The realm of law firm marketing is made more challenging by the unique ways in which those in the legal profession operate. The majority of law firms are restricted to operating within their immediate local area. Thus, the most critical element of marketing is building strong and lasting client relationships.
But how exactly do they do that? What do law firms do to build these connections with clients that help to sustain their business? And, not just across a decade or so, but across multiple generations.
The first thing that’s important is understanding what clients need in their local area. It’s no good building a law firm that specializes in patent law, for instance, if there is almost no demand for it in the local area. To take patent law as an example, that might be a client need in a place where there is a concentration of research universities. And/or companies engaging in various kinds of R&D. It’s also a useful skill area in cities where there is a strong culture of entrepreneurship.
It’s critical that law firms know what kinds of legal services their clients need. Especially, if they’re going to build lasting connections and relationships with them. They can do this via community outreach, basic market research, studying local social media activity, and more.
The next important element in building a good client relationship is being able to communicate with them. Law firms will invite people to talk face to face with legal professionals. "Listening to their problems and offering advice and solutions in terms that they can understand. They will also communicate their firm’s USPs. Any specific skills, experience, competitive pricing, range of services, etc. through channels that local people value. These should be areas viewed on a daily basis." - says Senior Manager at Legal Drop.
The cornerstone of any good lawyer-client relationship is trust. Trust often begins with effective and meaningful communication.
So far we have seen how understanding a client’s needs and communicating solutions and other information to them effectively are key to starting off a good relationship. However, it’s trust that makes it last for years and years. The law may as well be a minefield to the ordinary person. There are so many pitfalls, loopholes, and other risks. This means when untrained or unfamiliar parties start to engage with the law, they fall foul of it. This being so, they entrust so much of their legal well-being to lawyers.
Let’s not forget that for many who employ lawyers, their freedom, reputation, and whether or not they’ll ever be residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure often hinges on the competence and diligence of a law firm and its team. When we remember that, it’s much easier to understand why building trust is so important in a law firm’s development.
The final way that law firms build lasting client relationships is by showcasing their value. In other words, they make themselves indispensable to the client. Some people see lawyers charging exorbitant fees and think that those numbers are just par for the course. In fact, this isn’t the case. In order to charge hundreds of dollars an hour or more, a law firm must first demonstrate its worth to the client base. Then they will be ready and willing to pay at that rate.
This value is shown in securing victories in litigation. However, actually in finding creative solutions that benefit the client and reduce friction between disputing parties is key. Law firms that create solutions and then use that history to promote themselves not only hold on to existing clients but find new ones, too.