Is Law Firm Marketing Part of Your Belief System?

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“I don’t need marketing.  Marketing is for sleazy lawyers who are constantly chasing a buck.  I am a professional.  As long as I do a good job, clients will find me.”

This quote is from a lawyer I went to lunch with last week.  He has been practicing for over 20 years.  He made a big deal of telling me that I should “reach out to a broader group of people” because “no self-respecting lawyer would hire a consultant to teach him about business strategy or marketing.”

About 10 minutes after he imparted his words of wisdom on me he went to pick up the lunch tab.  I offered to split it.  He refused.  When the waiter returned and announced that his credit card had been declined, I ended up taking care of it.

You may think his comments about law firm marketing have nothing to do with his credit card issue.  Maybe the bank made a mistake.  Maybe the magnetic strip on the card was worn out.

Or maybe this guy was just totally full of crap.

I see that often – lawyers who believe that marketing is unprofessional or something they should avoid because of some false stigma associated with it.

These beliefs have limited this particular lawyer during his entire career.  He is a terrific lawyer.  One of the best in his practice area.  But he never got the big, high profile cases.  Never commanded big fees.  And he is now “of counsel” to two separate firms because he cannot develop enough business to land a full time position or to maintain his own solo practice.

But he believes that focusing on marketing and business strategy would somehow cheapen his practice.  And for this guy, that is an unshakable belief.  It is part of his DNA. 
I do not work with people like that.  They see no value in what I do.  We do not share the same belief system.

I improve the lives of lawyers.  Business strategy and marketing are the tools I use to do that.  I teach lawyers to use these tools.  My clients make more money and have more fun while practicing law.

My belief system is different than the belief system of many lawyers.

Here are my unshakable beliefs:

I believe your law firm should support your lifestyle.  If you like being home for dinner every night, you should develop the kind of practice that will allow you to do that.  If you want to work with a select few clients, and charge high fees, your law firm should offer you that opportunity. Your ability to create this kind of law firm is directly related to your ability to attract clients.  Client attraction involves business strategy and marketing.

I believe money follows value.  If you have a reputation for providing outstanding service and you have a reputation as being an excellent lawyer and you have a reputation of giving people straight answers, you will command high fees.  You get that reputation by doing excellent work and by making sure EVERYONE knows you do excellent work.  That happens when you tell your story to others.  That’s marketing.

I believe a lawyer grows his/her practice one relationship at a time.  Those relationships must begin somewhere.  Since lawyer solicitation is forbidden in most jurisdictions in the United States, clients must find you before they can enter into a relationship with you.  The finding you part of being a lawyer is called marketing.  The relationship development part of being a lawyer is also called marketing.

I believe that lawyers who follow the crowd make an average living and live an average life.  If you follow the advice of the old guard and you just be a good lawyer and wait for the business to come rolling in, you will make an average living.  And that’s fine for most people.

But if you want to be in the top one to two percent of the legal profession…if you want to attract matters that really turn you on…if you want to be home for dinner every night and …if you want to control your own destiny, you will embrace business strategy and marketing.

Most people will read this message and ignore it.  Most people find it easier to adopt the beliefs of others instead of thinking for themselves.  Most people never achieve the greatness they dreamed about when they started their career.

Do you want to be like most people?  Or do you have some unshakable beliefs of your own?