Development and Marketing

Robin Rolfe Resources provides custom strategic planning, organization and business development consulting to the legal community, including law firms, corporate law departments, and law-product vendors. We work in law firms in the USA and all over the world.  We also provide outsourced association management and administrative services to bar and law-related associations, law firm alliances and networks.  Please visit the associations management website for more info here.

RRR offers an authentic depth of knowledge and draws on years of relevant experience from our diverse and complementary backgrounds to understand the needs of each client. Our team brings broad understanding, unique skills and leading-edge ideas to every engagement.

Client Service Office

Problem: Enlargement of the EU and the continued expansion of global law firms indicated to a young and ambitious Eastern European regional firm that it had a limited window of time to solidify its advantageous “home turf” position, capturing work flowing from the U.S. and other industrialized countries. It needed a strategy and plan to build its reputation and distinguish itself from other firms.

Solution: One of the key objectives was for our client to demonstrate that it was not only substantively expert in the countries where it provided legal services but also that it could provide the level of service and responsiveness required by multinational clients. Since the client had opened an administrative office in Western Europe to secure services not always reliable in the local offices—such as electronic and telecommunications—the plan included developing and specifically promoting the Western European office as a client service office.

The client service office was equipped with modern electronic equipment, and the staff was completely fluent in English and understood Western business culture. In addition, the client service attorneys were able to efficiently communicate with the firm’s Eastern European offices, coordinate multi-jurisdiction cases, oversee newly instituted quality controls (which were also part of the strategic development plan), and to personally manage client relationships, administration and billing.

Result: Clients have responded positively to the client service office and value the option to work directly with a specific office. Feedback from clients indicates that the client service office is recognized as an effective bridge to Eastern Europe legal services, which has been reflected in new business. The client service office has also supported the marketing program and provided a platform for our client to distinguish itself from competitors.

Ancillary Business Differentiation

Problem: A law firm wanted to expand its practice into an ancillary business. The attorneys had particular subject-matter expertise and had developed a value-added product that could be delivered at a lower price and more quickly than the products on the market. Our client needed a way to enter the market and to present its product to target companies, even if they were clients of other law firms.

Solution: We collaborated with our client to create a profile of companies most likely to benefit from its product, and identified the in-house lawyers most likely to be decision makers or influencers. At the same time, we designed a survey to assess selling points and conducted telephone interviews with 15 primary sales targets. The findings were compiled, analyzed and reported to our client.

Result: The research allowed the firm’s marketing director to prepare a sales positionfor use in business and create marketing materials emphasizing the product attributes that would most influence a buying decision and, if they were not clients of the law firm, to segregate a decision on the purchasing the product from the selection of legal counsel.

Local Liason

Problem: A large regional firm with offices in more than 25 developing countries, but not the U.S., wanted to increase its U.S. business. Challenges included lack of differentiation among competitors, low expectations for services from the region and cultural differences.

Solution: We developed a cohesive U.S. business development plan that included (i) a program to have our client build strong personal relationships with U.S. clients and potential clients; (ii) a U.S. liaison office for real-time and local communications; (iii) a client services coordinator to simplify working with multiple offices; and (iv) an enhanced information program with an content-rich website and direct communications.

Result: Personal relationships with clients and prospective clients have overcome name recognition and pronunciation of unfamiliar names, as well as differentiation from other firms in the region. In addition, personalizing client relationships has encouraged clients to raise any specific issues or problems they encounter, and the immediate attention to resolving them has eliminated assumptions about poor work or responsiveness.

In at least two situations, personal visits with senior trademark counsel resulted in the transfer of entire regional trademark portfolios by two Fortune 100 companies. The liaison office has also enhanced client relationships. The expanded communications have made it easy to obtain information about developments in a region where accurate information has been historically difficult to determine. Our client is clearly differentiated from competitors in a variety of client centered, value-added services.

New Kid On The Block

Problem: A decade-old partnership, which had grown to be among the largest and most successful firms in its country, perceived that it continued to lose out on business to the old family law firms that built their practices when there were few competitors. The firm wanted to capture more of that business.

In evaluating our client’s competitive position, we determined that it needed to distinguish itself from several long-established firms that had been the leading practices in the region for many years. While our client had an excellent reputation and was highly regarded among its clients as service oriented and results driven, it also wanted to distinguish itself from the institutional old firms as a dynamic law partnership built by superior attorneys on merit and performance.

Solution: We conducted a market scan and with the findings concluded that there was a need to project an image that would capture attention and project a modern and dynamic image that communicated the firm’s experience and accomplishments. The plan included a revamping of materials and personal marketing strategies. Working with a designer, we assisted the firm in adopting a distinctive corporate identity, including a logo, stationery, brochure, firm profile and website. The content focused on demonstrating the firm’s creative problem-solving capabilities and case results, as well as its ability to handle ordinary matters with personal service and great efficiency. In addition, the process included increasing visibility and personal contacts to take advantage of the firm’s youthful, energetic and personable partners. Meetings and communications were supported by research that demonstrated the firm’s industry knowledge and familiarity with the lines of business and significant issues. The communications plan included regular discussions and an electronic newsletter advising of legal developments and trends and reinforcing the firm’s image of energy and initiative versus the passiveness of other firms.

Result: Each of the partners has now established their own business development plan and is leveraging the capabilities of a merit partnership both in marketing and in delivery of services. Similarly the new materials reflect the sophistication of the firm’s practice. The number of new requests for proposals suggests that companies needing representation are increasingly aware that there is another firm to be considered in their evaluation of outside counsel besides the few that have seem to have been around forever. The firm is seeing great success in converting such opportunities into business.

Never Heard of Them Barrier

Problem: As the landscape of law firm practices has evolved and large firms have acquired specialized areas of expertise, boutique practices and smaller firms have had to maintain visibility, and be recognized by, not only subject-matter in-house counsel but also general counsel, who are often the decision makers in the selection of counsel for substantial transactions and bet-the-company litigation. Although our client is well known for its areas of practice, it needed a cost-effective strategy to overcome a “never heard of them” response from general counsel.

Solution: Scanning the market for opportunities to create recognition for our client with general counsel and CEOs at Fortune companies, we concluded that the best value to reach the target audience was through advertising on public radio.

Result: In addition to increasing its name recognition with the target audience through the medium of public radio, our client is supporting public radio and known for doing so.

Easy for Clients to Find You

Problem: Our client wanted to improve its visibility at a major conference attended by its clients and potential clients. The large number of exhibits, sponsorships and ancillary social functions made it difficult for the firm to distinguish itself.

Solution: We thought it was important for our client to do something different. We identified and proposed a new destination sponsorship, which included a foldable mini-map of the meeting city, identifying the location of the conference hotels and venues, plus a second sponsorship of the website section providing information about the meeting city. Both of the sponsorships prominently displayed our client’s name and were part of the conference marketing package, which reached approximately four times the number of people who actually attended. The conveniently sized printed maps and the electronic destination resource were also widely used during the conference, thereby providing multiple opportunities for our client.

Result: Not only did our client achieve its objective of greater visibility at the conference, it had the added benefit of a broader exposure to members of the association who did not attend the meeting. Furthermore, by initiating a sponsorship and annually sustaining it, there is a cumulative value, so that the firm is associated with the maps and website and known for them.

Target Marketing

Problem: Associates and young partners are frequently intimidated by the prospect of business development and marketing. Identifying a particular type of client and participating in an organization that serves that market is a way to start relationships that can lead to business. One of female partners at a client firm wanted to work with women business owners. She was already active in her local chapter of a national organization of women business owners, but wanted to maximize the opportunities from those contacts and expand her reputation as an expert in her field.

Solution: We prepared a public relations plan that helped her understand the multiple opportunities for her to build her network of contacts and make known the area of her legal expertise that could assist women-owned businesses. The plan focused her limited time on several key activities, such as issuing press releases for the organization’s programs she spearheaded; creating targeted mailing lists to announce such programs to women businesses owners and senior female executives in public and privately owned businesses; and writing feature columns for a prominent online publication directed to women in business. Using connections she made with the media that reported on the organization’s activities, she also made herself available as a spokesperson on issues relevant to her practice.

Results: Our client became president of the local chapter of the organization and was appreciated for her contributions to the organization. The organization’s members also became aware of her legal expertise and its importance to business owners. The effectiveness of her chapter has expanded her reputation in the national organization and provided her with additional business contacts. She writes a regular column in a national publication on topics directly related to her practice, is frequently contacted as an expert commentator by the press and has been invited to speak at a number of conferences. She has also encouraged other women at her firm to actively participate in the organization, which has further increased the reputation of the firm as advisors to women-owned businesses, as well personal contacts that have resulted in significant additional business.

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