Although I have preached about the need to increase not decrease marketing budgets on this blog over the past month or more, let’s be realistic – I say to myself – not every firm will follow that advice. Some have or will cut budgets no matter what. So, what’s a poor rainmaker suppose to do.

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

Although we lawyers were taught in law school that we could do brain surgery – if only the light was right, please don’t utilize a surgical knife when scrutinizing your coming year’s marketing budget.

As many investment advisors (oh yeah, we were taught we could do that too in our sleep) are telling their clients

While some may be in denial, Warren Buffett writes in an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times (free registration required) that the “financial world is a mess”… but that he is now “buying American stocks.” He’s talking about his personal account (not his Bershire Hathaway holdings) which traditionally has been entirely in U.S. Government bonds.

Well, “secrets” may be a bit strong, since what makes small to medium size law firms successful isn’t exactly rocket science. Prosperous smaller firms have very successful lawyers who never practiced in BigLaw, as well as those who did, but left because they no longer cared for the environment or life style in larger firms.


I’m not referring to keeping up with the Jones’ or with large firms for that matter. What I am referring to is whether your firm is keeping up with the needs of your marketplace in terms of marketing and business development. Times change and competition is increasing. Both should be taken into consideration when calculating what your budget

You are late, if you haven’t already budgeted for marketing and business development for 2008. Most large law firms start their budgeting process in early fall for the following calendar year. 

Of course, there are firms that still do not prepare a formal marketing budget at all, so anything I say here would be a waste