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What’s Your Plan?

Now that we’re into a new year, how are your plans shaping up for 2015?

Last year, a Managing Partner Forum survey showed that of the 120 US managing partners who responded, 46% said their firm has a strategic plan of a “recent vintage.” That means 54% don’t have a plan at all.

And you can bet the numbers are worse for firms that have no concrete plans for marketing, business development and sales.

Planning is critical for any business, but especially important for lawyers caught in the push and pull of economic tides while struggling to come to terms with rampant changes in the legal market.

If your firm doesn’t have a strategic or marketing plan, nailing both down now would be smart. After all, failing to plan means planning to fail.

And remember to do a personal marketing plan for yourself – and act on it.

A personal marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler it is, the more likely you are to follow it.

Divide a year into quarters. Note three or four tactics you can do each quarter to build your profile and develop mutually beneficial client-based relationships. Tactics can change quarterly or remain constant provided they work.

You may wish to consider…

No cost: blogging; speaking; email updates; connecting with referral sources and contacts; updating your bio, LinkedIn page and other social media profiles

Low cost: create a webpage; host an educational event; join a client-focused industry association, local board of trade or community group

Mid cost: sponsor an organization or event that dovetails exactly to your area of law; advertise consistently and only where your target client audience will see it

These budget-savvy tactics are additive rather than exclusive, so choose what works best for you and your target market. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tactics and ideas.

Ask your clients for input and feedback. They’ll be flattered to provide their thoughts and might even lend you a helping hand.

Heather Suttie is an internationally recognized legal market strategy and management consultant to leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide.

For 25 years, she has accelerated performance within law firms and legal service businesses — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — by providing consultative direction on legal business strategy, market strategy, management strategy, and client strategy. The result is a distinctive one-of-one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage culminating in greater market share, revenue and profits.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

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