I Didn't Go to Law School to Become a Salesperson — The Development of Marketing in Law Firms

36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2014  

Silvia Hodges Silverstein

Columbia Law School

Date Written: October 21, 2013

Abstract

The legal profession has undergone greater transformations during the past few decades than in the last few centuries. Deregulation and liberalization, increasing consumer expectations, new information technology, and a growing global marketplace have resulted in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Services that were once considered highly specialized are treated today more and more like commodities. Most lawyers no longer have the luxury of waiting for business to come to them. “Technical” competence alone does not guarantee success in winning new business or keeping existing clients.

There is general recognition in business and business school academia that marketing answers such challenges and that marketing is not only highly recommended, but necessary to ensure an organization’s long-term survival. Marketing is important since organizations need to be aware of their competition and aim to satisfy their customers in order to be successful. This is particularly true for service industries since service providers interact directly with their customers. While the rationale for marketing might be unquestionable, numerous studies and articles stress that law firms often resist the diffusion of the marketing concept.

This paper examines the underlying reasons for the advent of marketing among law firms. Both barriers and drivers are explored to understand why an industry like the legal profession starts to embrace marketing. While barriers to a market orientation are somewhat poorly understood, the development of marketing is explained with macro-environmental factors — political, economic, technological, societal — and the underlying implications of micro-environmental factors — the legal profession, law firms, and individual fee earners.

Keywords: Law Firms, Management, Strategy, Marketing

Suggested Citation

Silverstein, Silvia Hodges, I Didn't Go to Law School to Become a Salesperson — The Development of Marketing in Law Firms (October 21, 2013). Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 26, No. 2, p. 225, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343341

Silvia Hodges Silverstein (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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