Why Lawyers Hate Marketing (And Agencies): 7 Reasons

Article by Meo Antolin Meo Antolin

Last updated

For most businesses, marketing is one of the must-have pillars of growth, sustainability, and success. Unfortunately, some lawyers don’t believe this to be the case. 

Let’s explore the top reasons why some law firms go into defense mode when talking about marketing. 

1. Takes Time Away from Legal Work

It’s no secret that successful marketing is a time-consuming endeavor. However, time is a luxury in the fast-paced legal world. 

Understandably, lawyers would rather focus on legal work than split their time to make room for marketing activities. After all, they get paid to practice law — not pour their time and efforts into raking in potential clients. 

What they don’t realize is, they could be missing out on more lucrative opportunities by failing to effectively market their services. 

Something as simple as creating a law firm website or publishing blog posts, which can be done part-time, can lead to immense benefits in the long term. You could land high-profile clients, get invited to more speaking engagements, and even unlock online monetization opportunities to supplement your firm’s earnings.

2. Less Interest in Learning Marketing

Another factor that makes attorneys hate marketing is the learning process. 

Keep in mind that marketing, especially in the digital space, involves different areas. This includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. 

Each of these areas requires several hours of learning and research before you can execute strategies competently. But for most lawyers, pursuing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) has more concrete benefits than marketing strategies they have little to no experience in.

This creates a cycle in which lawyers don’t have the motivation to learn marketing, and then shy away from marketing initiatives to their lack of understanding of the industry. 

3. Grey Area in Legal Professional Ethics

Many lawyers, particularly those who remember the Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 decision in 1977, frown upon the idea of advertising professional legal services. 

The fact is, law firm marketing and advertising are perfectly acceptable today. But you’ll still find lawyers who consider marketing as a violation of their professional ethics. 

Remember, even bar associations provide members with tools and resources to help advertise their services to the general public. This includes referral directories, magazine classified ads, social media marketing guides, and event sponsorships. 

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The truth is, now is the best time to get into law firm marketing. All the tools you need to grow your reach — from local directories to event management platforms — are available online. 

4. Poor Experience with Marketing Agencies in the Past

Due to the lack of time, a lot of law firms opt to hire agencies to handle marketing-related tasks while they focus on legal work. The problem is, not all marketing service providers are the same. 

Working with digital marketing agencies or freelancers with no experience with legal clients is a risky move. If you want positive results from your marketing efforts, you need to work with proven experts who are in tune with the legal profession and how to launch campaigns that impact a law firm’s business goals. 

Look for the best law firm marketing agencies with portfolios backed by numbers, like generated leads, website traffic, and keyword rankings. These companies should also know how to turn marketing results into paying clients. 

5. No Clear Gains from Marketing

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Lawyers already spend ridiculous hours on non-billable work. And without a clear Return on Investment (ROI) from marketing, it’s only reasonable for them to allocate their resources elsewhere. 

This goes back to the problem of working with the wrong agencies and the lack of experience with effective marketing campaigns. 

Sure, an agency or freelancer may pitch higher search engine rankings or more website traffic. But without a solid, actionable plan on how to turn your online presence into paying clients, your marketing goals are all for vanity. 

That’s why you need a clear law firm marketing plan that documents your target audience, promotion channels, marketing budget, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure success. 

In addition to ROI, some examples of lawyer marketing KPIs are: 

  • Landing page conversion rate
  • New clients by source
  • Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

6. Already Getting Enough Referrals

Lawyers attend conferences, bar association meetings, and other networking activities to grow and maintain their legal connections. This provides their firm with a steady supply of referral leads — keeping their business afloat. 

In turn, they’d rather spend their time and budget on more networking opportunities than marketing campaigns.

It’s true that networking for lawyers is essential for success. But from a business standpoint, staying in your comfort zone often leaves no room for growth.  

Just check out marketing case studies to learn how results-driven campaigns help law firms supercharge their lead generation efforts. If you’re generating over 4,000% more leads from digital channels, you won’t have to fill your schedule with conferences and other events to score a few clients. 

7. Preferring Self-Marketing

Lawyers are intelligent folk. As such, they sometimes prefer a DIY approach to marketing rather than trusting agencies, freelancers, or even in-house marketers. 

Rainmakers, in particular, possess skills that bring high-value clients through the door. These professionals often have a long list of questions and will not work with marketers unless they fully understand and believe in their system. 

However, law firms allocate thousands of dollars into their marketing budget for a reason. And that’s because they also want to utilize SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, PPC, and traditional advertising to rise above the competition. 

These branches of marketing may not be as advanced and complex as a seven-year law degree. But each of them presents growth opportunities that only marketing professionals with specialized skill sets and years of experience can unlock. 

Why Attorneys Hate Marketing Agencies? 

Finally, it’s worth noting that some law firms may be sold on the value of marketing, but aren’t convinced that hiring a full-service agency is the way to go. These are lawyers who either have no experience working with agencies or hired the wrong team in the past and achieved poor results.

To choose an agency that can deliver the results you deserve, look for three things:

  • Verifiable results with clients in the legal industry. For example, we at On The Map Marketing take pride in the results we deliver to our legal clients (we have all the data to prove it). 
  • Advocating for clear and transparent communication. Most agencies will assign a dedicated account manager who can answer your questions, deliver custom reports, and listen to your feedback at a moment’s notice.
  • Dynamic marketing campaign tailored to your specific needs. Avoid law firm marketing agencies that piggyback a one-size-fits-all solution to sell their marketing services. 

Hire a Proven Marketing Agency for Real Results You Deserve

What’s a surefire way to tell if an agency will develop a custom marketing strategy that fits your needs?

Easy — just ask them for a website audit and evaluate their attention to detail as well as their willingness to walk you through each step. This ensures every dollar you spend on marketing will actually lead to measurable results down the stretch.

Contact us and get a complimentary audit today.

Article by Meo Antolin

Freelance writer since 2014. I produce digital marketing content of all lengths and depths. I run A Million Words Later, which I built to help aspiring freelance writers get the knowledge, inspiration, and resources they need to succeed.