Friday, February 03, 2006

A Firm Within a Firm

After all of the extra attention my firm is getting these last several weeks (related to its centennial) it is no surprise our heritage of public law is receiving so much attention (much to the delight of our current, non-public law competitors). In the 100 years of the firm the first sixty years where dominated by representing an evolving metropolis; That meant representing the people involved in creating an urban infrastructure.... Cities, landowners, utilities.

Now the firm's practice areas are as broadly diverse as the business demographic of the region. And we still have this great public law section; Which is a firm within a firm. This is a new experience for me and I am relishing the challenge.

City law, city planning, water rights, education, civil and citizen interest, election law, disaster planning and reaction... It goes on and on. The knowledge is specialized, the decision makers are varied, the sector is similar. Virtually all buyers of legal services in this sector are not connected in any way to any buying group for the rest of my firm.

AND, it would seem, the methods of winning the business in this sector, and the methods of creating relationships and loyalty is quite different from the private sector. Marketing has a different face....

In order to win business in the public law sector some firms set aside marketing dollars to make contributions to election funds (a practice my firm specifically prohibits). Winning business, apparently, is not always about personal relationships; But about helping someone win votes.

Sooooo... I have this firm within my firm. I anticipate that I am about to run up a very sharp learning curve. If you are a marketer of a public law firm I would definitely appreciate any wisdom you might like to share.