And how much time should they spend doing it?
I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you’re not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out.
Jim asked a really great question about who should do the marketing at a law firm and how much time should be spent. I rambled through an answer but figured I’d jot some additional thoughts here.
First, the warning: I have no idea what the right answer is for your firm.
I would hope that’s obvious since I have no idea who you are and there isn’t a single right answer to this question. But, I feel compelled to remind you, nonetheless.
If you’re a newly-minted lawyer, going out on your own (congrats by the way), you probably don’t have a ton of clients. Congratulations (again), you have a lot of time to invest in marketing. Maybe most of your time.
For you, should probably be doing all of your marketing. Also, to clarify, I’m using marketing to mean anything related to getting more clients. Including, nurturing relationships for referrals.
Of course, if you’re doing it right, you’ll start to have less time for marketing because, obviously, you will be spending more time serving clients.
And at some point, you’ll likely find that you have no time for marketing.
At this point, you’ll have some decisions to make.
Do you focus on serving clients and just hope that word of your good work spreads?
Do you keep, say, 20% of your time free for marketing?
Do you hire someone to do marketing?
Do you hire someone to do the lawyering and continue to focus on doing the marketing?
Do you partner with an agency?
To me, the answers to these questions primarily depend on the answers to these two questions:
- Where do want your law firm to go?
- What do you want to spend your time doing?
If growing your law firm beyond a solo practice isn’t part of your vision, and you like both practicing law and doing business development, you should probably just budget your time between serving clients and earning new clients. How much time you spend on each will ebb and flow based on your client load.
On the other hand, if you aspire to grow beyond a solo practice, you’ll need to decide what you want to spend most of your time doing, lawyering or marketing.
Sure, you can probably always do a bit of both. But to really grow, someone will probably need to dedicate the overwhelming majority of their time to marketing.
If you love marketing (and are good at it), that person should be you. And, unless you’re the rare exception, you should still probably get some help on top of that.
If you don’t love marketing (or you’re not good at it), here are your options:
- Hire a marketing person.
- Outsource it (freelancers, consultants, agencies, etc).
Notice I didn’t include having your niece do it (unless, of course, she’s a marketing person).
There are pros and cons to each. Maybe I’ll write on this again later, but you can Google in-house vs agency marketing and get some great resources (TL;DR: having a bit of both work best).
The next question is about how much marketing do you need?
And this largely depends on the earlier question, where do want your law firm to go?
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you’re starting from nothing, the resources required to “dominate your market” in a competitive practice area and location will be significant. I don’t care what channels you use, it will take a lot of time and money if you’re doing anything for which there’s any competition.
But that’s pretty useless.
In my experience, the firms that start by defining future success in business terms, have the best track record of hitting their forecasts. So, where do you want your law firm to be twelve months from now? What’s it look like? Revenue target? Target cost per client? Hires? Clients? Build it out.
Only then can you start to build a plan that defines who, time, and money.
The good news is that there are many ways to do it, which makes it fun and interesting.
How do you do it at your firm?