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What we learnt at Law Firm Marketing Summit 2023

October 13, 2023

This week we hosted a legal directories and legal awards Q&A session at Law Firm Marketing Summit in London. The event was subtitled 'Agility in a Disrupted World' and its aim was to help legal marketing professionals to not only avoid and mitigate risks, but also to identify the opportunities within a sector and economy that are still going through a great deal of uncertainty.

Whilst there, we also networked with senior legal marketing professionals from around the world and attended some thought-provoking discussions about the future of legal marketing.

Key themes from our Q&A session

Our Q&A session was hosted by Jacob Aitken and Kate Ledigo, who were joined by Crystal Lo of Herbert Smith Freehills. All three have many years' experience of creating successful legal directories submissions. There were some excellent questions right from the start and we spoke with a number of attendees afterwards during the networking session that followed.

The main themes that were covered were:

  • You must have a clear plan for your submission and ideally a 3-5 year plan for what you want your firm and lawyers to be known for.
  • You should then select which lawyers and work highlights to include, based on which best support that plan.
  • Succession planning is important so it is sensible to include some unranked lawyers and you should also ensure that you include some matters and referees for those newer lawyers, to help them rank.
  • Reducing the number of referees and work highlights for ranked lawyers can free up more room to provide them for up and coming lawyers.
  • Referee response rate is a crucial part of your overall ranking, especially for Chambers & Partners, so effective outreach to remind referees to provide feedback is one of the most effective things you can do.
  • Confidential vs non-confidential work highlights - the panelists clarified that firms can submit all of their matters as confidential or as non-confidential. There is no need to provide ten of each. As long as you don't exceed the total number of matters (usually 20) the split of how many are confidential has no impact.

If you have any questions about the session, or about legal directories and awards generally, contact us to discuss your firm's requirements and we'll be happy to help.

Insights from the presentations and panel discussions

We thoroughly enjoyed the various discussions we attended, all of which fed back to the main theme of agility in a disruptive world. Here are just a few of our key takeaways from those sessions:

  • The importance of CRM - Winning clients can often take months or years in the legal sector. A clear CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategy is vital to ensure that you track prospects at every stage of the process and ensure that you don't miss out on opportunities. More importantly, a clear CRM strategy can help demonstrate to the rest of the business, the value that Marketing and BD are delivering, which isn't always obvious.
  • The growth of legal technology - Unsurprisingly, AI - which has even featured prominently in mainstream media - was a popular topic here. Most people think simply of generative AI, but in reality, the long-term potential for AI in the legal sector is much wider than that. Although generative AI has already caused some controversy in the sector, that too should not be ruled out. Generative AI should not be seen as the only solution, but in terms of creating ideas and structure for content, it has great potential. Legal marketers should keep an open mind and look to work with its capabilities rather than against them, to create content that is still original and thought-provoking.
  • The important role of thought leadership - Whilst all law firms will say they are good at what they do, thought leadership gives them the chance to really demonstrate their expertise instead of simply talking about it. Better still, it helps you stand out from the crowd and really single out your ideal clients. Law firms shouldn't simply gravitate towards short-form, simple content and should keep an open mind to media such as long-form video and podcasts.
  • The increasing focus on ESG - Whilst many law firms are involved in ESG as a practice area and giving advice to clients, far fewer have clear ESG policies of their own. ESG for law firms will become an increasingly important area of focus for many law firms. Failure to demonstrate their ESG credentials to both potential clients and employees could lead to missed opportunities in years to come.

As always, it was great to take a day out from the usual routine and think about the future of the legal profession and how firms of all sizes can adapt to it. We're very grateful to those who attended our Q&A session and the conference itself. It was a very well-organised event with very accomplished speakers who all contributed significantly to the conference's main theme.

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