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Role of Brochures in Attorney's Marketing Program

published February 01, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 14 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Brochures are powerful devices to summarize in writing and design an attorney or firm. But, to be effective, they must be viewed for what they are: a small piece of the attorney’s total marketing program. To write a brochure successfully, the attorney must undertake a comprehensive approach to production. A common flaw in most attorney brochures is their lack of focus and clarity of language to leave a strong impression in the minds of readers.

This article discusses

  • the role of brochures in the attorney's total marketing program.
  • how to resolve internal disagreements on the importance of brochures and how to get them produced.
  • the "internal" benefits of the brochure preparation process.
  • the seven steps to brochure production.
  • the four objectives that effective brochures can accomplish.

A brochure is not a goal by itself-it is a means to another end. Brochures usually strive to provide full and accurate information about an attorney or a firm, leading to opportunities for additional practice.

Brochures project an image, conveyed not only through design features but also through content, organization, and flow. They are powerful devices to tell the attorney's story, document achievements, and showcase capability. Brochures and other marketing tools such as seminars and newsletters do not alone sell a potential client on an attorney or firm. They are the kind of things that are important in their absence. They are a piece of a total program that helps develop new clients and generate more work from existing clients.

Value to Attorneys

Brochures have other useful purposes, not the least of which is internal. Many times, the process of writing the brochure has provided immeasurable benefits to individuals and groups of attorneys. It forces them to articulate their thoughts on their current and future practice of law.

As with other forms of promotion, brochures are of value for the client- focused attorney in reinforcement for existing clients, prompting the "That's my attorney" response. Brochures are useful in recruiting and in helping to develop the firm's identity. But if the process is not handled correctly, brochures can be costly to produce both in terms of attorney time and outside expense for writers, graphic designers, and printers.

Successful Approach

Here are the seven steps to preparing the text for an attorney brochure. Because of the unique needs of attorneys, this method works best:
  1. Decide that the objective of the brochure is clear. This is a decision of the managing partner or management committee.
  2. Decide the firm's self-perception. This information may already be available from earlier firm analyses. If not, it can be obtained through interviews of key partners, associates, and staff. Remember that all levels within the firm have a stake in the success of the brochure and other marketing activities.
  3. Decide the firm's desired image through interviews with managing partner and other key attorneys in leadership positions.
  4. Decide the firm's desired target audience and specific targets by name. Ensure that these targets mesh with individual practice area objectives.
  5. Interview the target audience to learn, not only of their legal and regulatory problems, but also of the concerns in their lives and business outside the legal arena. Questions should uncover legislative (both federal and state) actions that are real or pending.
  6. Present findings to the managing partner, then to the business development committee. From their responses, strategy recommendations can be developed that address client concerns in the brochure.
  7. Write the brochure text to address client needs, both current and future. Minimize attorney "I" or "we" usage and demonstrate focus on reader by using "you."

Text Writing Dilemma

A tough issue that brochure teams face is this: Does a brochure, created for business development and marketing, represent the firm as it is? Or does it represent the firm as it wants to be? Most firms use brochures for dual purposes-to describe the firm as it presently exists and to position the firm for other services as well. Of course no firm can misrepresent itself. Yet, for example, do a few real estate contract reviews qualify the firm to claim it offers land use planning services? Aggressive staff will assert that it does. Conservative partners will be uncomfortable, finding the statement of these services indefensible. Yet the firm wants more land use and real estate work. To list or not? Discussion on this issue will reach fundamental levels of vision, direction, and growth.

Once issues of substance are resolved, the actual copywriting and design are easy.

Single Purpose

The best brochures are those where everyone involved understands the brochure's single purpose, that is, the brochure does not try to do too much. In other words, a law firm brochure will generally have one of four purposes:
  1. To introduce the attorneys and their particular skills and areas of emphasis
  2. To identify the firm's services, providing sufficient detail so that new clients can fully understand the scope of the firm and existing clients can be "cross-sold" additional services
  3. To describe the special character of the firm
  4. To describe the benefits the law firm offers in a specific area of legal practice

It may be easy to say "My brochure does all these things." But there is an old axiom of advertising that says "Everything emphasized equals nothing emphasized." In other words, the narrower the purpose of the brochure, the more effective it will be.

Multi-purposes can sometimes be addressed by designing brochures in component parts. Various pieces can be assembled or arranged to meet several objectives. An example is a "basic" brochure with a pocket in which other information can be placed. The "basic" may fulfill the purpose of describing the scope of the firm's services, with pocket inserts that describe the firm's services in detail. Another insert may introduce the attorneys and their areas of emphasis.
As the brochure production process is underway, attorneys should frequently ask themselves: What is the purpose of this brochure? In doing so, they’ll stay narrowly focused and avoid the "everything emphasized equals nothing" flaw regularly seen in many brochures.

Responding To Client's Interests

The final word on brochures is this: Brochures and the information in them are of most value, according to survey results of recipients, if they highlight three things: (1) the specific area of expertise of the attorney(s), (2) the outcome of cases, and (3) the success rate with certain types of cases. Brochures are also most effective when accompanied by a capability statement that responds directly to that client's particular legal need.

It's hard to resist writing "everything to everyone" but the more care fully focused, rifle-shot versus shotgun approach to brochure writing is the better solution.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.

published February 01, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 14 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.