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This article has been written by Srishti Sharma, from IIMT, New Delhi.

Introduction

Guest – Vassu Arora is a Delhi-based, non-practicing lawyer, who has previously worked as an editor with online legal Ed-tech companies and media publishing companies.  He has also helped law firms to generate more revenue by implementing customized law firm business development & legal marketing strategies as an independent consultant. He is currently working with Dhir & Dhir Associates as Vice President- Practice Development.

Host – Shubham Bansal is the Marketing Manager at lawsikho. He is also working as a manager at iPleaders and a legal practice management professional.

How was your journey so far?

I studied from Bharati Vidyapeeth University. While I was pursuing internships and also while I was working as a trainee advocate with a law firm, I realized the importance of content and how it can be used to establish thought leadership. I worked with legal startups which provided me a diversified profile like editorial and product management functions. So these two functions together were very diversified in nature and it provided me with a lot of experience on how to handle content and how to acquire content.

In 2015, that was the turning point. I worked with a small law firm in Delhi and I helped them to structure and organize workshops. It provided me invaluable motivation to start with my own consultancy. I was helping law firms in their business development and marketing activities, meanwhile, I also worked with LexisNexis and a few other legal startups. In 2019 I decided to pursue this within a firm so I decided to join Dhir & Dhir Associates.

What is content marketing?

A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. If you talk specifically it’s about how you use your content to deliver your message. It could be in the form of an email, newsletter, it could be the content on your website. Basically, a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

How is content marketing particularly useful in legal practice management?

You can share your knowledge with the potential clients and existing clients in the form of emails, newsletters and you would be somehow using content to deliver your expertise. So definitely content marketing is the spine of marketing for a law firm and it forms a co-part in  legal practice management as well.

What are the roles and responsibilities of business development?

Roles and responsibilities vary between firms. A lot of firms have different titles like business development coordinator, assistant manager business development, business development manager. But the core functions would remain the same that would be developing  business development plans, marketing strategies, evaluating their performance, improvising it on the basis of the matrix and see what has worked and what hasn’t. HR function, IT function and even finance to an extent would be common job responsibilities for any role of business development title.

What is the need of marketing in the legal domain?

There is a lot of competition between firms and in order to differentiate or in order to stand out you need to emphasize  that why are you good in such and such practice area, so there comes the importance of content marketing.

With so many other law firms creating new content every day, how do you ensure your potential clients will choose to read your content over your competitors’ content?

And if your law firm is completely new to content marketing, how do you educate your team, get their buy-in and start driving your content marketing efforts?

Unlike advertising, content marketing is about connecting with your potential clients without selling. Rather than pitching unwanted marketing messages to potential clients about your services, content marketing is about delivering information and insights to help your target clients make better, more informed decisions with a law firm decision.   Content marketing is about helping your potential clients solve the toughest problems and pain points that are keeping them up at night.

The fact is that each legal case and issue is unique, and your content cannot, and is not meant to, substitute legal consultation. But by offering useful information that is just enough to answer a potential client’s initial questions, you’re positioning your law firm as an expert and authority on a given issue or topic, and this effectively builds trust with your potential clients.

What is legal practice management?

Law practice management is the study and practice of business organization in the legitimate setting, including such points as an outstanding burden and staff the executives; money related administration; office the executives; and showcasing, including lawful promoting. The presentation of meaningful lawful work inside the comfortable bounds of a huge law office, the motors of which handle all business the executive’s issues. Incidentally, a critical number of lawyers will really wind up rehearsing in solo or little firm law workplaces. For those legal advisors (and, maybe, to their incredible shock), law practice the executives is a regular unavoidable truth. 

A lot of similar issues that apply to law offices additionally apply to ‘standard organizations’, including inquiries of element decision, protection, tax collection, HR, innovation-decision (equipment and programming), and so forth. Obviously, since we’re discussing attorneys here, it’s practically difficult to maintain a strategic distance from a curve or three. Essentially its more about how law firms are run. 

How to make sure that people read our content without having SEO knowledge?

You don’t really need to think of SEO if you have started publishing on LinkedIn or even on your personal law firm’s website, just ensure that the content is such it has been created in a manner that you are able to connect with people, you are able to connect with what problems they have and you are able to offer solutions. If you connect with people, the content would receive a lot of eyeballs. Also differentiate yourself from what others are publishing.

What are the skills required in this field?

  • Basic computer skills are definitely required.
  • Apart from that, excellent communication skills.
  • Networking skills.
  • organizational skills. 
  • Understanding firms.
  • Decision making through analytics.

Can a beginner after one or two years of practice under a senior advocate start their career as an independent lawyer?

If you think you have the skills and you can establish a law firm, you should definitely do. Then you maybe go for working in a firm you would be understanding that what difficulty you faced and would able to think from point of a direct supervisor.  

What scope do you foresee of legal consultancy post-Covid-19?

I see a lot of firms would hire for full-time business development and full-time legal marketing professionals. Earlier these functions were treated as support functions, but now the trend is shifting and their due importance is being realized and they are coming into the core domain. After the lockdown, the present situation would definitely improve a lot.

What are the roles of business development professionals?

A business development professional works closely with management, sales and marketing teams to develop a strong understanding of the target audience and business’ end goal. He/she works towards business growth that requires the development of business relationships.    

The Business Development Professional duties incorporate distinguishing organization items and administrations that are failing to meet expectations, building up a top to bottom information on organization contributions, estimating, and strategies, and improving existing deals proposition. You ought to likewise guarantee that the organization can accomplish income targets. 

To be effective as a Business Development Professional, you ought to be skilled at arranging business arrangements and ready to settle on dependable choices that will profit the organization. At last, an extraordinary Business Development Officer ought to have solid business keenness just as exhibit astounding administration, communication, and analytical skills.

  • Developing and sustaining solid relationships with company stakeholders and customers.
  • Analyzing customer feedback data to determine whether customers are satisfied with company products and services.
  • Recruiting, training, and guiding business development staff.
  • Providing insight into product development and competitive positioning.
  • Analyzing financial data and developing effective strategies to reduce business costs and increase company profits.
  • Conducting market research to identify new business opportunities.
  • Collaborating with company executives to determine the most viable, cost-effective approach to pursue new business opportunities.
  • Meeting with potential investors to present company offerings and negotiate business deals.

What are the skills required to become a Business Development Professional?

You should have these skills to become a business development professional:

  • Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications.
  • The ability to travel as needed.
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving and management skills.
  • Exceptional negotiation and decision-making skills.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Strong business acumen.
  • Detail-oriented.

How can a law student get a job at a law firm?

  • Try to learn the basics of excel worksheet.
  • Your communication skills should be of par excellence, so for that try to be a part of the organising team during your law school.
  • Understand how to work in a team.

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