In 2007, the ABA Law Practice Management Section developed the ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference, a biannual event that filled a void in providing attorneys with business development education, in the same way that ABA TECHSHOW has provided technology learning for more than 25 years.
The inaugural conference focused on the 30th anniversary of Bates v. Arizona, and the huge impact the Supreme Court case had on changing the way the business of law operates. In 2009, the conference moved to Philadelphia, where the post-recession theme was “differentiate,” and the challenges the new economy brought to an attorneys’ ability to stand out in a crowd. In November 2011, the conference returned to Philadelphia with the theme of R3—highlighting three core “Rs” of law firm marketing—reputation, referrals and rankings.
This year’s conference was a great success, with programs that targeted key functions of law firm marketing efforts, including:
- KEYNOTE: Day one keynote Dan Hill discussed the role of emotion in both a law firm’s marketing message and gauging the reaction of the recipient. Day two keynote Peter Shankman addressed the way social media, public relations, advertising and the Internet converge to help lawyers get the message out.
- ETHICS HOT-BUTTONS: Conversations of ethics and professionalism revolved around two hot-button topics. Thomas Spahn’s “ethics guide to marketing” highlighted the ever-changed state bar rules as they relate to advertising. The roundtable conversation on the impact of lawyer rankings and ratings on the profession featured perspectives from multiple angles—that of the rankings company, in-house counsel, the law firm marketer, ethics counsel, and the individual attorney.
- GOLDEN GAVELS: The first Golden Gavels, LPM’s answer to the Oscars, recognized the best in law videos, preceded by an insightful look at the power of video in lawyer marketing.
- ROI: Issues of ROI—Return on Investment—featured a discussion of measuring tools to determine the effectiveness of a law firm’s spending.
- BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Business Development training from two large law firm perspectives. On day one, a panel discussed how an individual can survive and thrive in Big Law. On the second day, the perspective shifted to professional development for associates.
- TOP 10 TOPICS: ROI, Budgeting, Social Media, and the conference’s 10 topics, 10x10 program concluded an intense two days of learning, coupled with great networking opportunities.
Stay tuned to Law Practice for details on 2013, and visit www.LawPractice.org/MarketingConference for articles and materials from this year’s event.