Vital Marketing Skills for Law Graduates
For law students, the real challenge comes after they’ve passed out and ventured into the real world. Doing it big while carving out a particular niche in the legal profession requires not only a solid knowledge of the field of law, but also multiple skills and knowledge in marketing, analysis, business, etc. Whether it’s a budding corporate lawyer or a criminal lawyer, winning a case is not enough. They will quickly realize that it is essential to translate professional success into commercial success.
Often, as a practicing lawyer, skills in the classroom translate to some degree into the “real world” of practicing law. Opening a law firm and running it successfully will require new clients and improved business. In business terms, it sounds like apart from talent, lawyers have to market themselves or their brand to be successful in the field of law.
How Marketing Helps
Marketing is not just a necessary specialization for professionals in the business world; in fact, it teaches skills useful in any career. Transcending the business world, marketing skills are used in a variety of fields even outside of the traditional marketing world, including law.
What do lawyers gain from the study of marketing? Let’s take a look:
Marketing strategies help identify and improve customer base. To build a successful law firm, lawyers must first identify their clients. Who is an ideal customer? Is this a big liability/damages case, or a real estate foreclosure that brings in extra cash for writing the title, or even a high income divorce case? Although these are good customers, they are not ideal customers. An ideal client is one who brings in clients with such cases in the first place. Thus, marketing skills instill in individuals the ability to identify and understand customers while building successful relationships that help generate a steady stream of cases throughout a career.
Marketing a product or brand requires lawyers to convey their message to clients in a compelling way. Likewise, for a winning argument, attorneys must present the facts and data to the judge or jury in a way that captures their interest. Marketing teaches learners the valuable art of influencing decision-making, which is important when preparing and executing arguments before the judge and defense attorney.
Marketing teaches valuable skills in interpreting data that can be essential in case preparation. Additionally, companies often prefer to hire attorneys who have marketing and data analysis skills in addition to knowledge of the law. Having strong data interpretation skills can be used in a variety of situations that rely on customer feedback, data, or metrics to inform success. Therefore, the ability to read and understand data is integral to making strategic decisions, even in the legal profession.
Besides the number of winning cases, what also matters is how the lawyers position themselves or their brand in the real world. After or before every major case, lawyers often slip under the radar of the press, for a variety of reasons. An individual’s public image is influenced by their marketing skills and not just their wins or losses. For individuals, presenting themselves as a competent lawyer, regardless of the outcome of the case, is essential to being hired. The perception that lawyers create in front of the public greatly influences how potential clients view them.
There is an increase in the number of applicants to law school and such a growth in the number of lawyers means a healthier job market and ever-increasing competition. These are clear indicators of how important it is for lawyers to market themselves effectively. They must be able to stand out from the crowd. Marketing efforts help cultivate a professional image in the eyes of the public, including potential customers, while giving learners a competitive advantage over others.
As lawyers, it’s easy to get caught up in client service and forget about business development. Spending time on marketing strategies as well as case preparation can take lawyers or their law firm a long way! So, with a full legal education, talent, and essential marketing skills, they can aim to become the next rainmaker in the industry.
(The author is Principal, Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur)