Saturday, March 11, 2006

Legal Marketing in its Teen Years

The last time I attended the Legal Marketing Association’s annual gathering it was 1999. Seven years has transformed this part of the legal industry. It’s not unlike watching a child grow from an awkward and uncertain pre-teen to the assured and optimistic young adult ready to get out and make a difference. What has changed for legal marketers is, well… just about everything.
  • Legal marketing has become a profession, not just a position. In ’99 the typical marketer at a law firm was pulled over from administrative staff; Today career marketing professionals are being recruited from other industries and other firms.
  • Legal marketers have their own voice. In ’99 the majority of ideas and strategic thinking came from attorneys and marketers were expected to accomplish support tasks. Today marketers are creating ideas and are offered the room and resources to deploy them.
  • The number of service providers to legal marketers has increased significantly. The greater the competition the higher the quality of original thinking.
  • Marketers speak of the attorneys as peers. This feeling of equal footing as respected professionals might be the grain of sand that tipped things in this wonderful new direction.
One other thing that is different, then to now; And that is the session topics. In ’99 the sessions were about PowerPoint tricks, event planning, survey administration, and other related task oriented topics. This year the sessions included client team building, change management, CRM case studies, and partner mentoring.

In ’99 a few hundred made the trek to attend. This year over 1000 professionals filled the conference center. This is really getting interesting; The future’s so bright I ‘gotta wear shades.