More for the Money: Legal Marketers Can Give Clients Value By Serving as “Outside Communications Specialists”

Legal Marketers Help with Law Firm CommunicationNow more than ever, corporate clients are asking law firms to justify costs and provide more for the money.

“Value” is the new buzzword in client-counsel relations and law firms ignore it at their peril. Quite simply, the old model of “We do legal work and send you a bill for what we believe it is worth” is going away – and it won’t be coming back. The Association of Corporate Counsel has devoted its Value Challenge to aligning corporate legal needs with the offerings of outside law firms, and legal marketing industry leaders (including Womble Carlyle’s own Steve Bell) are exploring ways that firms can provide the value that our clients demand.

Legal marketers are well-positioned to help achieve those value goals, particularly those of us who create content for a living.

Most middle market companies don’t have extensive in-house legal teams. That’s why law firm attorneys often like to say they serve as “Outside General Counsel” to these clients. Rather than just provide a specific skill or service, these lawyers know they must understand their client’s business and help in any way they can, just like a member of the company’s leadership team would do.

The same logic holds true for legal marketers. Most middle market companies don’t have extensive public relations or communications capabilities, if they have any marketing or PR staff at all. What’s more, many middle market clients may not even know where to begin to address media inquiries, external messaging, press announcements, crisis communications and other needs.

That’s where we can help. We can serve as “Outside Communications Specialists” to companies that lack such capabilities internally.

For example, an attorney recently contacted me about a sensitive matter involving a client. A member of the client’s organization just had been arrested on serious criminal charges, and while the company was in no way involved, it had to address the incident publicly.

So with the attorney’s blessing, I worked with the organization’s leaders to prepare a public statement that would help distance the company from the former team member’s actions. I also gave them some basic coaching on handling media interviews and helped identify key points that should be addressed in any company communication about the incident.

On a happier note, a different attorney wanted to nominate a client’s General Counsel for a local award. Again, I worked with the client to prepare a detailed nomination. The client was delighted that we even thought to nominate him for this honor. When he actually was selected as a winner, it was just a happy bonus.

I also was asked to help a growing client publicize a major business success. I drafted a press release for the client and distributed it to key media outlets.

In all of these cases, the work provided was done at no expense to the client. It was simply a way to provide additional value for the clients who pay our bills. So think of ways you can employ your talents to directly benefit your firm’s clients. They—and the attorneys we serve—will be glad you did.

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Bruce Buchanan

About Bruce Buchanan

After a 10-year career as a newspaper reporter, I've been the Marketing Copywriter for Womble Carlyle since 2006. My job has involved pretty much any type of communication that a 550-attorney, 14-office law firm might need. I'm based in the firm's Greensboro, N.C. office.

More posts:View all posts by Bruce Buchanan


  1. More for the Money: Legal Marketers Can Give Clients Value By Serving as “Outside Communications Specialists” - Legal Marketing News | Legal Marketing News - 04/18/2014

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