March 2006

Volume 32 Number 2 | PAGE: 14 | BY: Larry Bodine

Practice Development Clips

The Finest in Firm Ads

Thompson & Knight has raised the marketing bar to new heights by developing one of the best professional firm ads ever. What makes this ad (at right) outstanding is not the soft-focus photography or elegant design. It’s not about ad agency gloss—it’s about client-centered thinking and strategy. This ad is terrific because it pops with the photo and the words of a client—a client who heads a $3.8 billion company that sells really expensive things. There he is, the president and CEO of Neiman Marcus explaining why the company has used Thompson & Knight for 90 years! Now that's a long-term relationship—and, as the tagline highlights, it’s a relationship built on “trust” (which for a five-letter word is mighty big and powerful). Plus, the testimonial emphasizes the firm has given this client what all clients want: responsive, knowledgeable lawyers who know the client’s business. Kudos to T&K marketing director Becky Jackson and her talented crew for this coup.

Learning from the Master

If you’ve never heard management guru David Maister speak in person, you can now do it online—in a big way. Maister has a brand-new Web site, and it is a cornucopia of free information, including a series of podcasts on how to run and market law firms. Just go to, click on “Podcasts,” and you can hear: “Understanding Relationships and Transactions,” “Business Development,” “Listening to Clients” and “Great Service.” From the rewards of building trusting relationships to creating excellent service, the series covers tactics designed to lead to return business and new clients. Maister calls the podcasts “Lessons I’ve learned.”

Press Relations Pointers

If your urge is to say “no comment” when a reporter phones, don’t—it sounds insidious, like you’ve got something to hide. According to Dan Abrams, MSNBC anchor of The Abrams Report, “There is no presumption of innocence—it’s a legal fiction. The police don’t presume the defendant is innocent and the media doesn’t presume innocence.” Abrams spoke at a recent Marketing Partner Forum. He advises that you “may choose to avoid the media, but it should be a concerted decision,” and then offered the example of defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who “only will talk to the media when it will help his case, and only when the prosecution has talked to the press.” A lawyer makes a mistake by completely ignoring the media, he says: “If you do, you are a fool.”


Larry Bodine is a strategic marketing consultant based in Glen Ellyn, IL. He advises law firms on how to get more business and can be reached at (630) 942-0977.