Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: Marketing

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Dec 07, 2006


5 Tips For Reinventing Your Practice

TIP #1: Develop a business mindset. Become an entrepreneur and learn how to think like a businessman. Look at the world from your client’s perspective. Consider you client your business partner.

TIP #2: Select your clients carefully. Establish client acceptance criteria. Learn how to say no. Dump undesirable clients.

TIP #3: Brand yourself. Look for was ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Become the only attorney that can do what you do. Make a decision – what do you want to be known and remembered for? Unique services, unique client groups, different service delivery strategy, personal style. Create a five-year plan for goal accomplishment.

TIP #4: Learn how to become “solutions orientated” and become a consultant to your clients as opposed to simply their attorney. Solutions may involve activities and services other than legal services. Think out-of-the-box and outside of typical frameworks in which you are comfortable.

TIP #5: Conduct a firm-wide management and leadership assessment and identify strengths and weaknesses. Enhance management and leadership skills through skill development training and personnel acquisitions.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Nov 24, 2006


Marketing Idea For 2007

Our firm recently completed client satisfaction interviews for several of our insurance defense law firm clients. Here are a few quotes and a summary of what these insurance company law firm clients told us:

Much can be learned by talking to your clients. Structured telephone interviews conducted by a neutral third party can provide many surprises as well as answers. Client satisfaction interviews can be the best marketing investment that you can make.

Aug 02, 2004


Law Firm Brainstorming and Focus Groups

Question:

We have a successful practice but need to do a lot of things differently to move to the next level. How can we generate some momentum and ideas?

Response:

Why not use a few brainstorming focus groups and do some brainstorming.

We find that many firms either don’t engage their people or don’t know how to engage their people. Untapped ideas are in the heads of your attorneys and staff. Using brainstorming focus groups and brainstorming techniques can help the firm improve decision making and tap these ideas.

Brainstorming focus groups are not just another firm or staff meeting.
A focus group consists of  (1) people with similar characteristics, (2) that provides qualitative data, (3) in a focused discussion, (4) to help understand the topic of interest.

 

    Size

    There groups are typically composed of five to ten people, but the size can range from as few as four to as many as twelve. The group must be small enough for everyone to have an opportunity to share insights and yet large enough to provide diversity of perceptions. When the group exceeds a dozen participants, there is a tendency for the group to fragment.

    Purpose

    Brainstorming focus groups aren’t decision making groups or committees. They are used to generate ideas. The actual decisions are made after all the brainstorming focus groups are completed, not in the individual groups. The brainstorming focus groups are used to gain understanding about a topic so decision makers can make more informed choices.

    The Brainstorming Process

    Brainstorming is a technique whereby individuals or groups generate large numbers of ideas or alternatives relating to a decision without evaluating their merits. Listing alternatives without evaluating them encourages group members to generate ideas rather than defend or eliminate existing ideas. Evaluation occurs after a large array of ideas has been generated. Principles for brainstorming include:

    Moderating the Discussion

    Consider using a moderator team: a moderator and a recorder. The moderator is primarily concerned with directing the discussion, keeping the conversation flowing, and taking a few notes. The recorder, on the other hand, takes comprehensive notes, operates the tape recorder, handles the environmental conditions and logistics (refreshments, lightening, seating, etc.), and responds to unexpected interruptions.

    Recording the Discussion

    A recorder should be appointed and all ideas obtained in the brainstorming focus group should be recorded by either tape recorder or written notes. Written notes are essential. Often ideas are initially listed on flip charts and later converted to written notes. The note taking should not interfere with the spontaneous nature of the session. Notes should be as complete as possible.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Nov 10, 2003


Most Important Marketing Activity in Law Firms

What is the most important marketing activity neglected by law firms?

Response:

Maintaining an ongoing relationship with existing clients. It is much easier and cheaper to obtain additional business from existing clients than to recruit new clients. Yet, many law firms take their clients for granted. Whether your clients are individuals with single matters or institutional (business) clients, it is critical to demonstrate to maintain ongoing contact and effectively manage the relationship. Consider:

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Mar 29, 2001


Law Firm Marketing Budgets

Question:

We are trying to establish our first marketing budget. What are most firms spending as a percent of revenue?

Response:

This can vary widely based upon type of firm, philosophies, etc. Surveys show, that on average, firms marketing spending, as a percent of revenue, is approximately 2-3%.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Mar 20, 2001


Law Firm Advertising

Question:

What is your opinion regarding law firms that advertise extensively?

Response:

It should be remembered that advertising is only one form of promotion and promotion is only one of the four elements of a firm's marketing mix. Other elements such as service strategy, pricing strategy, and service delivery strategy are often more important to the firm that its promotion strategy. For firms that are providing commodity type legal services such as personal injury, divorce etc, extensive advertising can work very effectively. However, for firms that are providing customized differentiated legal services this form of promotion is usually not effective nor appropriate. This is why it is so important for law firms to formulate their business and marketing strategies and plans before implementing specific marketing promotional programs.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Mar 04, 2001


Differentiation From Other Law Firm Competitors

Question:

I find it very difficult to differentiate our firm from the competition with respect to marketing, etc. What specific suggestions might you have regarding methods and/or ideas that we could use to increase our market share?

Response:

You need to begin asking you clients about their needs and thinking from your client's perspective. Budgetary certainty and knowing in advance how much a matter is going to cost is important to clients. Efficient operations and the general office environment is important. Lawyers that can listen to their clients and understand their clients problems. We believe that satisfying client needs and expectations, providing outstanding service quality, and adhering to the highest level of ethical standards is a strong beginning.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Feb 12, 2001


Threats Facing the Legal Profession

Question:

What are the primary threats and challenges that the legal profession will face in the next decade?

Response:

The biggest threat is the public perception of the image of the legal profession. In addition the continued saturation of the legal market, reduced demand for legal services, and oversupply of lawyers. Law firms are going to have to change their mindsets and their organizational cultures as well as their methods of doing business. Quality of legal services must be improved. New delivery methods must be implemented and new price options offered.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Jan 27, 2001


Leadership and Accountability in Law FIrms

Question:

What do you see as the primary management problems in law firms?

Response:

We are frequently asked to assist law firms in areas such as management reviews, marketing, compensation, and strategic planning. However, these are often symptoms of another problem – leadership, trust, and accountability. Frequently we find that unless proper leadership is in place we are all wasting time on attempting to treat the symptoms. Without sound firm leadership at the partner level other initatives are never able to get off the ground. Law firm leadership is the top challenge facing the profession today.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Oct 08, 2000


Law Firm Image

Question:

How does image tie into a law firm's marketing program?

Response:

Image is important to every profession. In particular, law firms need to have a good image within the community served. Therefore, today, it is necessary for a law firm to improve upon their image by being viewed by the community as professionals who make a contribution. This contribution can come in several ways: as support to the community, driect involvement in the community or by creating involvement that the community can become a part of.

Dr. Thomas J. Venardos

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