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Jeffrey L. Embleton, Esq.
Mansour, Gavin, Gerlack & Manos - Cleveland, Ohio


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Your Guide to Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan…and Why Every Lawyer Should Have One

John Remsen, Jr.


In my humble opinion, every lawyer in private practice –- regardless of how many years practicing law -- should have a Personal Marketing Plan. Here’s why:

You Will Seize Control of Your Career

Creating and implementing your Personal Marketing Plan enables you to seize control of your career. In time, it puts you in a position to attract and retain clients you enjoy, and matters you find challenging and interesting. You will also be less dependent on others to feed you. There are two kinds of lawyers in private practice: lawyers with clients, and lawyers who work for lawyers with clients. Which would you rather be?

You Will Make More Money

Rainmakers make more money -- often a whole lot more money -- than non-rainmakers in just about every law firm in the U.S. Chances are you’ve heard the terms “finders, minders and grinders.” Trust me; the action is with the finders.

You Will Have More Clout in the Firm

Lawyers who bring in business also have more power within their firms. Over time, they emerge as firm leaders, influencing important decisions about the firm, its policies and procedures, and its future direction.

How Much Time Should You Invest?

Of course, implementing your plan is the key to success….and it takes time. Non-billable time. I recommend that Partners invest 200 hours a year, and 100 hours a year for Associates. It’s critical you do a little bit every day. Fifteen minutes here. A half-hour there. Effective marketing and business development is not a “start-stop” process. It’s like an exercise regimen…results come with consistency over time.

What Types of Things Should You Do?

Partners should visit top clients at the clients’ places of business each year. (Refer to my previous Marketing Tip about Client Site Visits.) Associates should focus first on honing their legal skills and “credentialing” activities. For all attorneys, lunch once a week with a client, prospective client or referral source is a good habit. Joining and being actively involved in a well-chosen organization is another good thing to do. (Refer to my previous Marketing Tip about Individual Marketing Plans.) Article writing and speech giving are good activities, as well.

Make the Commitment to Yourself

Of course, developing and implementing your Personal Marketing Plan requires non-billable time. And, herein lies the dilemma for many lawyers. Non-billable “marketing time” is not rewarded -- and sometimes not even measured -- in many law firms. No matter, you should invest the time anyway. In his book True Professionalism, David Maister states that billable hours are for today’s income, but what you do with your non-billable time determines your future. I couldn’t agree more.

Just Do It!

The following pages set forth our outline for an effective, well-focused Individual Attorney Marketing Plan. Before the New Year begins, I suggest that you take the time to review this outline, develop your Personal Marketing Plan and commit to its implementation in 2008.

Happy marketing!

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