Attorney Marketing for the Solo: The Basics Are Still Missing

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Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorney’s third annual law firm practice management workshop.  It was a terrific event organized by F.A.C.D. L. President Brian Tannebaum.

This event was a huge success because of the engagement level of the participants.  Almost every attorney in attendance was hanging on the words of every speaker.  Several successful attorneys disclosed their methods for everything from greeting a client to managing attorney client privilege with the parents of defendants.

My presentation covered the basics of attorney marketing and business strategy.  I challenged the criminal attorneys to focus on developing relationships with referral sources rather than spending large sums of money on direct-to-consumer marketing initiatives.  I challenged them to have enough confidence in their legal ability to always charge a consultation fee.  I challenged them to spend more time on business strategy and marketing than they currently have allocated.  And I gave them a couple of specific things they could implement on Monday back in their law firms.

Overall I think the presentation was well received.  There were lots of questions afterward (which is always a good sign).  But there was a noticeable disconnect.  It was almost like 30% of the room was speaking a different language.

The most telling moment of the event for me was when one of the speakers asked the audience how many of them had a blog.  About a dozen of the 150 lawyers in the room raised their hands.  The rest of the group just seemed confused by the reference.  Blogs have been around for the better part of 10 years but lawyers have yet to embrace them as a mainstream marketing tool.

But that is not my point.  Forget about technology, I could not even find 10 lawyers who took a referral source to lunch once a week.  Or sent a hand-written note to a colleague after he passed them a referral.  Or thought about the return on investment before spending money on an advertising gimmick.

The point I am trying to make is that attorney marketing basics are not being taught anywhere.

Brian Tannebaum’s event was fantastic in that it gets attorneys interested in investing time on marketing and business strategy.

At lunch, in his keynote speech, the great Roy Black actually said that lawyers should stop reading trial guides and should start reading business books.  He then went on to say that lawyers needed to become salespeople and he told them to “get over it” if they thought that selling was beneath them.

The criminal defense attorneys who were at the F.A.C.D.L. event now have an idea of what it takes to build a successful law firm.  The question remains:  Where will they go to find the foundational attorney marketing skills necessary to build the law firms they each deserve?