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Ed Poll
  Week of March 16, 2010

No Firm Is Too Small for Marketing

Ultimately, there is no difference between the marketing activities of small and large firm lawyers. Large law firm practitioners must market individually just as small law firm practitioners do. A large law firm has a staff of people devoted to helping individual lawyers in the firm and individual practice groups; this is absent from most small law firms. To be effective, irrespective of the size of the law firm or the firm's marketing activities as a whole, each lawyer must establish the expertise necessary to convince a prospect to become a client.
However, small firm marketing does require far more planning than the typical "random acts of golf and lunch" that ultimately have unimpressive payoffs. A marketing plan should be simple: Identify the people most likely to hire you for the work you want to do, communicate with them to let them know who you are, and then develop close relationships with these people to help them achieve their goals. Develop a profile of your ideal client and develop a marketing strategy that focuses on this target, not everyone. Any lawyer can increase revenue dramatically by focusing on clients who will provide the desirable work that fits the firm's capabilities.
For solo lawyers the idea of marketing is often daunting because there are so many potential clients, so little time to reach them and so many options for pursuing them. Marketing can only be approached practically with a narrow focus that creates a profile of your ideal client and develops a strategy for this target, not everyone. It requires defining the location, demographics, occupation, financials and other characteristics of clients who will give you the work you want. Relationship development is a marathon, not a sprint, and it starts with getting into the public eye. There are many ways to do this that involve little if any expense:

  • Pick up the phone and call friends, family, business associates, past clients. Tell them that you have some spare time and would be happy to help them with any problems.
  • Chat with the sales folk and other people in your office building. Always have a written summary of your services and a business card handy for them.
  • Communicate with your law school friends to discuss cases, clients, war stories. Other lawyers are often excellent referral sources.
  • Build a reputation by writing articles and attending lunch or bar association functions.
  • Develop a blawg (weblog) that cover topics of interest to your potential clients and that illustrate your capabilities
  • Participate in social networking web sites like LinkedIn.

There is no one tactic that will cover the waterfront of opportunities to communicate with your marketplace. It becomes a question of your comfort zone, your creativity, your time availability and your pocketbook. Getting attention is a cornerstone of marketing. And marketing is the basis of educating your public that you exist and how you can assist them.

Ed Poll

Following the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and facing a sea change in clients' demands and expectations, law firms must respond and adapt quickly and effectively. Law firms must choose the kind of law practice they will be; the marketing and business development tactics they will use; the overhead that is critical to their functioning; how to price, bill and collect for services; and how to manage the cash flow cycle.
Success lies in identifying and capturing the right kinds of clients, providing the services those clients need in ways that add value, and ensuring prompt payment and the ability to grow profits. This book, based on the experiences of Ed and his clients over 20 years of coaching and consulting, provides the keys to successfully thriving in the new era.
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LawBiz Forum
Ed Poll
Ed Poll

Personal Commentary
I've taken some time out during my visit to California's wine country to continue training Bandit. He didn't seem to understand the "come" command much before this weekend when he started to make some progress. So, I felt a bit cocky and confident in my education prowess with him. I took off the leash and started playing with him and a tennis ball. He grabbed the ball... and ran! Soon enough he was too far away to hear if I was yelling "come" or "go"!
Finally, heading toward the direction in which Bandit ran, I came upon our rig only to find the tennis ball lying near the back. My wife was at the door, alongside Bandit, asking what happened. So, I told her what I knew, and she finished the story off - Bandit ran all the way to the trailer, scratched the door, and wanted to be let in! So much for playing fetch! Nevertheless, we all had a good laugh, but I won't let Bandit off the leash again, not for a while at least.
Moral: It's important to know and respect one another's boundaries - of skill, tolerance and good judgment.
Best wishes,
Ed Poll
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Ed Poll
Ed Poll

What Readers Are Saying...
"No matter how you slice it, there is no substitute for wisdom and experience. Ed Poll has demonstrated both in this eyeopening book about the essential elements of running a profitable law practice. He provides practical wisdom along with simple ways to adopt and incorporate best practices for each. After explaining the pros and cons of every decision, he makes recommendations and provides useful guides disguised as key principles. Buy the book so you too can access Ed's wisdom and experience. It's worth much more than the investment."


Ed Poll
Ed Poll

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