Build it and they won't just come - reflecting on Dewey & LeBoeuf
- 30 May
The failure of Dewey & LeBoeuf in the US is hopefully not a sign of things to come in the UK. It does, however, usefully underline the point that you can't simply build a law firm and expect to be able to take peer level drawings from it without a robust plan to win and retain clients.
As The New York Times reported at the end of last month: "There are now far more capable lawyers and law firms than there is work for them to do". This situation surely can't be exclusive to the US.
The winners are going to be those who proactively engage clients and constantly add value to them with content and events. You can't persuade anybody to buy a service that they don't need, but you can make sure that your practice is front of mind when a need does arise - and even draw attention to a need that people didn't previously realise they had.
The problem for most law firms is that marketing and business development doesn't come naturally. A Collier Pickard survey published in March 2011 showed that 40% of respondents didn't have any resources dedicated to marketing - it is little surprise therefore that they are underachieving their potential.
The more far sighted are moving towards outsourcing - a concept that should make every sense to lawyers as their own businesses rely on people sourcing specialist advice from trained experts. The reality is that marketing is changing fast - particularly online - and, as with any fast-changing area of law, only a specialist can keep pace.
Consider your answers to the following questions:
- Are business development and marketing a central part of your management meetings?
- Do you understand the differences between marketing and business development?
- Do you regularly produce value adding content and run events that keep your clients and prospects engaged?
- Is your website generating leads?
- Are you crystal clear about why clients should choose you over your competitors?
If you can't answer all of these questions with a resounding ‘yes', it is time to take a serious look at your approach to marketing. An initial consultation with a marketing specialist could prove to be money very well spent. If you think this might apply to you, talk to us about our Marketing Medical service.