“You’re Not a Law Firm; You’re a Marketing Firm that Happens to Sell Legal Services

The Lawyers Video Studio

The Lawyers Video Studio, Harry Brockman, Gerry Oginski, Kathleen Brockman, Scott Pruitt

I was having lunch with a really smart guy and he said something remarkable. He was addressing another member of his marketing team and reminded her that we’re not “Just a law firm.”

“Rather,” he said, “We’re a marketing company that just so happens to sell legal services.”

That was revolutionary. I had never heard anyone describe their law practice that way. The moment I heard it, I instantly knew that he was 100% correct.

Most lawyers think they are the greatest lawyers or law firm in their town or state. That’s great to know. The problem is that if their ideal clients or consumers don’t know it, it doesn’t matter how good the lawyer is.

The stodgy image of a stuffy law firm with lawyers running around deep in dusty law books, wearing three-piece suits and pocket-watches is a thing of the past. Lawyers who look down upon others because they use non-traditional methods to get new clients are missing out on great opportunities.

As a business owner you must continually market your services. It doesn’t matter what you sell or what services you offer. Lawyers often forget that they are running a business.

The best lawyer in the world will be the loneliest lawyer if he can’t get the word out about his great legal abilities.

Kudos to my good friend for pointing out that our law firms are simply marketing machines that offer legal solutions to our clients. When you recognize the significance of that statement, you’ll see your law firm in a whole new light.

You’ve got to see the Facebook thread from a similar statement I made last week. Take a look:

Definition of a lawyer: a marketer who just happens to sell legal services.

    •  

      Spencer Farris I hope not. We should be professionals, not plumbers. That sentiment is exhibit A in the death of the legal profession. 

      November 4 at 8:50am · · 1
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      Gerry Oginski I disagree. We are professionals who are in the marketing business, we just happen to be selling legal svcs instead of plumbing svcs. Understanding that statement will help you stand out from the crowd. 

      November 4 at 9:13am · · 1
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      Ben Glass I agree with Gerry Oginski and here’s how you should think of it…if you are a good lawyer who delivers a great service and you would be the right solution for an individual in need then you should let that be known to that person… Why leave them to a random chance solution? Most lawyer advertising is random chance…. The consumer has no good way to tell a good lawyer from a mediocre lawyer…but your good, effective marketing can help them… So, whether or not they hire you, really good marketing helps all consumers. 

      November 4 at 9:22am · · 2
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      Rick Baker Sad…. 

      November 4 at 9:39am · · 1
    •  

      Rick Baker I understand the realities of the market and the business of law practice but I am a Lawyer first or I have nothing to market 

      November 4 at 9:41am · · 1
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      Gerry Oginski Of course you are a lawyer. If you don’t learn how to market your legal svcs however, you’ll be a very lonely, smart lawyer. 

      November 4 at 9:55am · · 1
    •  

      Rick Baker You’re right Gerry…smart, lonely and broke is not a good business model. I just get tired of hack lawyers who think they’re good at what they do because they’re all over tv. 

      November 4 at 10:16am ·
    •  

      Mark Merenda As a solo or small firm lawyer, you wear two hats. You are a practicing attorney who supplies work product to the firm, and you are the owner of a small business that sells legal services. Your financial success will depend far more on your business/marketing skills than it will on your legal skills. As Ben points out, your potential clients have no way of judging those skills. Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t be a great attorney, but what if all attorneys were great attorneys? Then what? Also, as a side note, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the snobbery and disdain in the assumption that attorneys are somehow better than plumbers. 

      November 4 at 10:27am · · 3
    •  

      Gerry Oginski I like Mark’s comment that attys think they are somehow ‘above’ plumbers. BTW, most of the general public regards attys as being lower than used car salesmen. We have a huge trust factor to overcome. 

      We can do that using education-based marketing and differentiating ourselves. Mark says this often and Ben says this daily drumming this concept to ‘lofty” attys that marketing our legal services is critical to stand out.

      November 4 at 10:59am · · 2
    •  

      Larry Weinstein Rick, you are not in the legal business…You are in the business of marketing and selling legal services. I know it is tough to hear but it is true…If you can bring in the clients, no offense, but competent attorneys or any other professional for that matter, can be bought for a reasonable price to do the work. 

      November 4 at 11:15am ·
    •  

      Gerry Oginski Rick- as Ben mentioned, the public doesn’t really know who is a ‘good’ atty is. Mark has also said that. In fact, the general public is not qualified to evaluate the competency of an atty. Marketing allows the general public to distinguish which atty is right for them. 

      November 4 at 11:33am ·
    •  

      George Danny Murphy Just like everything else- it’s all in the pitch. 

      November 4 at 11:48am ·
    •  

      Mark Merenda What are the implications for attorneys of this story? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 

       

      www.washingtonpost.com

      Joshua Bell is one of the world’s greatest violinists. His instrument of choice …See More
      November 4 at 12:05pm · ·
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      Spencer Farris I have no snobbery against plumbers or any other career choice, but you don’t call plumbers professionals. As i was taught, there are three professions. We happen to belong to one. Or we used to, before the notion that business getting was more important than practicing law ethically and zealously took over the mindset of many practitioners. I am a lawyer first. I market my services secondly. As Rick said, if I am not a lawyer, I have nothing to Market. I went to law school, not marketing school. I study, live and breathe (to some extent) the law, and introduce myself as a lawyer, not a marketer. In a time when we should be fighting to elevate our image, holding ourselves out as nothing more than marketers with a law degree is a step in the wrong direction. Pretty sure my clients would say they want a lawyer, not a marketer handling their case. 

      November 4 at 12:28pm ·
    •  

      Mark Merenda Calling a lawyer a “professional” while calling a plumber a “laborer” (or whatever) is a perfect example of marketing. 

      November 4 at 12:36pm · · 1
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      Larry Weinstein If you don’t do a good job ethically and effectively marketing your practice…with no clients hiring you ..it doesn’t matter that you are a lawyer!! You will be out of business! 

      November 4 at 12:36pm ·
    •  

      Nancy Cavey Legal services are invisible! One of our ethical obligations is to educate our prospective clients because clients see lawyers as the obstacle to what they want. Most lawyers are technicians not counselors at law. You must be an educator and without using marketing as a tool you’ll never serve your clients properly.. You probably won’t any clients 

      November 4 at 4:20pm · · 4
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      Gerry Oginski You are 100% right Nancy. Educating your consumers and clients are the key. 

      November 4 at 4:44pm · · 2
    •  

      Ben Glass when the toilet is leaking I want a professional plumber… 

      November 5 at 4:58pm · · 1
    •  

      Gerry Oginski But which professional plumber do I choose? There are so many to pick from? How do I know which one is really good? Which one provides value for his service? 

      Which one promises to wear suspenders or a belt so I don’t have to see his plumbers crack…since we all know that professionals just don’t dress that way. I want my plumber coming to my house in a suit and tie.

      November 5 at 5:57pm ·
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