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The good news is, legal marketing is all the rage

Is it just me or is legal marketing the hottest topic on the internet these days? Here's a roundup of recent law firm marketing and business development headlines.

An article in The American Lawyer by Jennifer Scalzi thoughtfully points out that an effective marketing and business development team can help to identify a firm's true differentiators, implement effective client programs, and hold lawyers accountable to their business plans. But there's a catch: lawyers have to empower their M&BD teams and get out of their comfort zones to make it happen. This requires hearing things they may not want to hear. For instance, a client program may yield feedback that is not all glowing. But, as the author wisely notes, it is in this state of discomfort where opportunities lie.

A National Law Review article addresses how firms can use culture as a business development tool. While this article reads more like a plug for an upcoming Thomson Reuters conference than a thought leadership piece, the basic idea is worth mulling over. Every top law firm offers outstanding lawyers and top notch responsiveness. So how does a law firm truly differentiate itself? The author suggests culture as a solution. Values such as pro bono, diversity initiatives - hey, wait - aren't all firms doing these as well?

Apparently not. Enter next article in Forbes. Shockingly, we still have to remind people that in order to succeed, a law firm must be managed like a business. If some law firms are light years ahead of others when it comes to knowing that there needs to be a focus on profitability, this article is for those who just got the memo. Step 1: implement business development activities. Step 2: provide greater value to clients. Step 3: use metrics to figure out what is working and what isn't. I'm surprised he didn't say Step 4: use culture as a BD tool, and get out of your comfort zone for best results.

Lastly, this Bloomberg Law article is interesting because it gives us a glimpse at the future of legal marketing departments. Lowenstein Sandler LLP hired a COO (chief operations officer), which is a legitimate thing and has been gaining momentum for some time now. The article looks at similar positions at other firms, including Latham Watkins and DLA Piper. These professionals, who may have business backgrounds rather than legal, address issues such as pricing, knowledge management, and legal technology. Clearly these firms have read the articles above and are acting accordingly.


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