Collecting magnets and avoiding lawyer hotels

Doug Jasinski

Collecting magnets and building a culture that makes your law firm more than simply a “hotel for lawyers” were just two of the interesting ideas that emerged from the Legal Marketing Association’s Vancouver chapter inaugural event that took place on September 9, 2005. Approximately 80 people attended the half-day session that featured 3 distinguished speakers.
Roberta Montafia, Chief Marketing Officer, Day, Berry & Howard LLP, spoke on the fundamentals of planning. Her key message: effective marketing strategy is based on knowing who you are as a firm, how the market perceives you and where you want to go. She also discussed the eternal challenge of identifying unique differentiators for your law firm. Her approach is to collect “magnets” – cultivating multiple human-scale differences that can serve as points of attraction rather than looking for a single magic cure-all.
Dr. Mark Greene, Practice Development & Market Research, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, (and formerly director of the Brand Research Company) followed up by taking the audience through research he conducted (in conjunction with Greenfield Belser) that led to the report “Why Law Firms Fail/Why Firms Succeed”TM, . As Dr. Greene identified the characteristics that separate successful law firms from failed ones, the picture that emerged was that successful firms were more likely to embrace change and accept risks, albeit in a disciplined and managed way. Shared culture and consensus building were also two traits that markedly defined successful firms and allowed them to be more than just “hotels for lawyers”.
Silvia L. Coulter, Managing Partner, Coulter Consulting Group and President, Legal Sales & Services Organization used the “S” word (sales) – still very rare in law firm parlance, and spoke to the critical role of exceptional client service as the key to turning opportunities created by marketing into new business for law firms.
Overall a great kick-off session for the Vancouver LMA chapter, Canada’s first.

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