Thursday, March 17, 2011

Law Firm Strategic Planning

What is the best way to start the strategic planning process in a law firm that does not have a history of strong planning at either a centralized or practice area level?

This was the topic of a panel I moderated for a March 10, 2011 meeting of the Legal Marketing Association, South Florida City Group. Claudia Dobkin, Chief Marketing Officer of Akerman Senterfitt, and Maureen Berkowitz, Marketing Director for the Miami accounting firm Berkowitz Dick Pollack & Brant, were featured speakers.

Here are some highlights of the session from the speakers and audience members:
  • Strong communications among participants are essential for the firm undertaking a new planning initiative. Clearly define market forces that are driving the need for more formalized planning.
  • Involve participants early and often to gain buy-in.
  • Take advantage of market research data on the "legal spend," meaning how much corporations and other clients are spending on legal services. Sources include BTI, Zeughauser Group, ALM, and ohthers.  
  • Put your plan in writing, and "cascade" the goals from the practice level to the practitioner.
  • Monitor performance for best results. Monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings are recommended.
The role of the law firm Marketing Director is changing as firms become more proactive in the planning process, with business development techniques becoming particularly critical.

Here is a sample 2011 legal marketing plan that your firm may find to be helpful.