2017 Legal Marketing Technology Conference Midwest

The Legal Marketing Technology Conferences are the largest conferences dedicated to technologies that law firm professionals use to identify, attract and support clients. They provide the premier forum to learn from and network with thought leaders and colleagues. The National Law Review is proud to be one of this years Megabyte Sponsor’s!

This year’s LMATech Midwest conference theme is Collaboration That Works.

The event will be held on September 25th and 26th at the University Club of Chicago.

 

 

For more information on this years conference go to: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/midwest-tech-2017

#LMA17 Keynote Speaker Zoe B. Chance Twitter Recap

Day one of the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference featured Keynote Speaker Zoë Chance, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Yale School of Management. Zoë teaches one of the most sought-after MBA courses, Mastering Influence and Persuasion. This morning, she shared her expertise on behavioral bias with LMA and how it applies to the law firm environment.

4 Ways Attorneys Can Connect with Today’s Legal Consumers

attorney legal consumerLast year, an Avvo survey of 1,000 consumers who purchased legal services provided some important insights into what attorneys need to know about the modern legal consumer.  The Avvo study offered a three-point description of today’s legal consumers. They are:

Informed — access to legal information online has made consumers more savvy than ever about the options available to them. They read legal articles, research their particular legal issue, research an attorney and visit legal forums online.

Connected — people now have immediate access to other legal consumers online and they are reading reviews about others’ experiences with attorneys. An overwhelming 95% said that online reviews were important when choosing a lawyer. Of those who received a referral, 45% still researched attorneys online.

Picky — legal consumers know there are a number of different ways to purchase services, including online forms, fixed fee options, etc. They are increasingly attracted to unbundled services, an a la carte solution for their legal issues. In fact, 76% said they prefer fixed fee billing arrangements.

To connect with legal consumers today, attorneys must:

Have a strong online presence. When it comes to online marketing, you should focus on two things: (1) go where your potential clients are, and (2) implement what you can measure. You have to be able to measure your success (or failure) to discover what works for your area of practice and to be able to build on those successes. When it comes to social media, Facebook is a must for consumer attorneys. One of the most powerful features of Facebook is ad targeting, the ability to layer targeting options on top of one another to create a highly specific audience. This enables you to target locally and get your ads in front of people who need your services now. Facebook ads are low-cost, so you can experiment to see what resonates with your potential clients and then repeat what works.

Encourage online reviews. Attorneys need to create a process for making reviews happen. Always look for those moments in your relationships with clients to create a review opportunity – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation – all opportunities for you to generate a great review. Make it easy for clients to review you by emailing them a link to post a review on Google. Better yet, create an autoresponder email with a built-in Google review form and send it to them at the appropriate time. When you have receive good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.

Offer unbundled services. There are millions of people who download legal documents off LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer for business and personal use. And it shouldn’t surprise you to know that many of them still want a real live attorney to review those documents (which is why the online legal service providers refer customers to attorneys now from their websites). Consider offering unbundled services like online legal document reviews, especially for business clients — the initial fees may not be much, but could lead to bigger things down the road. Remember, many people are looking for a la carte options.

Provide fixed fee options. To be successful with fixed fee billing, firms need to conduct extensive research into their case files going back several years in order to arrive at pricing that will protect profitability.

© The Rainmaker Institute, All Rights Reserved

Register for LMA Midwest Chicago CMO Panel Luncheon – February 22nd

Click here to register

February 22, 2017 | 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Presenters:
John C. Albrighton, Jim Durham, Jill Himelfarb, John R. Neidecker and Stacy Rowe

We should know by now that it’s not about your attorneys or your firm; it’s about your clients! As clients have increased their demands and expectations of law firms, the one-size-fits-all client experience has become obsolete. Clients have become catalysts for greater changes in the legal industry and to stay competitive, it’s imperative that firms have a strategic, tailored approach to client engagement and service.

Three Chicago-based legal marketing leaders and a well known consultant and former CMO will candidly share their experiences implementing “client-centric” business development initiatives. Our panelists will share their perspectives on the following topics and how they relate to their current client experience management (CEM) strategies:

  • Where Marketing & Business Development Meet – Developing Marketing Strategies that Support Business Development
  • Teams and Resources – Aligning both to support CEM Strategies
  • Revenue Generation – Evaluating Opportunities and Developing Pursuit Strategies
  • Cross-Selling – Overcoming Barriers and Fostering Success
  • Business Intelligence + Client Feedback – Using Information to Drive Action

In a nutshell, “client experience management” describes the process by which firms attract and retain a greater number of clients by validating business strategy and improving the value brought to individual clients and prospective clients through services rendered, relationships and targeted and optimized engagement.

Location:
Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
2 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60602

Lunch will be provided.

$40 LMA Members
$60 Non-Members and any registrations after February 20th
Note: You must be logged in to the LMA website to receive the member rate.

Strategic Planning in Law Firms: Essential Steps for Success

Law firms doing the “same old thing” isn’t going to work anymore. Despite all the legal industry changes discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, 66% of Managing Partners report that their law firm’s strategy has not changed.  It is imperative for today’s law firms to have a strategic plan that evolves with the firm and changes in the market; however, only 24% of law firms report having strategic plans, even though 71% of Managing Partners report that having a strategic plan improved their firm’s performance.

Strategic PlanningWhat makes a strong strategic plan?

Successful strategic planning is an ongoing process; the first step is creating the plan, but just as crucial is the follow-up. Steps include:

  • Implementation
  • Review
  • Making changes as needed (and things can change fast)

When drafting a strategic plan, it’s important to think about the process–and to incorporate measurable capabilities.  The tenets of good goal setting should apply–keep things simple, realistic, and achievable, looking ahead three to five years with annual goals.  As you create the plan, build it with the knowledge that it is a living document that must change, because the world is changing.  It should function as a sort of guiding principal, and it reminds your firm of your priorities when crisis situations arise.

Chart, Data

With rapidly changing technology, crises and unexpected opportunities, keeping in mind your strategic objectives is a good way to keep your firm focused on your priorities.  When surveyed, Managing Partners indicated the most important strategic objectives were Marketing and Business Development, Succession Planning, Firm Growth and improved lawyer productivity.

Where should a law firm allocate Marketing and Business Development resources?

With Marketing and Business Development as one of the most important pieces of the strategic plan; it’s important to describe what a solid strategy looks like.  For many firms, marketing and business development is not a top priority–it should be.  The research for Re-Envisioning focused questions on trends in allocating marketing resources in the following seven areas:

  • Website and Internet Marketing
  • Firm Events & Seminars
  • Organizational Involvement
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Rankings and Directories
  • Marketing Staff
  • Lawyer Sales Training

When asked about 2015 investments v. 2016 investments, it was clear that most firms are continuing to do what they have done before.  According to Re-Envisioning, “firms are doing the same old things because ‘we’ve always done it this way,’ budgets are set by equity partners unwilling to support marketing expenses, or there is a ‘let’s wait and see what the other firms are doing’ attitude.”  Investing in Marketing & Business Development can pay off in a big way, but of the firms surveyed, only 25% of them invested more than 4% of their revenue in Marketing  & Business Development.   To successfully move forward, law firms need to change their perspective and to truly innovate in terms of their Marketing and Business Development practices.

A good place to start is with the clients your firm already has–and wants to keep.  Break them into A list, B list and C list–so you can identify who may be happier working with a competitor, and who you want to make sure stays with your firm.

What should a law firm consider when developing a business development model?

Beyond an inventory of current clients, it’s important to develop a BD model–representing how your firm views business development and how it works for your firm’s situation.  Your model should answer the following questions:

  • Why do people buy?
  • How do they buy?
  • What are prospects and clients motivations and fears?
  • What is the process for finding prospects and transitioning them into clients?
  • Where does business come from?
  • How does your business development efforts focus on building relationships?
  • How does your firm become a trusted advisor to your clients and community?
  • What differentiates your firm and your lawyers, and how do those differences align with your clients’ needs?

Asking questions like this can help your firm ensure that your marketing and business development resources are going in the right direction–and can help your firm create a deliberate way forward, with an integrated approach to ensure goals are met and resources are not squandered.  Additionally, creating a plan with measurable tenets can help your firm track return on investment so it’s clear what’s working and where additional investment might be warranted.

How does a law firm achieve buy-in for the marketing and business development plan?

Another area to consider is asking individuals in the firm–partners and associates– to create a personal business development plan.  By asking individuals to think about marketing and business development, your firm is demonstrating its commitment to these principals.  Additionally, asking partners and associates to think about how they can best contribute to business development encourages accountability and personal reflection, so individuals can find a way to contribute that is best for them, increasing the likelihood that the commitment will be lasting.

These changes may be around the corner, many law firms are incorporating them already.  Brent Turner, Client Development–Peer Monitor & Thought Leadership at Thomson Reuters, comments, “For the first time in many years, we’re seeing healthy acceleration in the marketing and business development budgets of US Law Firms, let primarily by AMLAW 200 firms.  We’re also seeing evidence that these investments are starting to pay off in a big way.” Terry Isner Jaffe PR Law firm business development

 

 

Copyright ©2017 National Law Forum, LLC

What It Takes to Make It Rain: Rainmakers Now, and Rainmakers of the Future

rainmakerIn the rapidly changing legal industry, it is no surprise that broad conceptions of what it means to be a rainmaker are also evolving. Dr. Heidi Gardner, Lecturer and Distinguished Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, has been conducting research over the past decade on collaboration in law firms. Her findings have also revealed insights into rainmakers: what makes them successful, how their roles changed over time, and how the next generation of rainmakers can be primed to succeed. She will be presenting her findings on the myths and realities of rainmakers at the Thomson Reuters 24th Annual Marketing Partner Forum.

Successful Rainmakers: Extroverts, Introverts, and Cultural Understanding

A common discussion regarding rainmakers, and leadership in general, is whether they are born or made. Based on her decades long research, Dr. Gardner’s answer to whether rainmakers are born is a resounding no. What makes someone a successful rainmaker is their ability to exhibit other sides of their personality, or other strengths and traits, depending on their audience. Rainmakers are typically discussed as being highly extroverted—charismatic, forceful, possessing great salesmanship skills. However, these traits themselves don’t make rainmakers successful, but rather it is their enormous ability to connect with whomever the buyer of their services. Because buyers are not a homogeneous group, most successful rainmakers are able to adjust or adapt their style appropriately.

Introverts are therefore not precluded from being successful because of their commonly thought of as “quiet nature”. In fact, introverts may make better rainmakers in some regard. Dr. Gardner points out that introverts tend not to think out loud and consider what they’re going to say before they say it. They often take time to reflect and appropriately listen to the person that is sitting across the table. This makes introverts very adept at identifying the buyer’s underlying issues and thinking through what it takes to connect the dots inside their firm to help clients solve complex issues. Dr. Gardner also points out that “Many buyers of legal services are also introverts, and they will appreciate someone who has similar a demeanor—not salesy or pushy.” Great rainmakers who are introverts are chameleons. It likely takes more energy for them to be outgoing and interact with strangers in a bigger setting, but they will have developed the capacity to be gregarious enough to make those connections.

Successful rainmakers have a foundation of being highly empathetic and have a strong motivation and interest in understanding other clients—it’s part of what makes them so successful. Dr. Gardner posits these skills are the “basic building blocks for being able to communicate across cultures” and make rainmakers more equipped to be successful with buyers from other countries. What’s required is an additional measure of cultural intelligence; successful rainmakers take part in and study the behavioral mimicry of their buyers in addition to having an appreciation for why different people approach different problems from different perspectives in general.

Evolution of Rainmaker: Toward Collaboration

During the course of Dr. Gardner’s research, she has discovered an interesting trend, or rather non-trend, in the legal industry: the rainmakers at law firms are largely the same people. During the past ten to twelve years, firms have moved away from mandatory retirement. Partners are staying longer than ever, so the rainmakers at firms now are the same ones from a decade past.

There is a new generation of rainmakers coming in now, but there is a lot of frustration in the profession regarding the structure and effectiveness of succession planning (which will be discussed further below). Despite the fact that the legal industry is currently dealing with the same cast of characters, one profound change Dr. Gardner has observed in the last decade involves a simultaneous broadening and narrowing of the role of the rainmaker.

According to Dr. Gardner, “clients increasingly expect a level of industry expertise” that requires attorneys to identify their practices with more specificity than ever. An attorney can no longer be an “environmental attorney”, but must become “an environmental attorney with a focus on extractive industries”, or an “intellectual property lawyer” must be an “IP attorney who specializes in the patent prosecution of computer hardware”. However, because clients’ problems are becoming increasingly complex, rainmakers are less able to be seen as the single go-to person for a particular client who puts together a team of experts in a single discipline, but rather as needing pull together teams of multidiscipline experts. So along with the narrowing of the rainmaker’s own field of expertise, successful rainmakers are broadening their ability to pull together diverse teams to tackle their client’s problems. The rainmaker is the conductor; as Dr. Gardner states: “The client counts on them to be a broker to all of the kind of experts that exist within the firm.”

In order to be successful going forward, rainmakers of the future need to be more collaborative as far as seeking out complementary experts to serve clients. A common obstacle that prevents rainmakers from being successful in this is the reliance on bringing in the “obvious suspects” as a matter of prestige in front of the client. But when called upon to do work on the case, these attorneys are nowhere to be found. Dr. Gardner believes that a key to building a successful team will be to find the hidden gems at the law firm—rainmakers should seek out attorneys who are hungry for client service opportunities. She acknowledges that doing this can be a risky. It’s easier to put someone in front of your client who has an existing reputation as a guru in their sector, but their value to the process is limited if their participation is not complete.

People who are truly intent on becoming successful rainmakers should be investing the time and the energy on others who are not necessarily thought of as the “obvious suspects”. They must access the deeper well of talent that exists and bringing them through the system so that they become committed, loyal, deeply engaged attorneys who are serving the client. To continue to be successful, rainmakers will need to take the risks and bring different kinds of people on board; as Dr. Gardner stated “The legal industry is too fragile to rely on just small pool of experts.”

Rainmakers – The Next Generation

As stated previously, Dr. Gardner has found that effective succession planning in law firms has been found wanting. Even though this generation of rainmakers has been around longer than ever, it is critical for the continuing success of firms to take a hard look at bringing up the new generation of rainmakers on deck. The most effect way to begin doing this is through mentorship. Dr. Gardner states, “People need to accept responsibility for developing a pipeline of talent.” She experienced some of the effective mentoring while she was working as a consultant at McKinsey’s Johannesburg office. She worked under a partner that would take her to all the important meetings, where she wasn’t expected to participate, but allowed to observe. During her time under the tutelage of this partner at McKinsey, she learned a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of client handling. Today’s rainmakers need to make those types of investments in people that will eventually come after them.

Up-and-comers also need to be willing to take responsibility for the trajectory of their career. Too often, Dr. Gardner has encountered partners who have tried to give junior partners or associates the opportunity to participate in learning experiences, who are asked “Can I bill the time?” This is the incorrect mindset to have on the road to becoming a successful rainmaker. Dr. Gardner elaborates: “If you’re trying become a successful rainmaker, you have to invest some non-billable time in your own development as well.” Both the willingness of existing rainmakers to mentor and the tenacity of of rising rainmakers will be what dictates the success of the next generation of rainmakers.

Learn more about the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute Marketing Partner Forum here.

Copyright © 2017 National Law Forum, LLC

January 25-27: 24th Annual Marketing Partner Forum – Client Collaboration & the New Rules of Engagement

In January 2017, Marketing Partner Forum returns to Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA for a three day summit on law firm marketing and business development set against the breathtaking Southern California shoreline. Marketing Partner Forum will welcome law firm marketing partners, rainmakers, practice group heads, business development leaders and esteemed corporate counsel for a dynamic and vibrant conference designed for the industry’s most experienced professionals.

Call to register: 1-800-308-1700

Or click here to email and we will contact you.

For more information, click here.

Terranea Palos Ranchos Verdes Marketing Partner ForumWhy You Should Attend

Marketing Partner Forum is designed for client development partners, rainmakers, and the senior-most legal marketing and business development professionals across the legal industry. Our content reflects the experience and sophistication of our international audience in terms of rigor, ambition and scope. Attendees can expect to hear from venerable thought leaders both within and outside of the legal industry. Enjoy ample networking opportunities and the stunning scenery, golf course, spa and hiking trails at one of California’s most picturesque resorts. Take advantage of our brand new Marketing Partner Conference Track consisting of several compelling sessions designed specifically for the law firm partnership. Interact directly with senior clients and network for new business. Explore the brand new Marketing Partner Forum Technology Fair. Bring your family to our Thursday night reception and Friday Bloody Mary Brunch. Depart the event with practical takeaways to share with peers and firm leadership.