Law Firm Marketing Not Where It Should Be is the title of a commentary from law firm marketing expert Elizabeth Anne Tursi in Marketing the Law Firm Newsletter.
In the beginning, law firm management sought to fill the marketing function by either hiring someone with great credentials from outside the world of law or elevating someone who had done a good job in other areas of the firm and thus was ‘awarded’ the title of director.
The credentialed hire, for the most part, had never seen the inside of a law firm and soon discovered that operating in a horizontal management structure, where every partner is a boss and has something to say about his or her own personal objectives, didn’t allow for a successful marketing effort to move forward.
The ‘promotion’ to marketing of the otherwise loyal employee, who had possibly been at some administrative level within the firm, didn’t get the respect of the partners because they basically continued to view the individual as an employee without the background of having worked in professional services marketing.
Both of these scenarios were doomed to failure, and so it was for the first 10 years in professional services marketing.
Over the last 10 years things have improved — but only slightly.
It may be viewed as biting the hand that feeds me but I strongly agree with Tursi that “Most law firms are set up in a caste system. Lawyers are the professionals, and everyone else sits on the other side of the moat seeking recognition.”
The law is a profession. So is marketing. Lawyers need to accept and respect that good marketing is an art. Lawyers should not ‘over-lawyer’ good marketing strategy and plans developed and executed by marketing professionals. It’s the lawyers, after all, who have the most to gain by doing so.