Kathy Fortin

March 8, 2019


Every issue of a legal journal or magazine seems to have articles about marketing. The March/April Issue of “Law Practice,” for example, a magazine published by The American Bar Association is “The Marketing Issue.” Its topics include forming a marketing mentality, developing a marketing plan, and using Google and social media to highlight your firm and sell your services. While you may think these topics apply only to the largest firms, think again. Marketing is just as important for mid-sized and smaller firms.

A lawyer may say, “I have never had to market.”  The back story is he or she takes every case or matter that comes in the door which may keep him or her busy, but probably not very profitable.  Lawyers who do no marketing commonly struggle to develop a desirable client base and referral sources. Oher firms may have a decent practice but, with some marketing, their business could be stronger and more rewarding.

There are basic reasons small law firms do not participate in marketing. I often hear lawyers say they don’t have time. Sometimes the motivation to do any marketing is not there. I believe that what it requires is largely misunderstood. Here are some basic steps to consider in a marketing plan:

  1. Every lawyer is better at some practice areas and enjoys those areas of law better than others. What are your strengths? Focus on those to make you stand out to potential clients. What do you want to be known for being good at? When you can define that, other lawyers and potential clients will likely identify you as the one they will call when they need your expertise. 
  2. The basics are the best place to get your name known along with the others. Print advertising in select publications is important. Develop a website that describes who you are and not only what you do, but what you do well and who you can help.
  3. Work with members of your firm to develop a Marketing Plan. Having everyone involved in this process has a dynamic effect. The Office Manager, staff members and young lawyers can have great ideas. The process also advances a positive law firm culture.
  4. Whether you market your firm by placing ads in a community theatre brochure or sponsor a local sports team, select the kind of local advertising that is best for your firm. Your plan may not be perfect, but it will be a start.
  5. Develop a budget. Later, you will want to weigh your investment against your reward. Remember that tangible results take time. You may try one ad a few times and then try something else. Over time, you will see what works.
  6. Participate in Bar Association and other events that will allow you to network with lawyers and others who could become your future clients and sources for referral.

Lawyers who do not market their services will never be as successful as they could be.  Lawyers who believe that because they do quality work and continue to get referrals from current or former clients and think they do not need to do more are mistaken. Recognize that a little effort can make a big difference for your firm and can demonstrate that marketing is easier and more beneficial than you thought.