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THE MAGAZINE      October 2002
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Practice Development: The New World of Law Practice Marketing

Larry Bodine

Sock it to me! Detroit-based Clark Hill made a big splash with its "We’ll Knock Your Socks Off" ad campaign. The ad, at left, which cost only $2,800 to design, emphasizes that the lawyers know and care about their clients’ business needs. It ran in Crain’s Detroit Business, at $7,000 per insertion. "We wanted an ad with a simple arresting graphic," said marketing director Jean Brown, who came up with the idea. "The feedback has been tremendous." The goals: to familiarize the market with the firm’s new name, throw off the image that silk-stocking firms are stodgy, and highlight the firm’s unique selling proposition—great customer service.

Full-court press. Instead of trying to raise your profile within a niche market, why not market the niche itself? Sutherland Asbill & Brennan did—and turned a $40,000 investment into more than $1 million in new business over 18 months. According to public relations whiz John Hellerman, the firm wanted to promote its practice to business development companies (BDCs), which provide capital to small and middle-market businesses. So it focused on making the topic of BDCs exciting to reporters, using media training, editorial coverage, speaking engagements, bylined article placement and white paper generation. Results exceeded expectations: 16 articles about BDCs appeared in print and Sutherland was mentioned in every one. According to Hellerman, the firm added 17 new BDC matters last year, yielding seven digits in revenue. Read details at www.hellermanllc.com/cases/bdc.shtml.

Top Identity Spot. When it comes to placing logos on Web sites, the rule is to follow directional conventions. Visitors look for things in places they are used to looking. For example, when you’re in an unfamiliar city, you go to the corner to find a street sign. In a supermarket, you look above the aisle to learn what’s in it. Site visitors will look for your logo in the top-left corner of the screen. The top left is, of course, where people starting reading traditional materials like books and newspapers.

Eye-popping greetings. San Diego’s Duckor Spradling & Metzger came up with a cost-effective and memorable way to market its 25th anniversary. For $350, it printed and mailed 500 fold-up greeting cards with the tagline "The Building Block of Success." When recipients open the card, photos of the firm’s lawyers pop up—creating the visual effect of building blocks (just like in those kids’ storybooks). The four-page blue-and-white card unfolds into a display that stands up on a desk. Client relations director Crystal Garcia reports the card was sent to general counsel of prospective corporate clients nationwide.

Larry Bodine (lbodine@lawmarketing.com) is a Web and Marketing Consultant who advises law firms on how to get more business. Based in Glen Ellyn, IL, he can be reached at (630) 942-0977.