What did YOU learn about marketing in law school?


"91% of Lawyers Unhappy about Lack of Marketing Training in Law School," says the headline of a report of a recent poll. "We must have struck a nerve because the responses were overwhelming and many lawyers even took the time to make pointed comments," said Daniel Guttman, MBA, principal in the firm that conducted the poll.

Is anyone surprised by this?

When I went to law school over thirty years ago, there wasn’t a single class on anything having to do with the "real world" of being a practicing lawyer. Nothing about how to open an office, hire employees, or set up a filing system. No guidance on calendaring or conflict checking, file retention or bookkeeping. And we certainly weren’t taught anything about marketing.

Is it any different today?

Did you learn anything about marketing in law school? Did they teach you how to bring in clients or how to keep them happy ("client relations") so they would come back and refer their friends?

I wrote an article on this subject: What I learned about marketing in law school, detailing my experiences. Now ‘d like to hear yours.

And while we’re comparing notes, tell me if your state (province, jurisdiction) allows you to earn continuing legal education credits for classes in marketing. Last time I checked, most jurisdictions allow credit for ethics and certain law office management topics, but not marketing.

I taught myself how to market my services. I had to, to survive. At the time, there were very few resources available to attorneys who wanted to learn marketing and the practical side of running a law practice. There was Foonberg’s book and little else. (That’s why I wrote Referral Magic.)

In 1977, Bates vs. Arizona made it possible for attorneys to advertise, officially blessing the notion that the law is a business as well as a profession and suggesting that the "business of law" might be something we want attorneys to know. Unfortunately, I don’t think much has changed since then, and this poll says most attorneys agree. Here’s how the author summed up the results:

  • 41% don’t get good marketing results, don’t know how to market or don’t bother to do any marketing at all.
  • 37% manage to just generate enough business for themselves.
  • Only 22% of respondents consider themselves rainmakers

The article, along with lawyer comments and a link to the complete poll results can be found on this page.