by Henry Dahut
Publisher: LMG Press; (March 2004)
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Henry Dahut Esq. conducted over 100 interviews with lawyers to develop the foundations for his new book, Marketing the Legal Mind: Turning New Perspectives Into Powerful Opportunities. The book, itself, is a bit pricy at $62 for less than 200 pages, but is a good read for lawyers trying to understand client relationship management, strategic planning, and firm leadership.
Marketing the Legal Mind is focused more on executive level strategy than your basic “how do we market ourselves effectively?” It is not a “how to” guide. This book won’t give you ideas on how to market yourself, make your newsletters more efficient, or use your website to generate leads. It also isn’t a quick fix.
Become More Client Focused
Instead, Dahut focuses on shifting the mindset of attorneys from the logical, Socratic thinking process learned in law school to a client focused leader who embraces change for the good of his clients. The foundation of the first part of his book is about understanding the client’s point of view and combining that with the firm’s goals.
True marketing is founded not just on understanding what the client needs and wants; it also requires that you engage in meaningful inquiry as to what the firm needs and wants.
He admits that the two aren’t always compatible, but a firm must develop core values and a vision for its future success before a marketing culture can truly take hold. This requires looking at things from different perspectives – and being OK with knowing that there’s not just one right way to look at things.
What Do Clients Value?
Lawyers must also become better at understanding what their clients value and offer superior customer service that emphasizes that value.
Everything a firm does is, in some way, an expression of the firm’s values or lack of values. Every act or omission reveals the level of the firm’s commitment or lack of commitment.
This is fundamental to understanding how the firm is perceived by clients, prospects, the legal community and the firm’s vendors, and can be a powerful differentiating factor between firms.
What They Don’t Teach You At Law School
Dahut continues by focusing on how lawyers are taught to think in law school and how that process can work against successful firm development. He contrasts that with his model of perspective-driven leadership that lawyers must adopt to be successful in business development.
The most dynamic types of leader are perspective-driven. These intensely inquisitive people need to know what actually causes firms to grow and prosper and, just as importantly, what causes them to falter. They want to know what clients think about the firm – what clients actually experience when they visit and do business with the firm.
Perspective-driven leaders seek to discover new ways of serving, new ways of making clients feel valued, and new ways of earning trust. They seek what many managing partners would rather sweep under the rug.
He defines a number of types of lawyers, from the rainmaker to the workhorse to the toxic partner and how each type can hinder the firm’s management style and marketing culture. Without the right mindset and support from the firm’s partners, creating a genuine firm vision will never go beyond the superficial.
Overall, Marketing the Legal Mind is a great insight into the philosophy behind providing superior client service and how that relates to the firm’s overall goals. It is a quick read that can help you transform “marketing” from the “I hate selling” or “marketing is unethical” mindset to focus on marketing as a culture melding firm vision with client-focused value.