Investment in Marketing on the Rise in Small and Midsized US Law Firms, According to New Survey

Jennifer ScalziMarket Trends

Investment in Marketing on the Rise in Small and Midsized US Law Firms, According to New Survey

75% of law firms surveyed report investment in marketing and business development is significant element of overall growth strategy

NEW YORK – April 2, 2014 – Small and midsized law firms in the United States have concluded that a professional marketing and business development function is now a mandatory strategic tool in order for their firms to succeed, according to a new survey conducted jointly by ALM Legal Intelligence and J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc.

The survey — “Small Firms, Big Marketing” — provides an overview of marketing trends of small and midsize law firms (40 – 200 attorneys) and highlights what marketing departments are doing to help their firms gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

“Partners at small and midsize law firms recognize the importance of pro-active external marketing, and one notable way they are responding is by investing in marketing professionals,” said Jennifer Scalzi, president of J. Johnson Executive Search. “Two in three respondents told us that the marketing team is a critical or an important factor in their firm’s success in winning new business. Small law firms are nimble and creative, and have recognized the value of integrating their marketing functions in order to get a stronger foothold in the marketplace.”

“Law firms are putting their money where their mouths are,” said Kevin Iredell, vice president of ALM Legal Intelligence. “The survey found that 44 percent of firms increased their spending on non-staff marketing expenses in 2013 and 65 percent are projecting marketing spending increases in 2014. Moreover, dedicated marketing functions are now the norm, with nine in 10 respondents reporting they have staff dedicated to marketing at their firms.”

Other highlights of the survey include the following:

  • More direct access to key influencers and decision makers — For virtually all of the responding firms (81 percent), marketing professionals are in a single organization with one leader. Similar to the traditional structures in large firms, close to half report to the COO or Executive Director; another 43 percent report to the firm’s managing partner or chairman; and about 19 percent have their head of marketing reporting into an executive or management board.
  • Winning new business through deliberate processes — More than 75 percent have defined marketing processes and procedures in place for winning new business. An additional 54 percent also have defined practices for building business, soliciting client feedback, and marketing research efforts. One in 3 respondents confirms that competitive intelligence is viewed as a critical piece of running the firm.
  • Tracking marketing efforts are showing a range of successful results — Measuring return on investment with marketing efforts pays dividends in a variety of ways: not only winning new business — an average of 40 new clients were attributed to coordinated marketing initiatives — but in “softer” ways, such as client retention and increased awareness in the marketplace.

The full text of the “Small Firms, Big Marketing” is available HERE.

ALM Legal Intelligence offers detailed business information for and about the legal industry, focused on the top U.S. and international law firms. The division’s online research web service,, provides subscribers with direct, on-demand access to ALM Legal Intelligence’s extensive database of surveys, rankings and lists related to law firms and the legal industry. ALM Legal Intelligence is a division of ALM.

About ALM

ALM is a global leader in specialized business news and information. Trusted reporting delivered through innovative technology is the hallmark of ALM’s award-winning media properties, which include, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Headquartered in New York City with 16 offices worldwide, ALM brands have been serving their markets since 1843. For more information, visit