78% Of Attorneys Rely On Business Development Professionals, Up 21% From 2016, Annual Legal Marketing Association-Bloomberg Law Survey Finds

Staff Report

Friday, April 13th, 2018

In the past two years, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of attorneys relying on business development professionals, indicating that attorneys are beginning to accept previous shifts in marketers' roles toward greater involvement in business development, client relationship management, and firm strategy.  The findings are from a joint Legal Marketing Association-Bloomberg Law survey of attorneys and marketing/business development professionals at law firms.

This year's survey posed many of the same questions as 2016, allowing for trend analysis across key aspects of the industry. Firms continue to invest at a high level, with 62 percent of respondents saying their firm is increasing its emphasis/focus on business development and marketing efforts. Furthermore, 41 percent of attorneys reported hiring or increasing marketing staff as one of the top new investments in the past two years that have been most effective in developing new business.

Bloomberg Law and LMA presented the full results of the survey, which polled 190 law firm marketing and business development professionals and 135 law firm attorneys, at the LMA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Copies of the survey will be available at Booth #222. A copy of the report can also be downloaded here: http://on.bna.com/HcEJ30jjPId.

"With two-year comparisons in some of the key areas available in the 2018 survey, we're able to show that the pace of growth of marketing and business development functions—and emphasis in those areas—does not seem to be slowing down," said Nancy Furman Paul, Bloomberg Law's director of strategic partnerships. "That is great news for marketers, who also appear to be continuing to gain traction, voice, and influence."

"‎Our association's focus on demonstrating the importance of legal marketing professionals as strategic business partners is validated by the survey's findings," said Betsi Roach, executive director of LMA. "Chief Marketing Officers are now at 82% of large firms, and the survey shows that they play a vital role in business development, client relations and firm strategy."

Relations between attorneys and marketing professionals also appear to be improving. Among the top contributing factors to this improvement are: building credibility and trust (92% of marketers, 71% attorneys), and marketers providing valuable insights to attorneys (84% of marketers, 69% of attorneys) and marketers better understanding attorneys and their needs (63% of marketers, 58% of attorneys).

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • In 2018, attorneys are less likely than they were in 2016 to perceive internal pressure to generate revenue as a catalyst, while marketers are more likely to cite pressure from other law firms.

  • Marketers say holding/increasing in-person events or client visits is the most effective marketing/business development investment in 2018 (42%).

  • Large firms are statistically much more likely to have someone in senior pricing roles than smaller firms.

  • More than two-thirds of respondents say that in 2018 the top marketers in their firms are participating in strategic planning committees, lawyer professional development and other firm leadership meetings.

Bloomberg Law is also showcasing its award-winning Business Intelligence Center at the LMA Annual Conference.  The resource integrates business, legal, and financial tools and customizable news and docket monitors to help law firms grow business. The Business Intelligence Center helps attorneys identify new business opportunities and stay current on the specific issues that impact their clients. All Bloomberg Law users have access to the Business Intelligence Center as part of their subscription.