Bellwether Report 2017 'The Art of Success': an overview
20th December 2017
With so much of the analysis of the UK legal market focused on the top 200 firms, it is great to see some research into the long tail of independent firms in the Lexis Nexis Bellwether Report 2017.
Based on a sample of 118 respondents, most of the firms surveyed are growing, 59 per cent compared with 48 per cent in 2016.
Entitled The Art of Success: why independent law firms are thriving, the report surveyed 118 lawyers in independent law firms, with the focus on the criteria for success.
The report highlights the importance of marketing for law firms: ‘Independent law firms live or die by the quality of their advice, and more are beginning to realise that they should celebrate and promote their expertise, rather than assume it is understood.’
Source: Bellwether Report 'The Art of Success', page 10
Key findings relating to marketing and business development include:
- when asked about their top priorities, only one fifth (20%) of respondents thought that being ‘well-positioned/having a competitive edge’ or ‘being well informed about clients’ business’ (19%) was important;
- this dropped to 14 per cent for ‘good marketing skills’ as a top priority. It is staggering to think that only one in five law firms consider the above three areas important to success;
- while 14 per cent listed marketing as a top priority, a further 46 per cent saw marketing as very important, with 25 per cent viewing it as quite important;
- the report finds that while small law firms are increasingly focused on quality and driving business success, they consistently underestimate the importance of marketing and hiring professionals with non-legal business skills; and
- in terms of what the participants viewed as top priorities for making a good lawyer, being good at marketing scored lowest with only eight per cent classing it as a top priority.
These figures suggest that lawyers still do not see marketing as an integral part of building closer relationships with clients. Page 10 of the report states that they ‘consistently underestimate the importance of marketing and the value that can be added to a business by bringing in dedicated professionals with non-legal business’.
The report concludes that these smaller, more market-focused law firms are on the rise. ‘Leading the change’ as the report describes it. However, what is clear is that there is still a disparity between where independent law firms are adding value and where they are investing.
Smaller firms do find it difficult to make time to do marketing, and as one respondent said: ‘marketing is an area that always suffers. It tends to be something people put on the back burner.’Back to Blog
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