Maine Bar Journal
Fall 2003 #5.
Marketing Your Law Practice
Maine Bar JournalFall 2003Marketing Your Law Practiceby John C. Gall, MBA, JDSo you're at the point where the need for practice growth has outstripped your ability to connect with potential clients one-on-one at professional luncheons or social gatherings. You've read Maine Bar Rules 3.8 and 3.9 relating to advertising, publicity, and solicitation. You're ready, now, to take the plunge and more aggressively market you and your law practice. Let's get started.
The 'M' Word. At its core, marketing is a process, part art and part science, that seeks to attract clients by presenting the capabilities and characteristics of your firm as the best solution - from among many competing choices - to the need for legal services. Marketing may involve a variety of communications (advertising, news releases, articles, direct mail) and it may vary widely in its sophistication and cost, but the central idea is the same. Happily, to get the process of marketing started, you need only three things: (1) some discipline, (2) a plan, and (3) some, but not necessarily a lot of, money.
Discipline. The discipline to plan, devote attention to, monitor and evaluate marketing activities is essential to long-term marketing success. Discipline also supports the consistency of message and execution necessary for effective marketing. Marketing that is undisciplined will, over time, become haphazard, wasteful and, ultimately, ineffective.
The Plan. The best way to impose discipline is to have a well-thought-out (meaning "written") marketing plan. Every law practice is different, so plans vary, but at minimum your plan should contain:
- Specific, measurable objectives - What is it you want to accomplish with your marketing? When? If a goal is new clients, how many? And what kind?
- An analysis of key competitors - including their strengths and weaknesses.
- An objective analysis of your own firm's strengths and weaknesses - especially what is unique about the firm and what sets it apart from other law firms. This will ultimately be a central part of your marketing message.
- Identification of the most promising or preferred clients - your "target markets."
- A strategy for reaching the targets and communicating to them - including the basics of an appropriate message as well as the...