In the recent article, Legal Marketing and Ethics Experts: ABA Model Rule Changes Are Too Little, Too Late,
inspired by the tepid (read ineffectual?) changes to ABA Model Rules 7.1 - 7.5, there are two particularly standout points:
1. Roy Sexton, Kerr, Russell and Weber Director of Marketing offers one of the best (succinct and devoid of jargon) definitions I have ever read regarding sales and marketing in any context:
Referrals are about the structure of a business development relationship, and advertising is about the manner and context within which we can and should position our firms in a commercial dialogue.
Every marketing and business development department should rephrase this as a question, and make answering that question the cornerstone of their relationship development and marketing strategy: "How, and where, do we want to position ourselves?"
2. Susan Hackett, Legal Executive Leadership's CEO proffers that
Policing LinkedIn pages doesn’t save our profession. Encouraging lawyers to join the 21st century and collaborate on teams that are client-aligned, business efficient, cost-effective, predictable, transparent, and results-oriented might be the better approach.
There is no question that within a Partnership structure, getting professionals to "collaborate on teams," is incredibly difficult. Similarly, many Partners do not see it to be in their best interest to align with broader firm goals which is required to achieve things like efficiency, cost-effectiveness and other "results-oriented" goals.
That said, it is likely that, ABA Model Rules constraints notwithstanding, firms - particularly second tier firms - will continue to suffer cost pressures and loss of market to both the burgeoning alternative legal service provider segment, and more business savvy competitors.
In the final analysis, is it the ABA Model Rules 7.1 - 7.5 that are the limiting factors in this regard. Or, is it something else?