mild tricuspid valvular
saw an ad next month showing a naked from her fourth- regurgitation, endothelialized
founding partner named Ralph, I
wouldn’t flinch. I might ralph, but I
grade class. foreign matter, and bacterial
wouldn’t flinch.) Lawyers surfing, kiss-
ing, climbing up or rappelling down
0Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, for
McCambridge example, defends insurance companies
Singer & Mahoney,
in complex mass tort class actions
on its Web site
(www.smsm.com) involving difficult issues of law, medi-
and in other mater- cine, biology and science. The firm’s
ials, uses humor to “We make the complex simple” mes-
convey that the firm sage resonates with its sophisticated
cuts through the clients, who know they must tell a com-
arcane jargon of
pelling story in a way that an average
tort litigation so the
people in the jury juror would find persuasive. The
box can understand humor the firm employs to drive home
the facts at issue. its message in its ads is echoed in its
brochure and on its Web site, too.
October/November 2005 Law Practice 35
3 Newsletters. Firm newsletters are
still useful ways of staying in touch
with sizable numbers of clients and
prospects, but lengthy stories detailing
the firm’s proud internal accomplish-
ments? Not so much of those anymore.
The newsletters now are shorter, more
timely and focused on useful tips.
They’re designed and written in an
easy-to-read style, with pieces like “Top
Ten Tips for [Doing Something
Useful],” or “Five New Ways to Avoid
[Some Disaster],” or other how-tos to
help readers do their jobs better, save
money or stay out of trouble.
They go by both snail-mail and
e-mail, to ensure that readers get the
product in the format they want. And
they are “periodic,” with “alerts” sent to
take advantage of urgent occurrences.
3 Relationship marketing. Studies
show that it takes between 7 and 20 per-
sonal meetings to get from first contact
to new business. And that’s in addition
to all the “broadcast” marketing activi-
ties like advertising, articles, Web sites,
speeches and the like. Think of all that audience understand more about you— matter? “This isn’t 0Childress Duffy
effort and you’re forced to answer the how you’re different from other firms. important, but I
make the point
Big Question: Who are you targeting? The language describes the firm’s think I’ll call a that the firm serves
“Well, Ross, I’m a general commercial uniqueness, not its “hands-on, value- lawyer anyway”?) as its clients’
litigator, and I have a national practice.” added, business-oriented record of Laner Muchin, David against
(C’mon, does every litigator have a achievement.” Colorado’s Orten & a midsize labor and Goliath insurance
“national practice”?) Okay, so you’re Hindman, for example, exclusively rep- employment firm
selling a general service to 270 million resents community and homeowners in Chicago, touts its incredible respon-
people. And you have to see them 7 to associations, and its “Strength in siveness and vows to return every client
20 times each. Then what are you doing Association” tag line makes that point call in two hours or less. Its tag line?
reading this magazine? You have net- with a clever double entendre. Chicago’s “Two hours. Period.” Those words
working to do! Get out there! Shoo! Childress Duffy Goldblatt, a small firm quickly tell how the firm differs from its
But seriously, for all the innovative that specializes in suing insurance com- equally skilled competitors. And the
marketing tools and strategies, law panies that fail to pay insureds’ claims two-hour strategy, as a stylized clock, is
remains a profession built on close, following disasters, uses “Your designed into the firm’s logo, too.
trusted, personal relationships. And Insurance Against Insurance.” Effective tag lines can even extend
that point is so important it’s been dif- These slogans are intriguing. to law school and lateral recruiting.
ferentiated (that word again) as a side- They’re different. They’re icebreakers. Levenfeld Pearlstein, an aggressive
bar. Read it on page 34—now. And they’re a heckuva lot better than transactional firm, is advertising and
insipid things like “Committed to sending direct mail to targeted lateral
3 Tag lines. These short slogans are Client Service” or “When Results candidates showing them as robots,
popular and, done well, help your target Matter.” (Tell me, when don’t results cogs or sheep inside their current firms
36 October/November 2005 Law Practice
“ F I R S T, LE T ’ S S E LL A LL T H E L AW Y E R S ”
and as exhilarated high-divers at
Levenfeld Pearlstein. This is not your
grandfather’s law firm.
3 Industry-based marketing. It works.
Lawyers do extremely well by identify-
ing an industry group they enjoy serv-
ing and becoming the go-to lawyer for
Noland Hamerly Etienne & Hoss is
a 20-lawyer firm that works in the heart
of central California’s agriculture belt.
Together, the lawyers had marketed
themselves as a general practice firm, 0Levenfeld
but we convinced them that the biggest Pearlstein targets
room for profitable growth in their law school and
lateral recruits with
community was the region’s dominant
How valued do you feel at your current firm? a series of ads
agriculture industry. The firm’s agricul- showing that they’ll
Want more out of your career? Why grind away as a disposable cog at your firm when you can be a
ture practice became “The Lettuce vital, active participant in Levenfeld Pearlstein? We know who we are, we know who we want, and we be challenged
know where we're going. We are everything most firms are not. So, if you are everything most lawyers
Lawyers,” with a subtly modified logo in aren't, contact Bryan Schwartz, Chairman, at bschwartz@LPLegal.com or 312.346.8380 right now.
and exhilarated at
which the ampersand sprouts leaves and the firm—not
grows. Plus, the practice group gives
Levenfeld Pearlstein. Are you Levenfeld material? cog-in-the-wheel
away logo’d seed packets as business 2 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602
T. 312 346 8380 www.lplegal.com
cards and logo’d leather work gloves
and bib overalls instead of coffee mugs.
Another interesting example is
New Orleans’ Gordon, Arata,
McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan, a
highly skilled firm of nice lawyers with
dominant practices in litigation and
big oil and gas. Our research showed
that the firm’s clients actually enjoyed
working with the lawyers, even for
high-stakes litigation. Thus, the firm’s
tag line is now “Lawyers You Want to
Know,” a double entendre conveying
the lawyers’ technical skills and genial
personalities. The firmwide ads show
how much clients like the lawyers, and
the oil and gas ads show how well the
lawyers understand the industry.
3 Web sites. Nearly every firm has one
by now, and some firms have more
than one for different purposes. The
best ones stand for something and
show why the firm is unique. The
Sarasota, Florida, firm Williams Parker
October/November 2005 Law Practice 37
“ F I R S T, LE T ’ S S E LL A LL T H E L AW Y E R S ”
0 To help attract markets trust, safety and security—a formed how marketers think as much
local lawyers to its good background message for its trust as what they do. I can’t even guess 10
new Atlanta office,
and estate practice, as well as real estate. years down the road. But three years?
Fields cleverly Including your message is key. Okay, I’ll inch out onto the limb.
combines clichés What not to include? I’ve said it before, Blogs, those easily updated and
of both states into and I’ll say it again. No columns, com- participatory Web sites, are the best
a visually powerful passes, currency, gavels or globes, marketing tool since sliced bread—at
series of ads.
beakers or briefcases. Not in your least according to some seemingly
0 Gordon, Arata advertisements, not in your brochures, knowledgeable pundits. I suspect they
focuses in on the and not on your Web site, please! No will end up like Web sites—wildly
double message one shaking hands or sprinting up effective for the early adopters, a gener-
that its lawyers are courthouse steps. Instead, look at the ally useful tool for everyone else.
beloved by clients
and highly skilled in
examples in this article. People and Podcasting may be the next great
the mechanics of images that center on the focused, dif- thing, although I’m still not sure exactly
the firm’s oil and ferentiating message. That’s what wins what it is. But look for it to become
gas practice. share of mind. very popular, especially among service
providers who don’t know what it is
Off to the Unbeaten Trail: either but will want to sell it to you.
What’s Next Seminars and conferences will still
Crystal balls don’t work well. In the work, but they will become smaller and
working lifetime of many of us, tech- more targeted (a 10- or 20-person roll-
nology that was unimaginable at the up-your-sleeves breakfast briefing).
time of the Bates decision has trans- They will also migrate more and more
38 October/November 2005 Law Practice
to the Internet, as Webinars that save 0The “Lettuce
on time and money for everybody. Lawyers” at Noland
Market research will gain in
savvily to their
acceptance, but most law firms have agricultural clients
the budget to either do something or with this play on
measure something—not both. One Grant Woods’
exception is megafirm O’Melveny & classic “American
Gothic.” See how
Myers, which just hired Mark T. the ampersand in
Greene, Ph.D., a nationally known the practice’s logo
market researcher. sprouts leaves.
Business development will supple-
ment the historic marketing com-
munications efforts. “Biz dev” is a
euphemism for sales, in the client-
specific way that accounting firms have
long marketed. Generating leads,
measuring ROI, strategically targeting
specific clients for acquisition, the full
range of sales efforts. This is tangible
and meaningful. Cross-selling—which
is vague, threatening, overwhelmingly,
unsuccessful—is not meaningful.
Neither, for the most part, are client
service teams, although everybody says
they want them.
Shorter names will be the rule at do that, remove your butt from your
more firms, fragile partner egos not- office chair.
withstanding. In savvier firms the clear And predatory pitches, in which
trend is to emphasize the colloquial firms strategically decide whom they
street name—the one clients and want to represent and then find a way
prospects know. Think of “Skadden” or to steal that client away from a com-
“Skadden Arps” instead of “Skadden petitor, will enjoy significant success. A
Arps Slate Meagher & Flom,” which the key part of this is communication and
poor receptionist would traditionally presentation skills training, teaching
pronounce “Skadnarpslameagrunflom.” lawyers both to improve their presen-
Need more proof? Go to www.smrl.com tation style and learn to form closer
and pretend you’re the receptionist. relationships more quickly.
Marketing training will heat up. What else do I see? The possibili-
Bringing in business is innate for a ties are endless. The one thing I know
firm’s internal sales force, those we call for sure is that we’ve only begun.
rainmakers. But for others, it’s a teach- Lettuce Law? Two-hour return-call
able skill. Indiana-based Barnes & guarantees? Oil-rigging lawyers?
Thornburg just completed marketing John Bates, now a client of mine,
training for lawyers in all eight offices. bless his heart, is still smiling. LP
Simple things like how to network and
work a room are hot topics, summa- Ross Fishman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is Chief Exceleration Officer of Ross Fishman
rized most basically as “shut up and lis- Marketing, Inc., based in Highland Park, IL,
ten, for a change.” And once you can (847) 432-3546.
October/November 2005 Law Practice 39