Marketing and law is an essential part of business that lawyers, law firms, and other legal professionals struggle with across the legal profession.

Issues with marketing in the law probably stem from the way some lawyers view marketing. In the legal field, there are subfields that divide lawyers into different practices. Personal injury lawyers, for example, market themselves exhaustively through various mediums — billboards, benches, online, essentially anywhere they can find.

Legal service providers who are successful in their field have built up their business by developing a network of attorneys over time. Most often, lawyers who are searching out of their personal network for an attorney use Google to find one. The irony here is that solo practitioner lawyers often don't have websites.

In short, the marketing dilemma that exists in the legal field is fairly clear-cut. Lawyers and legal service providers don't have the right toolset to reach their customer base when they attempt to target any group other than the general public.

Google can provide the legal profession with a limited solution since it can refine searches based on the needs of the searcher.

Another potential solution to this marketing dilemma is less industry diffusion. A lot of legal field participants are solo practitioners or smaller firms. This holds true in litigation finance and more intricate service fields. These legal professionals are short on time and lack money to market themselves effectively in a way that shines through. One solution could be mergers and vertical integration. Another is to set up professional coops.

Basic Marketing Principles

Lawyers, law firm staff, and legal marketing professionals know how crucial it is to understand the conditions and rules of the legal marketing multiverse. This knowledge is a prerequisite to understanding how to work in legal marketing.

There are four common principles of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

  • Product: This can be professional legal services, representation, and advocacy. These services need to be tailored to fit the client's needs.
  • Price: The cost of services that are within the target client's budget, but also meet the product provider's profit goals.
  • Place: The vast array of communities where clients are seeking legal help.
  • Promotion: Branding, networking, sales, client service, etc.

Business Development Restrictions and Complications

More and more often, clients are placing restrictions on vendor gifts, and key clients are tending to switch between different available vendors. This makes it increasingly difficult to foster relationships and keep clients long term.

Many law firms are now also measured by their performance metrics, and clients weigh the price to value balance when choosing a law firm to work with.

These business restrictions have converged seemingly all at once and legal marketing is inundated with law firm promotion that is still trying to find its footing.

For lawyers to attract, retain, and grow their clientele, there are some very basic steps to follow:

  • If you're a lawyer whose business depends on pulling a profit, you are considered a product.
  • If you're a lawyer whose business depends on pulling a profit, you need to sell.
  • If you make a profit in a law firm, you're considered part of a sales force team.
  • If you have the opportunity to speak with a client, you have the opportunity to sell.
  • If you speak with a client, that client is part of your network.
  • If you're talking about yourself or your firm's services to a client, you are promoting.
  • If you're listening to what the client needs with a critical ear and responding in kind with solutions, you are selling.

There are a plethora of opportunities for lawyers and law firms to market themselves and advertise their accomplishments. On the other hand, client engagement and retention continues to become more challenging. For an attorney with limited time to dedicate to marketing, deciding thoughtfully how, where, when, and why to employ marketing strategies can determine a lawyer's present and future success. Deciding how much time to dedicate to marketing is a trickier question, relative to how much time the lawyer can give to promote the good work that they do.

An Abundance of Marketing Opportunities

The internet and different digital media have exponentially increased the number of opportunities for lawyers to promote, write, educate, advertise, brand, speak, and interact with clients.

If you need help with marketing and law, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.