Having spent a large part of my working life managing a law firm marketing department, I tend to assume that my experiences about how law firms market themselves are shared by firms the world over.
I therefore confess to finding some of the results of a new survey by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, produced in conjunction with Gonçalves & Gonçalves Marketing Jurídico, of great interest. The report, The State of Legal Marketing: Mexico and Brazil, asked 138 law firms across both countries, to explain how they organised their marketing functions.
Here in the UK, it’s quite normal for law firms to employ dedicated marketing departments, invariably with specialists performing distinctive roles. But, by contrast, a remarkable 63% of Brazilian firms and 66% of Mexican firms surveyed employed no full-time marketing personnel. Even more interesting – those firms that employed only one full-time marketing resource considered that to be a marketing department! It’s therefore no real surprise that key decisions with regard to marketing spend and activities in Brazilian and Mexican law firms were largely made by Managing or Senior partners.
The knock-on effect of this lack of marketing infrastructure means that many aspects of marketing administration were absent, in both Brazilian and Mexican law firms. For example, just 32% of Brazilian and 38% of Mexican survey respondents had a formal marketing plan in place, while only 27% of Brazilian and 41% of Mexican firms had a formal marketing budget. In very general terms, the larger firms (50+ lawyers) were more likely to have a specialist team with defined plans and budgets.
Only time will tell whether the global trend towards ever larger law firms will result in the widespread development of sophisticated legal marketing functions throughout the Latin American legal market. But for now, any Brazilian or Mexican firms who have even the merest hint of a formalised marketing structure can probably consider themselves as operating at the cutting edge of legal marketing – at least in relation to their local competitors.
Debate the findings with the report authors today
Marco Antonio and Alessandra Goncalves, legal marketing professionals and authors of the study, will be discussing the report in the ‘Lawyers of Brazil’ group in Martindale.com Connected. To register and join for free today, click here.
Free copy of the summary or full report
“The State of Legal Marketing: Brazil and Mexico”