Why Attorneys Hate Marketing and What You Can Do About It

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The question of why attorneys hate marketing has been around for a while now and has attracted many heated debates by various professionals and lawyers. One of the most interesting points to be revealed in these debates is that most people seem to agree that lawyers are antipathetic towards advertising and even lawyers are privy to it.

Often you would hear statements like ‘Advertising is unethical’ and ‘If I make 4 calls every week, I’d be out of people to call after a month’ from lawyers. Though it appears that they might have a point, without marketing, your firm is bound to fall into oblivion. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for attorneys to hate advertising and what we can do to alter their views.

Ethical Dilemma

Lawyers have this negative perception about advertising that its basic function is to trick customers into making a buying decision. They consider it to be plainly unethical and unprofessional to indulge in promotional practices. However, that is not entirely true as advertising has developed from only being a source to lure customers to helping them make informed and better decisions.


The state bar ethics office can play a vital role in altering this perception by conducting seminars and defining the ethical boundaries of marketing. Involve everyone in the discussion and ask for their opinions about ways to market ethically and set definitive parameters about when and how to advertise.

Clients don’t like Being Approached by Attorneys

Lawyers tend to object that it is invasive to approach clients as they don’t like being marketed to. They base this assumption on the fact that they themselves don’t like it so others will not be impressed by it either. Because lawyers are aware of the privacy rights of individuals, which have been reinforced in their academics and practice, they tend to firmly believe and act upon them.


Advanced marketing approaches are far more refined and take into account the consent of the clients. Lawyers can ask their clients and conduct surveys about the kind of advertising they would prefer. The core of marketing is to find the needs of your clients and fulfilling them by offering them their desired services, which eventually makes them happy. This will also help you understand what they don’t like so you can abstain from those practices in the future.

We are Attorneys, not Marketers

Lawyers believe that advertising is a profession of its own and requires a real know-how to be truly effective. They view things through a lens of their own and think of someone who is not a professional. The outcome, surely, won’t be favorable as lawyers have to be continuously part of the whole process and need to be aware of the little technicalities.


Marketing doesn’t have anything to do with this and it works on its own, without any legal boundaries. As your firm grows, you will need to cater to different sorts of target audiences and that takes a real branding effort. Just because you are not an advertising professional, it does not mean you cannot hire an expert to do the job for you. Investing in advertising could be one of the most significant decisions in the success of your law firm.

Nothing Solid to Sell

This objection is often raised by the attorneys who do not believe in marketing for services. They believe that it is just a waste of resources and will not yield any significant outcome. They also believe that their services are quite limited and they are better off reaching out to their clients through conventional sources. This claim is right to a certain extent as Return on Investment for services generally tends to be on the lower side than it is for actual products.


However, this does not mean that you must totally abandon advertising. A well-structured advertising campaign can give you significant insights into the client’s preferences and what they require from you as their legal counsel. This kind of information is important because it can help you perform better at your job. Having access to pertinent data about the needs of your clients is still a good enough reason to invest in branding campaigns.  

Marketing is a Waste of Money

Lawyers argue that most of their clients come through referrals from friends, family and acquaintances. This is because lawyers spend most of their time in conferences and meetings so they constantly engage with other lawyers and sometimes with people from another profession. Most attorneys seem content with this approach and consider advertising to be a waste of money and resources. However, to answer why some conversations lead to referrals and others do not, you would probably need the help of advertising.


Showing lawyers that marketing will expand their network of connections, rather than replace it, is one of the solutions. Explain it to them through examples of other businesses and, specifically, law firms that have been able to brand themselves to success. Lawyers must be able to think of advertising as a means to an end, rather than the end itself, for them to really profit from it.

I am Smarter than Marketers

There is always a tendency to have a bias about the understanding of your business. For attorneys, the bias is even extreme as they have to rely on their own intuition and skill to run their law firm. The increased dependency on oneself tricks them into believing that they are the sole bearers of their business. It is possible that some of them are bright enough to do really well but, usually, the outcome is unwanted.


You need to start small with these people. Start with a small marketing campaign and show them the results. They need facts and figures to grasp the ideology behind advertising. Build trust and eventually unleash the perks of branding on them.

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