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Law firms 'to invest in marketing'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 08/04/14

Small and mid-sized law firms in the US are set to invest in their marketing functions in a bid to make themselves more attractive to potential clients, according to a new report.

A professional marketing and business development department is considered a mandatory strategic tool by many companies, ALM Legal Intelligence revealed.

"Law firms are putting their money where their mouths are," said Kevin Iredell, vice-president of the organisation.

"The survey found that 44 per cent of firms increased their spending on non-staff marketing expenses in 2013 and 65 per cent are projecting marketing spending increases in 2014.

"Moreover, dedicated marketing functions are now the norm, with nine in ten respondents reporting they have staff dedicated to marketing at their firms," he added.

Other highlights of the survey included the news that marketers within law firms are increasingly being given direct access to the chief executive officer, evidence that their role is becoming valued as an organisational asset rather than an optional extra.

More than 75 per cent of respondents described having detailed processes in place when it comes to winning new business, highlighting just how well-planned and integral the marketing function can be within small to mid-sized law firms.

One in three respondents claimed that competitive intelligence is viewed as a critical piece of running the firm, highlighting the ways in which access to big data and the ability to analyse it is changing business models within the legal industry.

Although it has traditionally lagged behind other sectors when it comes to marketing, in line with many other parts of the services industry, the pace of change is such that even legal organisations are having to adapt their approach.

This is particularly true of mid-sized companies, which cannot fall back on their reputation on multinational reach in the same way their more prestigious Biglaw rivals can.

A similar trend is likely to be seen across the globe, especially as non-traditional legal service providers continue to develop their new offerings.