The blending lines of legal business

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

When I think back on my first art class as a child, I remember learning about the primary colors – red, yellow and blue. I was amazed that all the other colors came from only three shades. How was it possible that in different quantities, they could create any color across the spectrum, but still be their own individual hues?

In some ways, the primary colors represent the new way to think about the 21st Century legal business model, specifically marketing, public relations and business development. These three practice areas can combine to create a new and vast array of opportunities, while still maintaining their own basic principles. To be a true legal business artist in 2010, it’s necessary to not only know the three primary colors – marketing, PR and business development – but to be a master painter and blend their strategies and tactics to move your law firm forward.

Grab your smock and easel – let’s get artsy.

Have an artist’s vision

Do you think Michelangelo started painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel without having a plan or an idea of the end result? Blending marketing, PR and business development is impossible without first having a vision for where you want to go and how you want external audiences to view your practice. Develop and commit yourself to one overarching message that will guide your efforts – a message that will drive your marketing efforts, your communications strategy and your sales tactics. Start by making broad strokes with the vision and mission of your firm and what you value.

Upgrade your basic paintbrush

Integrating technology into the move to blend marketing, PR and business development can take you from crayons to Kandinsky in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you sit across the hall or across the country from a team member, use technology to link up different offices and stay connected. Video conferences via Skype, live documents via Google Docs, and brand communications via a firm blog enable any artist to avoid being isolated from the rest of the blended team.

Make a masterpiece

Communicate the main message and vision, and give the marketing, PR and business development teams the green light on the best way to work together. Each firm is different, so it may be weekly check-ins, a solid internal communications system, or posters around the office with the brand promise on them. Giving the teams ownership of their synergy will truly make your firm a timeless classic.

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