By Ioana Good
Published in Law.com and The Mid-Market Report
March 2021 marks the first anniversary since the majority of U.S. law firms pivoted to a remote workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past 12 months, many advancements have taken place, including the development and deployment of vaccines and new treatment strategies. Law firms, across national and jurisdictional borders, stepped up to the plate and found new ways to work and stay connected with their employees and clients. Traditional marketing and business development strategies had to be curtailed due to social distancing but new ones evolved almost overnight. Here are some lessons learned from law firm leaders and programs that will likely continue after the pandemic is behind us.
Sally Schmidt, President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., who offers business development training and recruitment services for law firms across the U.S., says she saw a definite uptick in client communication with a large emphasis on virtual programs, business development training, and client seminars. “People had to figure out how to stay relevant and close to their clients during this challenging time,” said Schmidt. “I saw firms get very creative with how they interacted with employees and clients on a social level. For instance, while playing golf and going out to eat was no longer possible, they started to invest in virtual communication, games, and programs to continue the relationship.”
Another strategic approach that came out of the pandemic is nation-wide corporate recruitment since law firms are now able to widen their talent search to anywhere in the country. “It does not matter where you live anymore,” said Schmidt. “It just matters that you are available and good at your job.”
During the pandemic, Schmidt also helped place several legal marketers in new positions at law firms even though neither employer nor employee ever met in person during the hiring process. Yet, Schmidt points out that they still did a wonderful job, learned quickly, and were efficient. Firms have realized that marketing and business development professionals are the glue holding everything together. “I think this realization was exaggerated this past year,” said Schmidt. “Legal marketers are always the ones pushing firms to change and offer new services to stay ahead of the competition. More than ever, law firms are realizing this.”
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