Let’s face it – marketing for lawyers is a nightmare. Most lawyers hate marketing, but all of them acknowledge its necessity. Whether you call it networking, business development, profiling or marketing, it’s all fundamentally the same thing – making contact with people with a view to enhancing you career in some way.
Looking back now – I said pretty much the same thing in my EARLIER POST. Here I am going to look at the first steps in marketing for lawyers.
Many new lawyers in particular fear marketing. In your years as a law clerk and a graduate lawyer the expectations that your law firm has on you in this regard will be minimal.
However, give it a few years and all of a sudden – POW! You are being promoted to associate (or looking to be promoted to associate) and your supervising partner throws in the “m” word.
Panic ensues – you’ve been pretty happy just learning how to write letters that get signed, research the law, develop expertise and earn a comfortable salary based on work provided to you by the partners in your group. Now they expect you to actually bring work in as well?
This article won’t tell you how to market (sorry). Over time I’m going to develop some more themes around marketing to assist you in that area, but for now I want to send this message: don’t panic.
The first thing you need to do, hopefully in discussion with your supervisor, is to figure out what the purpose of the marketing is. Marketing for lawyers can take on many different forms. Are you looking (or expected) to:
1) Get to know existing clients;
2) Network with your peers;
3) Generate relationships with more junior people within existing client firms (eg accountants)
4) Write papers;
5) Give seminars;
6) “Get your name out there”
7) Get to know the people in your own firm better;
8) Something else entirely?
If you are a more junior lawyer, you will not be expected to start bringing in millions of dollars of work. You will, however, over time be expected to contribute to the overall marketing efforts of the firm. Your contributions there should align (if possible) with your personal development as well as the firms overall strategy.
So my first tip for any lawyer hitting the ground in this area for the first time: articulate the purpose of your marketing.
Marketing as a lawyer is not rocket science – it does, however, require you to put some thought into it. Figuring out what you are looking to achieve in your legal marketing is a good start.
More to come on this topic soon!