Many of the most popular television shows of the past couple decades have focused on the lives and practices of attorneys. As those of us who are actually lawyers know, the day-to-day is rarely as glamorous or exciting as portrayed on TV, but the career is nonetheless rewarding and exciting. In my last post, I discussed why attorney marketing is changing. This time around, I will discuss why, despite being far from a good thing, it is still inevitable.
It is unfortunate that current changes in the legal services industry have reduced it to almost nothing more than a commodity. This isn’t to say that some legal practitioners are not better than the others, but picking out the good service providers from a sea of lawyers is now becoming very tricky. This is due to a lot of reasons that I would not dwell on for it would only be a waste of time. The real issue here is what it means for the legal practitioners.
Let’s start with an analogy. The biggest commodities in the world tend to be either fuels or foods. Present an array of oils and gas to customers and they will most likely be unable to tell the difference; try it with grain and corn and you’ll probably get the same result. The gas station where you would get your car filled would be one of the last things you’d consider. Admit it, you’d be thinking about how much you’d have to shell out for the gas instead. To the extent that law is becoming a commodity, this is the road that it will eventually head down.
When lawyers have become indistinguishable from one another, the clients would use the fees they charge as the deciding factor as to who to hire. This will result in lawyers pulling their rates down so the clients will choose them over the competition. Saying that differentiation will soon be erased from the face of legal marketing would be overstating it, but that seems to be the case now.
What can you do about this? You probably can’t do very much about the general trend, but you can start focusing more on your own law firm marketing as soon as possible. Apply the principles of marketing and differentiate your practice from others. If you have great testimonials from clients, then use them to tell other potential clients why you provide better services. If you’ve achieved better results, highlight why and how you were able to do so.
The most important thing, as most would probably agree on, is to get your name be more well-known. This could be done in many ways; it doesn’t matter if you use online advertising or print media, as long as you make sure the market hears about you. Markets and consumers often use names to distinguish one product or service from another. Marketing yourself as an attorney will only become more important as potential clients are less able to actually tell the difference between the legal services you offer versus the legal services offered by the attorney down the street.