Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications
A Client-Driven, Innovative Outlook for 2012
By Michael Bond, Blattel Communications
The Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter kicked off its 2012 educational series with its annual “State of the Industry” program on January 24. The program featured attorneys Amanda L. Groves, Richard C. Hsu and Tower C. Snow, Jr. in a panel moderated by business development consultant Michael Colacchio.
Panelists discussed a wide-range of issues including an assessment of today’s vastly changed legal landscape.
Snow, a partner at Cooley LLP, noted that clients have the leverage in relationships with law firms given firms have gone from pre-recession over-capacity to running lean and increasingly competing for every dollar and responding to every RFP. Snow posited that firms would be wise to look to innovative client companies, such as Apple, in reinventing themselves, redefining the market and finding new paths. Snow noted that in a hyper-competitive marketplace, the key for law firms is differentiation.
In keeping with a client-driven theme, Grove, a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, stressed that consistent contact with clients is critical. For her, such follow up has literally become part of her routine, all with the aim of creating meaningful, lasting business relationships and often friendships in the process. “Cost has forced us to become more aware of differences,” she notes. She also stressed creating a level of trust such that clients integrate her and the firm into their business decisions.
For Hsu, a partner at King & Spalding, innovation is the key. Hsu created a popular blog, “One Page Blog,” which summarizes technology issues in no more than a single page and employs engaging graphics (penned by his daughter) in quick videos. All are distributed via his personal “HsuTube” brand. Hsu, as a lawyer with tech clients, realized that such a venue would resonate with his targets and created a fresh approach to legal blogs, while also learning the tools involved on an intimate level. For marketers, Hsu stressed the value of fostering an “enterprise tool” environment where do-it-yourselfer attorneys are able to take products and technologies and run with them – this, of course, runs counter to many firms’ historic hesitancy to deviate from the host of approved tools currently in use.
Marketers and business development professionals were treated to a peek into the minds of three powerful attorneys who actively market and work to innovate within their firm cultures. Their successes, their failures and their instincts on the future of the industry were on full display.
Michael Bond is the vice-chair of the Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter Program Committee and an account executive at Blattel Communications. He can be reached at email@example.com.