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Law Firms Boosting Investment in Marketing, Survey Finds

April 12, 2016, 3:55 PM

In response to fierce competition for increasingly demanding clients, 56 percent of attorneys and marketing professionals expect their law firms to boost investment in marketing over the next two years, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

More than two-thirds of respondents also said their firms are placing a greater emphasis on marketing, while only six percent felt this wasn’t true.

The survey, a joint effort of Bloomberg Law and the Legal Marketing Association, lists three other major findings: the roles of marketing staff are becoming more strategic in nature, attorneys and marketers report having positive relationships with one another, and business development technology is being underutilized.

Bloomberg Law, a legal and business intelligence tool, is owned by Bloomberg BNA. BNA is also the publisher of Big Law Business.

[caption id="attachment_11796" align="alignright” width="300"][Image “Courtesy of Bloomberg Law” (src=]Courtesy of Bloomberg Law[/caption]

“I think the big takeaway from the survey is a combination of the fact that marketing and business development professionals are doing more strategic activities, in terms of competitive intelligence, for example, but that’s not necessarily being translated to what attorneys are relying on them for,” said Nancy Furman Paul, Commercial Product Manager at Bloomberg Law.

The survey reveals that although 88 percent of respondents reported positive relationships, marketing and business development professionals also said they wanted more “buy-in” and “responsiveness” from attorneys, with 40 percent finding that “at least somewhat difficult to achieve.”

Furman Paul explained that even though marketing and business development staff have become more strategy-oriented, they still feel, in many cases, their abilities are being underutilized: “I’ll hear from professionals, ‘I’m so busy dealing with sort of rote questions from attorneys that I don’t have as much time to showcase the more strategic things that I do,’” she said.

Stephanie Kusibab, Marketing & Communications Director for the Legal Marketing Association, said perception is catching up with reality: “The legal marketing profession is only about 30 years old. When the profession first started, it was very much about communications. As the profession has matured and the industry has changed, the marketer’s business perspective has started to become more important in legal profession.”

[Image “Courtesy of Bloomberg Law” (src=]Kusibab added, “There are a lot of changes that are happening in the legal profession itself. It’s turning from a profession into an industry — being successful requires more of a business orientation than in the past. Those are the skills marketers bring.”

The survey is based on responses to an online survey from 172 marketing and business development professionals and 114 attorneys, 89 percent of whom were partners, working in law firms across the country.

According to Furman Paul, firm sizes were evenly distributed among respondents: roughly 28 percent of respondents worked at firms with less than 100 attorneys, 48 percent worked at firms with between 100 and 499 lawyers, and 24 percent worked at firms with 500 or more.

The report also looked at what factors were driving the increased emphasis on marketing and business development: internal pressure to produce revenue, clients reducing the number of firms they work with, and pressure from other law firms using marketing effectively were the top three responses.

The report also found that, overall, law firms increased the number of full-time employees working in business development and marketing in the last two years, with large law firms (200+ attorneys) doing the most hiring.

Respondents also said technology is being underutilized: 96 percent of law firms report either having or desiring client relationship management software, but only 48 percent of marketers and 61 percent of business development professionals report using it.