Law Office Management
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By Patricia Yevics
Director, Law Office Management
Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.

Planning is necessary regardless of the size of the firm

a. Planning is just as important for new practitioners as for experienced practitioners
b. Planning can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish to make it

Planning must be in writing.
If it is not in writing, it is just wishful thinking. The written plan can be as simple as a marketing to-do list which you have with you or in front of you at all times.

It must have specific goals, such as "I am going to take one referral source to lunch every two weeks". You must know what you hope to accomplish.

The plan can be a document that is the result of working with a consultant working on your own.

Regardless of how it is written or who is involved in the process, the plan must be easy to follow and monitor.

The plan must be fluid and reviewed continuously. This reviewing process can mean different things to different firms. Review you"plan" quarterly to make certain you are on target. Do not become discouraged if you have not completed every task.

Do not make the goals too difficult to achieve. It is not realistic to think that you are going to talk with 10 prospects a week.

You need to monitor your tasks on a regular basis.

Even if you choose to work with a marketing consultant or agency, you need to be able to answer the questions listed.

A Marketing plan should include some of the following questions:

  • What type of practice or what type of firm do we have now?
    • What services do we offer?
    • What types of clients do we have? You might consider putting them into categories by size, geographic location, type of matter, profitability.
    • Which of our current clients offer the greatest potential for growth?
    • What type of employees do we have? Do they have the same enthusiasm for client service as you do?

(Every person who works for you should be able to answer these questions.)

  • How are we currently viewed in the marketplace?
  • Who is your competition?
  • How do you currently get clients?
    • Which clients refer you business? If you have clients who never refer you business, what is the reason?
    • What are your other business referrals?
    • Have you referred to business to other professionals who have never referred you business? If yes, why?
  • Why do clients choose you over other attorneys?
  • Why do clients not choose you over other attorneys and why do clients leave?
  • What type of firm do you want to be?
    • Do you wish to explore new areas of the law to practice? If yes, what will you need to do to develop a new area?
  • Do you wish to more into other geographical locations?  Do you wish to attract a different type of client? What type of client do you wish to attract?
    • Be very specific. Clients who pay is not specific enough.
    • Make a list of clients you would realistically like to have. Find out how to get in front of them.
  • What specific activities are you going to do to make the plan work.

    Such as:

    • have lunch with two referral sources a week
    • contact two clients who you have not spoken to in the past two months
    • write an article each quarter and get it printed in a newsletter or journal
    • communicate with all clients quarterly
  • How will you monitor your progress?

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