Yep! While a number of large law firms are cutting lawyers and staff, it is no secret that budgets, including marketing budgets, are being trimmed for the coming year. Unfortunately that is shortsighted. In fact, it may reduce the amount of new business harvested in the coming year.

If business development is good for law firms in good times, spending dollars on marketing in a down economy makes even better sense. Why? Because while others are cutting back, there will be less marketing “noise” out in the marketplace and more chances to be noticed.

In an article in’s Small Firm Business that discusses the impact of the economy on marketing budgets, I was impressed with what the managing partner of a 108-lawyer Houston-based firm said:

“We’re expanding our marketing,” says Wayne A. Risoli (of Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, et al.). “We believe this is an appropriate time to let all Fortune 500 companies know that our rates are so good that we can handle your work for a very good value.”

So, it’s time to crank it up.  You need to let prospects know, as well as remind clients and referral sources, about your firm’s “good value.”

That is not to say that it isn’t important to scrutinize what your marketing dollars are being spent on.  A firm should focus on those business development activities that are likely to produce the best and quickest return on investment.

Nonetheless, it will be a hard sell at some firms. But, those firms that resist cutting back – in fact, increase their marketing budgets in those areas that will maximize ROI – will most likely reap a more bountiful harvest in 2009.