Monday, December 23, 2013

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - O is for Office

Many lawyers are not alone.  While the job can feel isolating, most work in offices filled with very talented and dedicated professionals.  Look outside your office door and you will find an office full of people who should be viewed as part of your business development and marketing team.  

The partners and associates in your practice group, and other groups, should be working together so that you are all cross promoting each other's skills.  Having three, ten, fifty or one hundred lawyers marketing your business is much more powerful than standing alone.  

However it is common that firms develop an "eat what you kill" mentality and actually set co-workers up as competitors.  If this sounds like the  culture at your firm then you are leaving future revenues behind.  This will not change unless it is actively addressed, and this is a major cause of why lawyers leave firms (and take their books of business with them).

This team effort should not limited to only the attorneys in your firm.  The professional staff can often be the best fuel for the word of mouth marketing in your community.  Those who work with you have a reach that is much farther than you may be aware. These people all have neighbors, friends, and others who they know through any number of activities.  When they speak of their career (and most of us do talk about work), what are they saying?  It is surprising how often people (including other lawyers) share the dirty laundry of the dysfunction at their offices.  This becomes part of the firm brand all over town.  When people are treated as an important part of the team, they will spread the word about your office with a positive spin.  Treat them poorly and they will talk.

Your office should be having regular business development and marketing meetings, and include the professional staff (this will let them know they are viewed important members of the team).  Open discussions about prospects, business development efforts, and marketing plans allows everyone to be focused on the same goals, and eliminates the ability for some attorneys to hide and not participate in marketing the firm.  In these meetings everyone should be encouraged to participate and share ideas.  No idea is a bad idea, and those who are trying to advance the cause should be praised publicly for their participation.

If you want those in your office to help you succeed, you must remember that they also want to find success.  You must lead by example, and not always keep score.  Make it part of your own business development plan to help people you work with achieve their goals.  This is more than sending business leads to the other lawyers (although that is part of it), but involves understanding what motivates your co-workers in life and then being a resource for them when you can.  

Final thought..... Do not refer to the professional staff in your office as "non-lawyers".  This is a condescending but common way the people in a law firm are described ("lawyers" and "non-lawyers").  It separates the team and creates an "us vs. them" culture that will limit creating a unified culture.  Some larger firms even have separate holiday parties... one for attorneys, and another for staff.  The worst part of this is the per-person cost invested in the party is often much higher for lawyers.  If your firm does this you can be sure this is impacts your brand in the community (nobody is impressed when you pamper your attorneys and give less to the rest of your team).

Have A Great Day

thom singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please tell me that law firms do not really host separate holiday parties for lawyers and staff. That is gross.