Monday, August 31, 2009

A Brief History of Choosing a Lawyer

Marketing has certainly evolved in 59 years yet some things never change. Below is my take on the evolution of client development in that period of time.

1955
: Word of mouth, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with a business card. Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

1965: Word of mouth, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with a business card. More savvy lawyers would have a folder with recent cases and a biography. Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

1975: Word of mouth, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with a business card and a folder with recent cases, firm information, and a biography. More savvy firms would have bio's of other team members proposed in matter. Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

1985: Word of mouth, news generated by industry organizations, daily's and specialty publishers, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with a business card and a folder with recent cases, firm information, team biographies. More savvy firms were printing marketing materials in four-color. Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

1995: Word of mouth, news generated by industry organizations, daily's and specialty publishers, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with team of lawyers, business cards, four-color marketing materials including recent cases and firm capabilities, team biographies. More savvy firms were demonstrating nascent internet and electronic presence . Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

2005: Word of mouth, news generated by industry organizations, daily's and specialty publishers, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with team of lawyers, business cards, four-color marketing materials including recent cases and complete firm capabilities, team biographies. More savvy firms were offering electronic marketing materials, web site references and internet based client solutions plus references to internet based rating sites and public domain accolades. Potential client was completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

2009: Word of mouth, news generated by industry organizations, daily's and specialty publishers, personal introductions, reputation -- lawyer would show up for face-to-face meeting with team of lawyers, business cards, four-color marketing materials including recent cases and complete firm capabilities, team biographies, electronic marketing materials, web site references, internet based client solutions plus references to internet based rating sites and public domain accolades. Savvy firms are exposed through social net via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Potential client is completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction.

While we have found more ways to introduce ourselves to a potential client the one thing that does not change is: "Potential client is completely reliant on trusted personal relationships and chemistry of interaction."

No matter how incredible and savvy you are in all of the new choices for promoting yourself, ultimately you will only win new business by establishing a trusting relationship and working for strong chemistry with your potential client.

Any questions?