As a marketing and communication professional, I am always trying to find ways for my firm and the professionals in my firm to stand out from the pack. At the firm level this means knowing the practices, the goals and the strategy – it is also about knowing the culture, the people and the opportunities. This doesn’t change when looking at a practice or individual other than size and scope. Sometimes we go too far in trying to be different and miss out on what is most important which is our partnership with clients.
One thing I have tried to instil on lawyers over the years is that success is not just about what they can do, it’s about what they can do for their clients. If the technical skills of the lawyer are generally a given yes there are better and worse lawyers but for most people there is an assumption based on reputation, firm, etc. that the advice given is solid and correct – than the differentiator comes with how the client feels.
Lawyers that treat clients as partners’ that will be successful. These clients will return and refer work. Clients that don’t feel like partners will go elsewhere especially if they feel they can receive the same level of technical skill.
The latest crop of television shows about lawyers – Suits and Franklin & Bash – take very different approaches to how the legal industry is viewed but share a common attribute. Both shows are about the individuals, personalities and interrelations within the firm. The common element in both shows is that success is about getting the best result for their clients. It’s about the client feeling secure with the support they are receiving. It’s about the client feeling like a partner.
And isn’t that what it should be about? The clients are the ones that pay the bills and allow lawyers to practice in a field they love. Sometimes we loose site of this when we come up with a great or novel approach to marketing. The marketing team must act as a sounding board and be comfortable asking questions. Questions like, do our clients need or want this? How does it improve their lives, jobs, issues? Sometimes tweaks to tried and true methods are better than new and novel.