Thoughts on Motivation, Lawyers and Marketing
I am a marketer and business strategist.
I am good, some would say excellent, at helping attorneys attract and retain clients.
I didn’t always work with lawyers. For a number of years I worked with business owners, managers and executives in many industries. My only guidelines for accepting new clients were that their business was operated in a legal, moral and ethical manner.
I made a decision to focus exclusively on working with attorneys. I did this because I felt there was an underserved need for business fundamentals, strategy and marketing savvy in the profession.
That assumption was correct.
I don’t question the motivation of anyone who chooses to become a lawyer. Some folks go into the law because they want to break new ground – set precedent. Some folks become attorneys because they have a desire to help others. Some folks become lawyers because they want to make a lot of money. Some folks are motivated by all three things.
I have worked with people who are motivated by each of these factors. Marketing and business strategy can help an attorney no matter what his/her motivation.
For the lawyer who likes to break new ground: We develop a strategy for attracting the kinds of matters that are likely to need new precedent in order to be successful. We then position the attorney (marketing) as the logical choice to help the client in this particular predicament.
For the attorney who wants to help people: Finding someone to help is generally not the hard part. Finding the RIGHT someone to help can be difficult. If you work in private practice you can only take on a select few cases pro bono. This means that you need to attract the majority of your clients from a pool of people you can help who can actually pay you something. Finding those people and getting them to hire you is where marketing and business strategy are helpful.
For the attorney who wants to make lots of money: Identifying, attracting and retaining the best clients with the highest value are great uses for a sound business strategy and good marketing.
I am essentially making two points:
- Marketing and business strategy are not the enemy of a good lawyer. If they are used correctly, they can help any lawyer in private practice.
- Nobody has the right to question your motivation as long as you operate in a legal, moral and ethical manner.
Attorneys love to argue about marketing and motivation. They love to bash their fellow attorneys who have made their law firms into large productive businesses. I don’t partake in those arguments because I am personally in business for all of the reasons I outlined above. I like helping people (and many attorneys desperately need business help). I like doing new things in my field (setting precedent). And I like making money. I find that the people who judge my motivation are usually envious of my success in any or all of these areas.
One of my first mentors once told me that people who complained about someone making “too much money” were people who didn’t have any money themselves. I wonder if the same is true of people who question the motivation of someone who does their job because of the money they make…
In a perfect world we would all do what we love and make as much money as we wanted while doing it. Until that world exists I’ll keep helping the people who show up regardless of why they came to me.
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