Creating a Unified Law Firm Vision- Is it worth the effort?

Last week I received a question from a mid size law firm with 65 partners that I felt may be a familiar question for executive directors, managing partners and law firm CEO’s. The question was:

“The partners have a common mission, but not much of a unified vision for the future or a clear sense of what we value. Do you have suggestions?

Upon further investigation I learned about the firm’s situation and source for concern regarding the lack of a shared vision.

The firm was experiencing significant growth and acquiring smaller firms in the same area of law. Although the acquisitions were profitable, the lack of cohesion among the partners was causing internal conflict, delaying important decisions and limiting the firm’s growth opportunities.

Without a common goal for where the firm was headed, it was difficult to bridge the gap between differing opinions on where the firm should devote valuable and limited resources.

Creating a shared vision for law firm’s often falls on the back burner and is not viewed as a top priority, especially when resources and time are in limited supply. However, lack of alignment around a shared vision is at the root of reduced productivity, decreased profitability and diminishes the opportunity for attracting top talent.

The following are strategies for creating a shared vision:

  • Schedule a law firm retreat. Require all equity partners to attend.
  • Prepare in advance for the retreat. Clarify the retreat purpose and most important goals.
  • Assign homework prior to the retreat to identify the firms critical issues and commonalities. 
  • Create a safe environment for unfiltered dialogue in the retreat.
  • Follow up on the goals and initiatives defined in the retreat.
  • Educate all employees on the firms shared vision and their role in achieving success.

My recommendation is to take a step back from the day to day demands of urgent/important activities and ask yourself the following questions:

  • When was the last time your partners came together to dialogue about your shared vision for the firm’s future?
  • How is your internal structure aligned to support your most important goals? What does success look like?
  • How are you leveraging your firm’s vision to attract top talent and to differentiate your law firm in a competitive legal market?

Let me know if spending the time creating a shared vision is considered a valuable use of time. If so, what are the challenges your firm is confronted with to create a shared law firm vision?

Maximize Your Law Firm Marketing ROI

144Many lawyers are frustrated with law firm marketing activities. Often I hear lawyers complain about the time and cost of marketing and the uncertainty on the return on investment (ROI) for these activities. So where do you start AND what activities will afford you the highest return on the time and money you invest in law firm marketing?

The following are four strategies designed to give you direction when deciding “where to start” and how to maximize your marketing ROI.

1.       Before embarking on any marketing activities, define your goal- what do you want to achieve? Clarify how the activity is in alignment with advancing your firm in the right direction (firm’s vision). This will require time, however, the effort you put into this step will be repaid later.

2.       Whenever possible, never do a marketing activity in isolation, i.e. a onetime advertisement in a publication or magazine. Instead focus on an integrated plan that leverages your effort, i.e. article and repeat advertisements in a publication intended to target your ideal market.

3.       Always maximize the effort you invest in marketing activities. Consistently repurpose your marketing activities, including the article you wrote or the speech you gave. Your article can be repurposed into a blog post or an article for your firm newsletter or local community magazine. Your speech or seminar can be given to multiple markets. Reinforce your brand by writing quality content describing your firm’s unique differentiator on your web site home page. Repeat this message on all your press releases, announcements and social media biographies.

4.       Effectively utilize social media to create a viral buzz about your area of expertise. Listen to the conversation going on in your LinkedIn groups, twitter followers and industry blogs. Make a contribution to the conversation by commenting on a topic and adding a link to your blog post or article. Write about the solutions for the most relevant problems your social media groups talk about.

In summary, to maximize the effort you put towards marketing, always start with a plan that answers the question… what is our goal and how will this activity advance our firm in the direction we want to go?

Marketing with a purpose will help you to focus your marketing activities and maximize your marketing investment.

For more information on how to maximize your marketing efforts, email me at eferris@ferrisconsult.com