To follow on from Part 1, the second reason why I wrote a book on marketing for solicitors is I believe in a future for small and middle-sized law firms.
I believe small and middle-sized law firms have an extremely important role to play in society. They represent the private citizens and small and medium-sized businesses that Big Law ignores and who otherwise would have no access to justice.
Those small and medium-sized law firms make up 92% of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland. But they’ve been on the ropes for a long, long time. And while things might be getting better economically, if there’s to be a long term secure future for many small and medium-sized firms they’ll have to change how they do things and start running their legal practices like businesses.
And no business can survive without effective marketing. It’s something that lawyers the world over have always traditionally been very reticent about, but it’s essential. And it can be done professionally, ethically and with dignity. But it has to be done, and the book struck me as the obvious place to start.
And of course, allied to the future of small and medium-sized law firm are their clients: it’s all about the clients.
I know, solicitors love clients right? And want lots more of them, so it’s all about the clients really, isn’t it?
Well yes, but I’m not talking about clients here in the way that many solicitors view them. I’m really talking about clients in the way that they view themselves.
You see, far too may clients have had a bad experience of the legal profession. I’m sure you know of many who have come to you having had a negative experience somewhere else or have suffered because they didn’t have any legal advice or assistance at all when they should have had.
The problem is that many clients don’t know how to select a solicitor. And many don’t have any way of finding out.
And in a properly functioning marketplace, the way in which sellers of services and buyers of services become aware of one another’s respective needs and offerings is through effective marketing.
But the Irish legal market place hasn’t had much of that historically and there is a massive perception of a lack of transparency on the part of the public as a result. So, from the perspective of the end-users of legal services, solicitors need to get their message out there in terms of how they can help people and what they can do for them.
And as far as I am concerned there is an ethical dimension to all of this. Because if you know that you are the ideal lawyer for someone and you know that there is an ideal client out there for you that you can help and you know that if they do not get the right help or they do not get any help at all, they are going to suffer or lose out as a result: don’t you have a duty to tell them about how you can help them?
And if they are currently completely unaware of your existence, how else are you going to tell them other than by starting with effective marketing?
I know, I said there were three reasons why I wrote the book. Well, the third might actually be the most important, and I’ll come to that in the next part.
Meanwhile, go here to find out all about it.