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Marketing and legal firms

24/07/2013

Law firms have not traditionally been associated with large marketing departments; the Magic Circle companies have a worldwide reputation that speaks for itself, while smaller companies tend to specialise or attract consumers because of high success rates.

However, this is changing, and recent shifts in the legal industry suggest that it could be set to create a new swathe of marketing jobs over the coming months.

In a recent survey of 313 partners, finance and business development directors across The Lawyer's top 100 UK firms, reputation agency Eulogy found that 51 per cent of those in the 61-100 revenue bracket consider brand differentiation to be the biggest challenge facing them over the coming 12 months.

This was compared with an average of 41 per cent across the whole 100, suggesting that larger firms are more content with their position in the UK's mixed ecology of law firms.

Among the top ten companies, 60 per cent described pricing as their biggest challenge, lending further credence to this suggestion.

But for their more plebian counterparts, the emergence of alternative business structure (ABS) models allowing firms to move into the law market could pose a real problem. Big hitters such as Direct Line Insurance and Stobart have recently announced plans to set up ABS groups.

Advertising specialist Elliot Moss recently took on the role of director of business development at law firm Mishcon de Reya, despite having little experience of the legal industry.

"We're not - last time I looked - a car or a fashion brand, and this is not like buying a holiday from Club Med. Advertising is about speaking to your target audience," declared Mr Moss.

This attitude can assuage the more aristocratic feelings of lawyers while still delivering the marketing that firms are going to need; although they need to maintain their dignity and avoid populist advertising, engaging with potential customers remains crucial to their success.

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