Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: business development

Dec 10, 2013

Law Firm Marketing – Getting Partners and Associates To Market and Develop Business


Our firm is a 16 attorney insurance defense firm in Nashville, Tennessee. We have 3 equity partners, 4 non-equity partners and 9 associates. The three equity partners (who bring in all the business) are nearing retirement and the remainder of the attorneys have completely failed to develop rainmaking skills and develop business. We hired lawyers to "bill hours" and failed to consider the long range implications of hiring lawyers without business-getting skills. Do you have any suggestions?


Start by creating the culture and environment.  Marketing and client service needs to be incorporated into the culture of the firm. All attorneys should have a role in marketing. All partners must walk the talk and consistently build and reinforce the marketing goals of the firm. Marketing goals and action plans should be formulated for all attorneys and they should be held accountable.

A few ideas:

  1. Begin setting marketing goals for each individual attorney in the firm and incorporate a review of goal accomplishment in performance reviews.
  2. Incorporate into the compensation system – measure more than billable hours.
  3. Provide marketing training.
  4. Provide adequate tools to support marketing efforts – budget, database, goal attainment dashboard reports, etc.
  5. Tie equity partnership to the ability to develop a substantial book of business.

Changing the culture of the firm will take time – however over time a marketing mindset will emerge.

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

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