Want Answers? Check the LawMarketing Discussion List

You ve accepted the task of marketing your law firm. At the end of a day of brainstorming, you ve outlined a rainmaking plan that already includes excellent ideas, itemized in detail. But as you ponder them, small questions stir a growing paranoia. Now you re thinking you may be the wrong person for this assignment.

For example:

  • Should you charge an admission fee for the seminar you re putting on for your clients? What do other law firms do?
  • What s the best way to compensate a lawyer for originating new business?
  • Where can you get free clip art or royalty-free photos to use on your firm s Web site?
  • Would it be a good idea to distribute the firm s annual report to potential clients?
  • Who has the answers to these questions?

It s at this point that smart lawyers activate their e-mail programs, type the questions in a short message and send it off to a group of approximately 800 marketing experts worldwide. Within minutes, answers start popping into the inbox. Veteran marketers from everywhere are sharing their personal experiences freely.

It s true. You can find answers to these and just about any other law firm marketing question through the LawMarketing discussion list. Also known as the LawMarket listserv, this e-mail discussion group has a star-studded membership roster, including many well-known speakers at national marketing conferences, marketing directors of law firms large and small, and authors writing for national publications.

How It Works

The discussion list has operated continuously for three years. It s designed for lawyers, in-house law firm marketing directors and outside law firm marketing consultants.

Members compare notes so they can be more effective in promoting law firms. "The truth is out there," as they say and this discussion list is where you ll find it.

The list works when a member addresses an e-mail memo to the central computer, which then distributes the message to all 800 members. Members get 25 40 e-mail messages a day. For those who can t handle that volume of e-mail, a digest of messages is sent out once daily.

How to Join

All you need to do is go to www.lfmi.com/ on the Web and click the "Join Now" button.

One of the members favorite features is a searchable archive of past discussions and messages. This is handy when a lawyer wants to look up past discussions of recurring topics. Members can type search terms like "marketing database," or "client survey" and see what the list s brightest minds had to say.

At the member services section of the site, members can choose to receive individual messages or daily transcripts of messages. They can suspend their messages while they re out of the office.

And the price is right: totally free. There is no charge to become a member, make friends online, harvest valuable information and spout off about marketing.

These features are available thanks to the sponsors of the discussion list. Their banners appear on the Web site and link to their own sites. The sponsors also are credited in the footer of each message.

The discussion list is not affiliated with the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), although its activities are posted freely in messages. (A happy phenomenon is that once a year at the LMA annual conference, list members who have corresponded for months get to "meet 3D.")

The rules of the list are enforced carefully. Every message posted to the discussion group is confidential. Self-promotion by vendors and consultants is strictly verboten. When job openings are posted, the listing must include the salary range. "Lurking" is strongly discouraged. New members are required to introduce themselves and ask a question.

Nevertheless, the list retains a freewheeling, lighthearted spirit that attracts many people. If you have questions about law firm marketing, you re invited to join and discover for yourself what it s all about.

Larry Bodine, a Chicago lawyer and marketer, is the founding administrator of the LawMarketing discussion list. He can be reached at Lbodine@aol.com

Copyright ) 1999 The American Bar Association. All rights reserved.

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