Ask the authorities.


"We started the new year, and lawyers in our firm are still doing things the same way as last year and the year before, and it's just not working. They haven't done their business plans or started cross-marketing; they're not following up on events or visiting clients. We need a behavior shift. Telling them to do these things doesn't work. Suggestions?"

Jon Mattson

The legal industry is moving away from a "creating awareness" dominated marketing strategy to one that includes a business development strategy designed to create relationships. Creating awareness requires a relatively low level of touch by lawyers. Creating relationships requires a higher level of touch by folks who did not go to law school because they aspired to be in sales.

At the same time, we are seeing the beginning of a whole new class of legal services providers in Legal Process Outsourcers and disruptive model firms such as Axiom and Clearspire, and there will be more as the lines are blurred between consultancy and the practice of law. These new competitors will not play by the same rules that law firms have followed in such gentlemanly fashion throughout many years.

Those of us in marketing and business development must become educated about our competitors and the steps they are taking to develop business at our expense--or, as I like to say, "eat our lunch." Our best tactic may be to appeal to the high level of competitiveness dominant in the characters of so many lawyers. Those lawyers and law firms who update their own approach to business development are the most likely to survive and thrive.

Jon Mattson serves as the chief marketing and business development officer for Tucker Ellis LLP in Cleveland. He is co-chair of the LMA Think Tank Committee.

Tasneem Goodman

Years of working in the legal industry have taught me one thing with certainty: People are going to do what they want to do. It sounds simple, and yet, when we wonder why attorneys aren't completing business plans or following up from events, this simple truth holds the answer. They don't want to. So the question of behavior change isn't about telling attorneys to do different things; it's about figuring out how to tap into what they want to do.

And tapping into what attorneys want to do takes three steps. First, find an underlying motivation. Ask attorneys, "What would be possible if you took your business development game up a notch? Would it mean more income, more predictability, more...

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