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4 Strategies for Marketing & Business Development Excellence in the Legal Industry: Insights from LMA ’24


The Legal Marketing Association’s 2024 “All In” conference, held this past week in picturesque San Diego, CA was an epicenter of insights, strategies, and networking opportunities for legal professionals. Attendees (that were able to ignore the many delights of San Diego for long enough to make the most of the show) had access to 3 days of rapid-fire learnings from industry leaders doling out real-world advice to help them stay ahead in an ever-evolving legal landscape. HIKE2, a Silver Sponsor of the show, has prepared the following summary of key points that were discussed during the event.

Key Point #1: Relationship Building is More Important Than Ever

In a profession where trust and collaboration are paramount, the art of relationship building was a recurring theme throughout the conference. Whether schmoozing at cocktail hours, meeting for dinner, or engaging in networking events, the power of fostering meaningful connections cannot be understated – both at industry trade shows like this and back in our day-to-day lives. 

By prioritizing authentic connections and mutual respect, professionals can pave the way for fruitful collaborations and business opportunities.

However, before making any requests or asks, it’s vital to lay the groundwork by establishing rapport to build trust for a successful long-term connection. “Give, give, and then ask” is a good rule of thumb when considering your deposits and withdrawals in the professional relationship bank. Your ‘gives’ (deposits) can consist of making a referral, inviting a contact to speak at your event, or just remembering the important dates or details of their lives. 

Key Point #2: Strategic Planning Forces Firm-Wide Alignment 

No journey is successful without a roadmap, and the same holds true for businesses in the legal realm.

A well-crafted strategic plan not only guides marketing and growth efforts but also ensures alignment with broader business objectives. Once an overarching plan is enacted, marketing, business development, and other teams can engage with their own strategic plans that align and support the business’.

If your firm is operating without a business plan, it’s time to gather your internal troops to begin having these critical conversations. Consider looping in professional advisors who can help make sure the right legal-business-specific plan is crafted based on your firm’s particular goals and nuances. 

Key Point # 3: Your Career is in Your Hands

The title and pervasive theme of being ‘all-in’ resonated throughout the conference, particularly in discussions on personal development. In her keynote address, titled “An Uncommon Story: How One Trailblazer Went All In,” Jamie Lawless, Chief Executive Elect at Husch Blackwell, underscored the significance of seizing growth opportunities to propel your career forward. “Stretch opportunities can significantly speed up the trajectory of your career,” she says. 

Also, recognizing the prevalent challenges of mental health and wellness in the legal profession, the prioritization of self-care amidst demanding workloads is imperative to keep yourself from burning out. 

Key Point #4 – The Future is Now AKA Embrace New Technology

Even though the legal industry may be a bit behind other quick-to-innovate industries, change is inevitable and imminent; whether your firm is prepared for it or not, the tide of transformation is coming.

Throughout the week, many of the conversations at our booth involved proactive legal marketers and business development professionals from mid-sized firms, often frustrated by executive resistance to chance.

While it’s understandable that some folks (especially those at the end of their careers) are not eager to make large changes, it’s important that they consider who is taking over the firm next. If you wait 3 years to start your innovation project, you’ll be that much farther behind the ball. 

In one key session by the stellar folks at AM LAW, Patrick Fuller, Chief Strategist, said: “Firms need first mover advantage or they’ll be forced to compete on price.” And that’s a game you don’t want to play, as key clients are not buying on cost. They are buying on outcomes, so your brand needs to stand for undeniable excellence.

Your law firm’s leading indicator should be QUALITY over COST, every time. This means adopting the right tech now. Modernizing, innovating, and bringing your firm swiftly into the modern era of legal. 

To do this, begin by taking a critical look at the tools you have in your tech stack now – how effective or well adopted are these tools? Is there overlap between tech?

It’s time to proactively cut what isn’t working for you, or take efforts to customize what is just mildly effective. Key advisors can help make this happen. Contact HIKE2 to start these discussions now.