Your marketing department is not responsible for bringing you new business.  They are there to assist you.

If you are in a firm with a marketing person or even a department, you must understand what they do.  When a law firm hires legal marketers, particularly a mid-size firm or large firm, those people are there to do many different things, but creating your book of business is not one of them. 

Before we move forward, I have to say that yes, firms with marketing & business development professionals are there to help you get new business. But, still, they cannot create a relationship with the potential client.  Only you can do that. 

People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  And while the Business Development and Marketing Professionals can help you get known, the only person who can get you liked and trusted is you. 

Let’s discuss this for a moment to understand what your marketing and business development department can do and cannot do to help you with your business development.

The law firm marketing department (and this includes business development professionals) is there to craft the marketing strategy for the law firm – the entire law firm, regardless of the attorneys who work there.  Attorneys come and go, but the law firm’s marketing strategy ensures that the firm is still well known.

This strategy includes creating, promoting, and implementing the plan for the entire firm, which may include:

  • Creating, managing, and interacting with the firm’s social media channels (not the individual attorney’s channel)
  • Designing and maintaining the firm’s website, including helping the attorneys to update bios and profiles
  • Public relations efforts
  • Assist in conceiving events and planning the successful execution of those events
  • Maintaining a database of the firm’s clients and construct opportunities for outreach to the database in emails, newsletters, client events, etc.
  • Researching market and business trends related to the various industries and practice areas that the firm services to help plan marketing tactics that will get the firm and the attorneys known in that area
  • Using data and technology to help determine the best way to reach out to current clients
  • Creating client services initiatives that will ensure that clients remain with the firm
  • Soliciting, drafting, and submitting RFPs from appropriate potential clients
  • Managing online directories and referral sites, submitting information for attorney and firm awards,  promoting awards, and determining which lawyer directories should be launched and maintained.

And so much more!  There is so much that the Marketing/Business Development Department does that most lawyers do not understand or even, sorry to say, appreciate. 

In certain firms, they are also there to help collaborate with the attorneys regularly to help expand the individual attorneys business development and marketing efforts which may incorporate finding locations for the attorneys’ to publish articles, speak at conferences and events, and determine the best locations/associations for networking purposes.

But, they cannot network for you.  And, as I said above, they cannot create the relationships you need to develop to have clients want to work for you.

What they also cannot do is work with every single attorney in a firm.  And they cannot create YOUR book of business.  Mid-size firms and Big Law firms’ Marketing/BD departments are stretched very thin.  So, it becomes imperative for you to start taking 100% responsibility for developing your own book of business.  

This means you not only have to do good work as a lawyer but that you also:

  • Have to network consistently. You have to meet the people with whom you would like to do business or who can send you business (your referral sources);
  • Always remain in contact with your clients, referral sources, and potential referral sources,
  • Keep your name in front of your potential clients, clients, and referral sources using social media, and
  • Position yourself as the person they need to hire when they have an issue that you can help solve using thought leadership tactics; for example, writing articles and blogs, presenting webinars and seminars, podcasting (either by yourself or as a guest podcaster)

But the most important thing you need to do is take full responsibility for creating your own book of business. And, if you don’t know how, ask the marketing and business development department for help.  That is also what they are there to do.

Or, to be totally self-centered, hire a coach or take a class.  If your marketing department does not have the bandwidth to help you, because remember the above list is only a fraction of what the law firm requires their marketing and business development department to do, find someone who will.  

Oh, and by the way – please take a moment to thank the marketing and business development person/department in your firm. 

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