When law firms market themselves, or rather, when they attempt to describe their attributes to potential clients, they always say the same thing, with minor variations:
1) We're great lawyers
2) We're cost-effective
3) We're responsive
It's uncanny. A couple of years ago, I did a survey of thirty law firm web sites, and twenty-eight of them had these three pseudo-points in their materials. In a post on the 24th, Tom Kane wrote about how Fox Rothschild, a Philadelphia firm, did something completely different -- and very effective.
As almost everyone is well aware, the big firms have recently raised their associate starting salary, again, to an astronomical $160,000 per year. This is a LOT of money for someone with no experience and many clients are understandably not too pleased by this news, given that they're ultimately going to be the ones paying for those salaries. On the other hand, the ever-interesting Philalawyer.net blog makes a case that $160K is actually too low a salary in a recent post.
And in the face of this news, Fox announced that unlike these firms, they were not going to be increasing associate pay. As Kane points out, this information conveys a very powerful set of messages to both clients and associates at Fox. It tells the associates that Fox actually cares about the quality of their lives, and is not going to attempt to grind them into dust at work in order to recoup their costs.
It also tells the clients that Fox is not going to try to get them to foot the bill for training new associates. Secondarily, it also sends the message that Fox thinks that paying someone $160K a year is kind of ridiculous, and that the firm understands, and perhaps shares, the client's irritation at this number.
Fox's response to this trend is brilliant marketing for two reasons. First, it's a powerful differentiator. It really sets the firm apart. Additionally, it is also great marketing because it's fact-based (I love that term). So much legal marketing is just baloney -- vague, abstract statements that can't be measured, proven or quantified. Fox, by contrast, has done something specific and real, and has put their money where their mouths are. The absolute bedrock foundation of good marketing is credibility, and Fox has just created a lot of it for themselves.