Being known as an authority on important legal challenges and trends gives tremendous advantages when it comes to winning work. These include strong credibility, better recognition, more referrals and greater memorability. You can charge more too!
But many of the traditional signs of authority for law firms have been superseded.
Having a great offering, lots of credentials, smart offices, well-designed marketing materials and a professional website are not nearly enough to open the door with most senior-decision makers.
Indeed, there is even a bevy of virtual law firms that have made a virtue of spending little on overheads and teams in order to free up partners so they have more time to be lawyers while costing less.
The trap that many law firms fall into when trying to stand out is by emphasising "how different" their features or services are... but instead they end up sounding just the same as their competitors.
By contrast, standing out as an authority on major challenges facing your prospective clients is a powerful position, which is why numerous law firms of all sizes invest time and resources in being publicly recognised as experts in key areas.
Legal marketing works best when it demonstrates, not when it simply asserts
This involves writing articles, blogging, providing press interviews and perhaps also undertaking research and campaigns. It may also include winning awards and gaining a favourable legal directory review.
This reflects the view championed by amongst others David Maister, the law firm management guru, that marketing works well when it demonstrates your expertise, but poorly when it simply asserts it.
To find out more about building a strong position as a legal authority, the all-important X-Factor missing from the many law firm marketing campaigns, download our succinct guide to authority marketing here.