Should we offer our lawyers marketing training?
Yes. Marketing education is critical in today’s economy.
Most marketers and marketing committee members routinely attend high-quality marketing programs.
It’s so much a part of the job description that it can be hard to remember that most lawyers rarely get any sort of marketing education. In today’s challenging economy, it’s harder to find quality clients, so firms need more marketing boots on the ground.
Firms used to offer marketing training during their annual law firm or partner retreats. But the number of firm retreats has dropped precipitously since budgets were slashed in 2008.
Marketing Committees can really help the firm by pushing internal training programs. Most larger firms have a “[Firm Name] University” run by skilled professional-development experts who develop comprehensive substantive and practice-oriented training curricula. Most smaller firms don’t have this internal expertise.
Therefore, firm retreats or internal training programs can shape an entire firm’s marketing attitude all at once.
Done well, marketing training can be the platform to aggressively advance the Marketing Committee’s goals and motivate the lawyers to participate. For example, if a branding, positioning, or niche marketing program is on your mind, a law firm retreat’s program can lay the educational foundation for what’s to come.
One of our most-popular training programs is “How to draft an effective LinkedIn profile.”
That’s a nice lunch program that can boost your lawyers’ and firm’s SEO quickly, as well as improve everyone’s client development.
If you are developing a cross-selling, advertising, public relations, or technology program, some related training can plant the seeds in advance. And when you’re ready to roll it out, your attorneys will already have an underlying context for it. It greases the wheels.
So much of the marketing-related frustration inside of law firms is due to the partners’ lack of understanding regarding what marketing is, or can do for them. A dynamic marketing-training program can help a frustrated marketing committee, by educating the lawyers about the exciting possibilities available to them. Breaking this logjam often results in elevated respect for marketing and marketers, which helps them do their job better.
More tangibly, it can provide the fundamental marketing tools and techniques that can improve the lawyers’ individual performance. In addition to LinkedIn training, some of my favorites in this category are networking and working a room; social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and other tools; telling your story online; sales and listening skills; and niche marketing.
Practice development is not taught in most law schools; lawyers must learn this material elsewhere. And although a large-group format might not always be the best educational setting, lawyers are quite comfortable learning in big classrooms.
Consider your firm’s goals for the retreat or internal training program.
In a law firm or partner retreat, it’s important to keep everyone informed about what’s going on day-to-day at the firm. But at least an hour of every firm retreat day should be dedicated to marketing education. And providing some marketing training every quarter can keep your lawyers’ skills sharp. Conducted the right way, much of it can also receive Ethics CLE credit as well.
If the program is fun, interesting, and energizing, it can make your job much easier — a little high-level education spread over the entire firm can be quite invigorating.