Marketing legal services is difficult. No-one with any sense chooses a specialist lawyer on the basis of their glossy brochure (or, nowadays, their website or LinkedIn profile) or slick Powerpoint presentation. How they come across in conversation may help, but you are still taking a big risk if that is all you have. You need to trust that they will do a good job before hiring them. You need other data points, such as the reputation of the firm in the market place. Ideally, you get a couple of recommendations from people you trust.
Once you have hired them (perhaps on a small project to start off with), you can assess better whether you are likely to hire them again. At this stage you have more data points to judge whether you trust their ability, fit and fee levels. Even now there is no certainty.
IP Draughts has helped many clients to hire other law firms (in the UK and overseas) and barristers. Over more than 30 years in private practice, he has been hired himself many times.
IP Draughts’ practice is evolving. He has no plans to retire from his IP transactions practice, but with 4 partners now to lead on this work, he is moving towards more advisory work, facilitation (particularly of multi-party negotiations) and mediation. He would like to do more chairing of organisations, following his experience particularly with the Law Society IP Committee. He thinks he would be an effective arbitrator, but getting into this field may be very difficult. He is not sure whether there is a collective name for these roles, but “wise head” and “experienced trouble-shooter” are as good as any.
But he is doubtful about the merits of energetic marketing of these services. Much better to do a good job on the projects he gets, and hope that word of mouth will lead to further instructions. He needs to build up trust in a market that is even more niche and specialist than IP transactions.