The law is a competitive field. That might be an obvious statement, but it’s worth considering as you look to grow your law firm. Chances are that even within your local market, you will have plenty of other legal experts competing for clients and promising the best possible service. Standing out in that environment can be difficult.
Demand for legal services is growing only slightly, not keeping up with the pace of new competitors entering the market. Online services and remote law firms make unlocking a local market based on your home base even more difficult. And yet, you need to gain traction to succeed long-term.
Yes, digital marketing strategies can help. An active presence on social media, a great website, and a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy are all essential. But those are not the only tactics you can leverage to grow your firm’s market footprint. In fact, nominating your lawyers for awards can help your growing law firm in a number of ways.
1) Establish Credibility in a New Client Market
As you know, credibility is absolute key in the legal industry. Your clients have to trust that when they contract with you, their legal matters will be taken care of. They need to see each of your firm’s lawyers as experts in their field, ready to use all that expertise to fight for them.
When you’re just starting to grow, showing that expertise can be difficult. Most clients won’t understand legal jargon or the nuances that made a previous case successful. Being able to show off an award-winning lawyer is a significant step in the right direction.
Put simply, this is a marker of quality. A badge on your website or statue in your offices communicates a lot with little effort. Your clients will want to work with lawyers who have performed award-winning legal work in the recent past.
2) Reassure Existing Clients that They’re in Good Hands
The above nuance doesn’t end with prospective clients. Credibility matters with your existing clients as well, especially when mixed up in complex legal situations that take time to develop and resolve.
It’s not always easy to understand why a legal case can take months and even years. It’s tempting for an impatient client to jump off and go with the competition. They might just need a little reassurance, in the form of an award, that they’re in good hands. It makes them stay with your firm and, just as importantly, recommend you to others who might need help as well.
3) Leverage Secondary Marketing Opportunities
Finding the right awards to nominate your lawyers for doesn’t just allow for direct marketing advantages like the above. Other advantages are more indirect, but they have the potential to be just as powerful. Consider some of the benefits of becoming a Lawyer of Distinction:
- A listing in the directory, which receives around 11,000 searches for lawyers per month.
- Links back to your website, enhancing your search engine optimization.
- Social media announcements for each new member on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Membership roster publications in periodicals like the New York Times and USA Today.
Other award sites, of course, differ. But they all follow the same pattern, putting significant effort into adding benefits for lawyers to be nominated. Knowing what those benefits are means being able to leverage them in a variety of ways down the road.
4) Recognize Lawyers for Previous Work
Don’t underestimate the internal benefits of nominating one of your lawyers for an award. It allows you to specifically recognize past work done, including (but not limited to):
- A particularly complex recent case or project that required skill and expertise beyond what most lawyers do on a daily basis.
- A long and extended history of success in your particular field and local market that deserves extra recognition.
- A ‘rapid rise’ for a young member of the practice who has gone above and beyond to taking on new responsibilities and tasks.
The key here is making sure that the benefits for which you nominate each legal expert are clearly defined. That not only helps the nomination itself, but also prevents any potential bad blood from colleagues who feel they are just as deserving for a similar award.
5) Build a Culture of Excellence in Your Law Firm
Based on the recognition strategy above, nominating your lawyers for industry awards can lead to more long-term benefits, as well. Over time, it can help you establish a culture of excellence that has each member of the practice striving for success and recognition.
Try to find patterns through which you recognize your lawyers and nominate them accordingly. Communicate these patterns to each employee, so everyone is on the same page. Then, follow through by treating everyone equally with an equal chance to meet your milestone.
In addition to building a culture that strives for recognition, this strategy also multiplies the awards which you can showcase to your external audiences. That’s where this all comes full circle: internal promotion puts success and great practice first, which in turn leads to better external promotion and ultimately better growth for your entire firm.
Start Building Your Law Firm Marketing in Unique Ways
You might not consider lawyer awards as a typical legal marketing strategy. And yet, these benefits can lead to immense opportunities that help you expand your footprint and client base. You just have to know where to start.
That means identifying exactly what lawyer awards are beneficial and realistic for your firm. It means knowing how to apply, and how to leverage the benefits that your practice will get out of it.