In most firms I work with, departments or practice groups meet on a monthly or quarterly basis. Some meetings are made up of just lawyers- while others include the whole administrative team including secretaries. Fair warning — I favor the latter approach because I find staff can offer fresh insight into the discussion and be messengers for the practice in their own professional and familial circles (and thus possibly sending work to the firm as well). Further, I find that inclusion improves morale, loyalty to the firm and a sense of inclusion that money can’t buy.
Most practice group meetings are spent going over current cases (old and new) and new caselaw. But with just a few small changes, practice group meetings can be a place of marketing gold.
Here are my top 10 suggestions from yours truly as well as from a few colleagues around the country to maximize those meetings:
- Invite staff for the reasons mentioned above.
- If you have an in-house marketing team, invite one person from it to regularly provide intelligence as to what your competition has just issued or conducted in the way of white papers, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, videos, events and social media. All of this should be available on the internet. If your firm does not have a marketing person, charge someone with signing up for all of your competition’s communications on their websites—and don’t just go local—see what other lawyers are doing around the country in your practice area. You will be inspired and surprised by new initiatives.
- Invite a client to speak at your meeting. Have them talk about their biggest challenges right now so your team can brainstorm and assist on the spot — gratis. This action could prove to be a huge bonus for your group and the client.
- Invite someone from a different practice group in the firm to come speak about cross-selling opportunities or specific targets they want your department’s help with in the future.
- Share the results of any client interviews or feedback discussions with everyone and discuss which client should be interviewed next.
- Discuss ANY social media postings from firm lawyers in the last month and everyone’s need to share the postings with their LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. Provide links to make such postings easy for the lawyers and staff.
- Discuss a value-added service that can be done for the top 3 clients of the practice group in the next 60 days.
- From Texas, Cowen Rodriguez Peacock’s Marketing Manager Delisi Friday offers this example as to what her personal injury firm does:
“Every Friday at 4:00 pm all of our attorneys get together for a weekly meeting. We share what cases settled that week, for how much, and then go around and share a goal they each have for the next week and if they accomplished the goal they shared the week before in the meeting. Doing this has been a great way for our attorneys to set goals, and also hold each other accountable for them. While we have a small personal injury law office, and aren’t a large firm separated by practice groups, I think the objective can apply to any firm and any practice group. It’s been really beneficial for our firm when we did this in 2019. It helped our attorneys think about goals, and make sure they accomplished them so they would not have to say they didn’t accomplish what they said they would. I’d encourage practice groups to do this, as we’ve seen a real improvement by adding this to our attorney meetings.”
- Jennifer Simpson Carr, of Knapp Marketing suggests that an agenda item should be trends impacting the key sectors of your practice. “This is a great opportunity to identify changes or anticipated changes in the market (exploring “what if” scenarios), conduct research around the scenarios you/your practice identify, and offer proactive advice to your clients. This also positions the group to have a conversation about the capabilities and strengths it can offer in various scenarios and identify any weaknesses or areas for growth in those scenarios. This approach will also help your group feel prepared for and confident.” I love this suggestion.
- If your firm has an executive director, it is excellent practice to have her or him sit in on every practice group meeting in your firm so they can provide insight and information as to what other practice groups in the firm are doing. This will also prevent reinvention of the wheel and create other synergies.
My last tip, is at each meeting, try to express gratitude for the work and for the pleasure of each other’s company and the opportunity to create positive results for clients. Laugh together. In my opinion, the happier you are at work, the more likely you are to have marketing success.
If you have any question about any of these suggestions, feel free to holler back. As always, I am rooting for you.
Stacy West Clark Esq. has been helping Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawyers and law firms expand their practices and grow revenues for over 25 years—She is a former attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and was its first marketing director.
Reprinted with permission from the January 17, 2020 issue of The Legal Intelligencer. © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.