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Marketing of Law Firms Requires Patience Because Results Are Not Immediate
If you, your practice group or your firm are ramping up a formalized marketing effort don’t expect to see significant results any time soon.
Be ready to wait anywhere from one year to 18 months for any new business development effort to start paying off. There are two reasons this is true. First, nearly every prospect you will convince to send you a future matter already has a lawyer or firm serving their needs. Your new client, before actually engaging you, likely will critically watch their existing lawyer or firm’s performance and billing on an existing matter, or the next matter they send out to their current counsel, before giving you or your firm a try. Second, while the new client may want you to represent them in their next transaction, or when their next dispute arises, that may not happen for many months.
The exception: an immediate or new need which the client doesn’t think current counsel can handle. The lag between selling your new client and actually getting substantive work from them is why firms and lawyers must commit both the time and the funding for an ongoing marketing program. That’s why you have to be consistent in your advertising, not just buy a few ads that run one month and are never seen again. It’s why you commit to a series of quarterly educational seminars, or to an ongoing stream of news alerts, and have an ongoing presence at and prominent participation in key community and trade groups.
Otherwise, your new client will forget your interest in representing them along with the reasons why you should before they have the opportunity to send you work. 
- Bob Weiss is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years.
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