President’s Letter: The Future of Legal Marketing in the Global Age of More for Less

It has been a few weeks since the annual conference, and I hope those of us that attended have an opportunity to reflect on all that we learned. Attending the annual conference is always a great opportunity to recharge the legal marketing batteries and get fired up about our profession once again.

This year was one of the largest gatherings, with more than 1,200 legal marketers from quite a few countries in attendance. (Including 119 people from our chapter!) I know sitting in the main room for the opening keynote, it was quite awesome to look around at how large of a group we are. (And of course, it was not even half of our total membership numbers!)

The opening keynote featured Harvard Law School professor David B. Wilkins talking about “The Future of Law Firms in the Global Age of More for Less.” (You can read more about it in Ian Turvill’s recap.)

What struck me was how, in talking about all of the global forces impacting the industry and how firms need to adapt to the changing environment, our lawyers and our firms need us more than ever. Marketing has such a critical role to play in helping law firms navigate this new world. Listening to many of the speakers from other firms, it was so encouraging to see marketing becoming more and more integrated into the leadership of the firm as a whole.

True, maybe we’re all not there yet. But Wilkins spelled out the ways to help us get there when he talked about the disconnect between how clients view client service and how our attorneys view it. He mentioned it boiled down to four key areas:

  1. Responsiveness
  2. Listening/following directions
  3. Understanding the business strategy
  4. Thinking about the best legal strategy

Every one of these directly relates to how we as legal marketers provide service to our clients — the attorneys at our firms.

  1. Are we responsive to the needs of our attorneys? Do we answer emails quickly? Do we call back in a timely manner?
  2. Are we really listening to what the attorney is saying? Do we really understand the request? Or are we only hearing what we want to hear?
  3. How well do we understand the business strategy of the firm? How well do we understand how this particular attorney or group’s goals fit into that overall strategy? It’s our job to be looking at the larger picture.
  4. Are we thinking of the best marketing or business development strategy? And this goes back to two and three – are we really listening and do we understand how it fits into the larger picture? If it’s a project or event we do every year, has anything changed from last year to this year?

I’m convinced the more we pay attention to these four areas of client service, the more we listen and tie our activities to the overall business goals of the firm, the more our firms will see us as the leaders we are.

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If you were not able to attend the conference, be sure to check out the conference session recaps that a few of our members wrote. Additionally, recordings from the conference will be made available on the LMA website soon. If you log into the site, under Resources, the Education section features recordings from past conferences as well. Recordings from the 2009 and 2010 conference are available for free at this time.

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This year’s Your Honor Awards was a big success. You can read all about our winners in this issue. It’s a great opportunity to see how legal marketers in our neighbor firms are paying attention to the big picture and providing that superior client service Wilkins was talking about.

I would also like to thank our co-chairs, Joy Long, Megan McKeon and Sydney Iglitzen on a job well done! It’s a big undertaking, and the three of you do a wonderful job. Special thanks go out to our talented judges, Jocelyn Brumbaugh, Jan Anne Dubin and Marcie Johnson. And, of course, a big thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors!

Congratulations to Rising Star, Amy Jean, and Hall of Fame Inductee, Sydney Iglitzen. And of course, congratulations to all of our winners!

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