What Law Firm Marketing Leaders Are Excited About In 2024

Feb 27, 2024

It’s a brand new year, and by now, leading law firms are implementing their shiny new strategic marketing plans. I wanted to learn about the shiniest of those plans – so I chatted with six law firm marketing leaders to hear about the most exciting law firm initiatives they’re bringing to life this year for their respective firms. 

It’s inspiring to hear about initiatives that involve elevating the client experience, evolving the marketing and business development department, or including everyone in the firm in the strategic planning process in a meaningful way. I hope sharing what I learned will be as inspiring to you.

Here’s what’s exciting law firm marketing leaders in 2024.

This Year’s Top Theme – Elevating the Client Experience

Elevating the client experience is at the top of many law firm marketers’ lists for this year – half my interviewees mentioned it. And, many firms are focusing on building the voice of the client into law firm marketing initiatives from start to finish.

Christa Crane, Chief Client & Strategy Officer for Loeb & Loeb, highlighted the need to include the voice of the client from the beginning. “During our firms’ broader strategic planning exercise in 2024, we’ll be ensuring that our clients’ voices are front and center throughout this process.” 

Including the voice of the client from the beginning is a great approach. As someone who has worked with many firms to create strategic plans, I can vouch for the effectiveness of including the client from the very beginning and keeping them front and center throughout the process – instead of grafting their voice onto a process that’s already started. 

Of course, focusing on the voice of the client means knowing what your clients are thinking and saying. I’m glad to report that law firm marketers are moving beyond a once-a-year client survey to find creative ways to solicit continuous feedback informally and formally. Erin Baxendale, Director of Business Development and Marketing, Clients and Industries for Sidley, talked about the many creative ways that a leading law firm can obtain feedback from their clients and build fruitful, long-term client relationships based on what they’ve learned.

“We all have a role to play in how we provide service excellence. When we listen, then act on what our clients need, expect, and want from us – we co-create innovative and responsive solutions and develop deeper relationships over the long term. Those solutions may include formal and informal client feedback through interviews, surveys, and post-matter check-ups, social media and digital interactions, or even the billing system we use.”

Some firms are also working to connect meaningfully with clients in-person in the way we did before COVID shook up our usual communication paths. Amy Nielson, Chief Marketing Officer at Skarzynski Marick & Black, noted the continuing importance of re-establishing meaningful in-person connections with clients. “Throughout last year, we launched several projects and initiatives aimed at re-establishing meaningful connections with our clients after the challenges of COVID-19, and I’m excited to further elevate those in 2024. Our endeavors span from fostering genuine in-person client interactions to developing impactful thought leadership and educational programs.”

Evolve Your Marketing and Business Development Department

While elevating the client experience is a key theme for half of the firms we spoke with, others are focused on modernizing their firm’s marketing department in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

One approach to this is taking a closer look at the way a firm’s marketing and business development department operates to ensure that the current model clearly aligns with their strategic priorities. 

One firm’s MBD department is now evolving from an order-taker concierge model into a more collaborative strategic partnership with the firm’s lawyers in order to keep the firm competitive in a challenging environment.

“We are recasting job descriptions to meet the current business environment’s demands, defining team accountabilities, and setting/measuring KPIs and ROI,” said Jennifer Manton, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. “The MBD team needs to be optimized and leading in order for the firm to remain competitive, in addition to earning more market and client share.”

Some additional ways that the MBD team can become truly integrated with their firm’s lawyers include attending industry conferences together, getting face time with clients, or becoming a trusted advisor on client retention and relationships, industry marketing and BD. But this kind of sea change requires firm alignment on strategic goals in order to make it work.

Effective Strategic Planning For Everyone

Of course, any initiative requires strategic planning – so some law firms are going all in on strategic plans that not only address the firm’s marketing goals, but include marketing plans for individual lawyers.

Jennifer Papantonio, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer of Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse & Hirschtritt talked about her firm’s success with their strategic planning process, which started in 2023. She emphasized that their strategic plan also included individual lawyer plans, and resulted in significant behavioral change on the part of everyone involved.

“We remain most excited about our three-year Strategic Growth Plan, which features straightforward, yet robust goals and initiatives – and includes a role for everyone at the firm. Our successful first year included a significant amount of behavior change on the part of our attorneys, senior leadership, and staff. Each partner, practice, and the firm are aligned and equipped with plans and the support necessary to have an outstanding year.”

As someone who specializes in strategic planning, it’s music to my ears to hear the words “behavioral change” and “three-year strategic growth plan” in the same sentence! 

A Strategic Plan is An Umbrella For Your Brainstorm

There are a lot of ways to refine a law firm’s marketing. You may be working on some of the same goals as my interviewees, or you may be excited about some initiatives of your own. But while every firm is different, and requires different marketing tactics to move forward – the first step is to ALWAYS build a plan that gets your firm strategically aligned. 

Strategic planning is something that excites me every year. I look forward to creating interactive and fun planning sessions with your internal team that don’t put people to sleep, helping you to take action on the tasks that might seem impossible at first. We’ll create a plan and put it in place so that these tasks are actually manageable. 

A strategic planning session can be the umbrella for your brainstorm. We’ll look at which marketing pieces you already have and which crucial pieces are missing. Let’s create a modernized marketing plan that works for your firm.