Law firms often struggle with how best to promote themselves to attract new clients – when the key to doing this is often staring them in the face. A lot of money can be spent on advertising – but what does it actually get you? Short lived profile, generally low impact and a poor return on investment even if you commit to a long term and expensive advertising campaign.
But if your firm provides consumer facing services such as Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence, Family and Employment advice then, assuming you’re effective and have happy clients, the key to attracting more business is your clients’ cases – and what you achieve for them.
By publicising casework in the media – obviously with client consent (itself only given if you’re doing a great job) – you can create a magnetic effect which attracts new enquiries. Additionally, by adopting a sustained approach to raising your media profile – at the local and national level – you also build greater credibility in the eyes of your opponents in cases.
Looking at how media profile can attract additional casework, the simple fact is that consumer cases are of interest to the media for a simple reason – they are about people and difficult situations, the stuff that newspapers devour on a daily basis.
One firm that does this very well is Essex based BTMK, a firm that provides a range of personal and commercial services to its clients.
One of BTMK’s cases recently featured prominently in the Sunday Telegraph, concerning clients who had fallen victim of an alleged fraud over the purchase of a house. Having found their dream home, secured a mortgage and completed the purchase BTMK’s clients were shocked when bailiffs appeared because charges over the property had not been satisfied – it looked like they would lose their home.
It transpired that the £400k that was paid to the vendor’s law firm had not been passed on to satisfy the sale. The family moved in blissfully unaware, until they were threatened with repossession proceedings and bailiffs.
BTMK approached the Sunday Telegraph with details of the case, with their clients happy to be interviewed, a story was published and the case was swiftly resolved – a great result for the clients and valuable publicity for BTMK on the back of their good work.
Another BTMK case concerned a woman whose baby was born prematurely and died in circumstances where the hospital refused to resuscitate. The Trust had a Do Not Resuscitate policy in place which was not explained to the mother who, along with her partner, was left helpless and distressed as their baby died in front of them, with no help from professionals in the hospital.
BTMK brought a case on behalf of the family, secured compensation, an apology from the Trust involved and a change in their policy. The apology and policy change were particularly important to their client who was keen to publicise the case.
The story was covered initially by the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail as news, additionally being broadcast by ITV News as a lead item. BTMK’s local and regional media also carried the story widely. Subsequently the Daily Mail’s Femail section carried an extensive interview with the client, published across two pages with BTMK mentioned in the article, as they had been in the earlier coverage.
So what did the media attention around these cases mean for BTMK and why were they smart to court the media? Firstly it positioned the firm as a serious player, with outstanding capabilities and case work, with the ability to deliver great results for their clients. The media exposure attracted new enquiries and also – very importantly – positioned the firm as a formidable adversary, one who would fight tooth and nail for their clients.
The bottom line is that media exposure can have a very powerful positive effect for law firms, particularly where disputes are concerned. By engaging with the media, promoting the right cases, significant commercial benefits can be enjoyed.
The future success of your firm is there, right now, in your client base.