3 stats that should scare the Hell out of law firm BD teams

Citing various industry reports, including both the American Bar Association’s 2022 Tech Report and Clio’s Legal Trends Report, Annette Choti has come up with a list of ‘Five unbelievable law firm marketing statistics that may completely change the way you see legal marketing and how you reach prospective clients‘ over at Attorney at Work.

Annette’s article is a really good read, but 3 of the 5 stats she calls out in her article should have all law firm BD professionals saying: “What the…” and these are:

  • 43% of Law Firms Do Not Have an Annual Marketing Budget
  • 68% of Clients First Contact a Lawyer or Law Firm via Phone
  • Only 53% of Lawyers Say They Are Confident in Running the Business Side of Their Firm

While 1 and 3 above have me scratching my head, 2 made me laugh – invest as much as you want in law firm technology and sales/BD methodology; but make damn sure your reception desk knows who does what!!

If this all sounds too close to home to be true, feel free to drop me a line to talk through how we can fix this up.


If you do nothing else today, read this Report.

Because this is so wrong on so may levels and it needs to be fixed – now!

“Lawyers who were highly “overcommitted” to their work—characterized by researchers as an all-encompassing level of devotion, a sentiment reflected in recent American Lawyer surveys of partners and associates—were more than twice as likely to consider suicide than those who maintained boundaries with their work.”Lawyers who were highly “overcommitted” to their work—characterized by researchers as an all-encompassing level of devotion, a sentiment reflected in recent American Lawyer surveys of partners and associates—were more than twice as likely to consider suicide than those who maintained boundaries with their work.”

Lawyers Who Are Highly Stressed Are 22 Times More Likely To Consider Suicide‘ by Staci Zaretsky on Above The Law

Make sure you learn to maintain boundaries at work everyone!

As usual comments are my own.


Photo credit Stormseeker on Unsplash.


Two articles with vastly different headlines:

As Law Firms Push Aggressive Rate Increases, Clients Have Room to Negotiate‘ by Andrew Maloney in the American Lawyer, and

Almost half of US lawyers see no rate increases in 2022, Wolters Kluwer report shows‘ by Ben Edwards* in The Global Legal Post

In the first article:

the mean rate increase across law firm segments last year was around 5.6%.

In the second article:

Some 27% of law firm timekeepers saw no increase, while 13% saw average rates go down

So what’s the problem?

Well here it is: both articles are written from the same underlying source material – the recently published Wolters Kluwer’s LegalVIEW Insights report.

As usual comments are my own.


  • disclosure: I know Ben Edwards and he is a fine journalist (which is not to say that Andrew Maloney isn’t, just that I don’t know Andrew).

Before taking on that student debt – look at the number of lawyers!

It has probably been the case for years, but I was really interested to read this article by Emily Hinkley in Legal Cheek: ‘Twice as many women as men apply to study law‘.

What interested me though wasn’t the fact that more women than men are applying to study law – that should be a given when you take on board that there are now more women than men in the profession (just don’t look at the ratio of male to female equity partners), but rather the overall numbers.

According to Hinkley’s article, which draws on third-party data provided by criminal defence firm Lawtons, 155,440 students applied to study law last year – of which 103,575 were female and 51,865 were male.

Leaving aside, for a second, that these numbers are students applying to study law rather than actually studying law, let’s put some perspective on this:

  • 155,440 students applied to study law last year (1 year window), for a profession where
  • the total number of solicitors on the role was 220,455 – of which only 157,437 were designated as “practising”.

My Take: We have reached parity here where there are an equal number of people applying to study law each year as there are actual lawyers on the role.

So if you are someone looking to study law in the next few years, can I advise that you take a step back and think this through:

  • We have 4 generations currently practising law – which comes with it’s own issues – and yet there are [very soon] going to be more people applying to study law than there are jobs.

Do you really want to incur that student debt?

As usual comments are my own.


Photo credit goes to Dillon Kydd on Unsplash

Financial Times 2023 Thought Leadership trends

The Financial Times has just published its list of ‘10 thought leadership predictions for 2023‘.

While it’s a very interesting read, #1 on the list should grab the attention of all law firm Marketing and Business Development people:

1. Marketing will need to prove that it is not a discretionary spend

In 2023, budgets will be tightly managed, and all marketing investments will be scrutinised. Any programme that looks like a nice-to-have will be vulnerable to budget cuts.

This will not be an obstacle for marketers who can articulate a clear business case for their campaigns and present a rigorous strategy that optimises the commercial ROI from each investment.

The most effective marketers will also be able to demonstrate how thought leadership can be activated in ways that drive revenue growth in a tough market. This is likely to include showing how ideas and insight can build the sales pipeline and drive engagement right through the sales funnel.

My take: this approach will not be limited to Thought Leadership but to all marketing and business development activities over the next 12 to 18 months.

Indeed, many of us could argue we have lived with this approach since 2008!

Other than #1 on the list, the other big take-out I took from the FT’s list was #8:

8. User experience will be the decider of thought leadership success

User experience has always been crucial to good engagement, but for too long B2B companies have got away with underplaying it. Now, the expectations of audiences are increasing. They will no longer distinguish between B2C and B2B content and will expect the experience of consuming content to be the same for both.

For marketers, this means making it easier for audiences to access the right content at the right time and in the right place, and giving them flexibility and choice throughout. Poor user experiences, such as cumbersome lead-capture forms and fragmented content journeys, will turn audiences away and do more harm than good.

Amen to that one!

If you can make the time to read the list, make sure you get to #10 🙂

As usual comments are my own.


Want a bonus? Make sure to be in the office…

After a few weeks away on holiday (as is the custom here in Australia in January), I return to posting with a link to an interesting post on the Bloomberg Law Blog on the issue of associate bonuses.

While Sidley Austin is picked out in this article ‘Sidley to Associates: Skipping Office Will Cost You Bonus Money‘ the issue of how we entice lawyers and allied professionals back into the office in 2023 is going to be a major headache for many a firm around the world – including here in Australia.

That said, telling a junior attorney that could possibly be entitled to a bonus of somewhere between US$20,000 and US$150,000 that their bonus will be deducted based on the number of days they go into this office is a little short-sighted in my view (or are we now past the Quiet Quitting phase?).

Yes being present in the moment has it place. But that is not the same as presentism.

And let’s call it; if you are truly adding value to the client experience, probably the last place you are doing that from is the office.

As usual comments are my own.


Photo credit Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Do you print in black and white or colour?

Compared to the amount of printing I was doing pre-COVID, I very rarely print these days. But, on the rare occasion when I do print, I try to make sure this is in black and white unless there is a graph that cannot be understood unless it has been printing in colour.

It would be well within your rights to be wondering right now: “Why I’m going on about this?”. Well, here’s the answer:

– a study funded by the European Commission Low Carbon initiative and the Liverpool City Region –carried out by the Eco-I North-West project based at Liverpool John Moores University, working with local e-signature company E-Sign: ‘The financial and environmental effects of digitalising paper documents in the legal sector

found that:

Medium-sized law firms could save around £400,000 every year and reduce carbon emissions by digitising paperwork, research has estimated.

Wow, almost half a million pounds a year – and that’s at ‘medium-sized’ law firms (having between 200-250 employees and handling 18,000 documents a year).

But, and this is the part that got me:

More than half the total, £210,000, could be saved by no longer printing colour pages. Together, medium-sized firms could save £336m each year.

Holy cow, medium-sized law firms in the UK could save 336 million pounds a year merely by not printing in colour!

So what does that tell us as we march right into a financially restrictive 2023?

Basically, don’t expect or ask for printed material from your law firm any longer. If you want glossy broachers, get them sent to you electronically and share them internally via email.

And if you do insist on printed marketing material from your law firm, expect to be getting this in black and white or with very limited colour pages!

As usual comments are my own. And I hope everyone has a great 2023!


Pareto optimality??

Pretty much everyone involved in legal business development/marketing should have heard of the ‘Pareto principle‘; where, allegedly (because I have some thoughts on this): 80% of your revenue comes from your top 20 clients.

But, have you ever heard of the ‘Pareto optimality‘?

Because, until I read this Seth Godin post I had not.

Which leads to the point of this post – there is something in Seth’s post for law firm leaders who think that lawyers can do it all to really think about:

If someone over there can do their particular work efficiently, and you can trade your particular work to them, everyone comes out ahead.

So, hint if you are a lawyer and:

cannot write a tender, blog post, social media update, newsletter, manage an event, know how to hire employees, etc, etc. – but are a great lawyer,

do what you are good at (lawyering) and hire other professionals (let’s call them ‘Allied Professionals’ in 2023) to take care of this ‘mundane stuff’ for you!

As usual, comments are my own.