With billables more challenging to find for law firms, we thought we’d ask John Hellerman, of Hellerman Baretz Communications and marketing strategist for numerous AmLaw 200 firms, for some tips.
The “Titanic” theory: If you’re pursuing a sound strategy, the worst reaction to the economic slide is to go off course. Some say the Titanic wouldn’t have sunk had it plowed through instead of trying to avoid the iceberg.
You know that blog you started? Position it in some way that gets more traffic than your firm’s website. For employment lawyers at Ford & Harrison, John helped create a blog centered on NBC’s The Office (called “That’s What She Said,” it estimates the litigation costs of each episode’s antics). Hosted on a popular employment law site not affiliated with the firm, it gets nearly 20,000 hits every Friday.
Produce branded content, like an authoritative annual survey or Patton Boggs’s Capital Thinking magazine. Even if a big contributor leaves, your branded expertise doesn’t walk out the door with them.
John also says more firms could be using PR as a recruitment tool in the war for lateral partners. Other things being equal, he says partners are more likely to head to the firm that promises to sit them down with the PR team and develop a marketing campaign around their practice. The cost of such a campaign—probably in the low five figures—is small compared to a multi-million-dollar book of business.