Law Firm Marketing Regulation: What’s Hot and What’s Not — a Tribute

Bob Denney was a kind, generous and insightful man who had his finger on the pulse of the legal profession like no one else. For nearly 30 years, Bob published a newsletter under the banner of “What’s Hot and What’s Not” in the legal profession. When the reports went digital, several of them were featured on Attorney at Work. In a few lines, he would use the breadth of his insights to clue us in on recent developments and upcoming trends. Bob passed away in October. In his honor, I would like to borrow his format as I look back over the recent past and a bit into the coming year. I lack both the breadth and depth of his knowledge and tend to more narrowly focus here on law firm marketing and its regulation. As every Elvis performer says, it’s not an imitation; it’s a tribute, one I hope he would have liked. Red Hot Law Firm Marketing Trends Marketing staff compensation. The first wave of law firm marketers were often high-performing administrative staff. They lacked respect, authority and the compensation they deserved — still true in many firms today. However, a talent war has pushed salaries for in-house marketers up 20% since pre-Covid times, recently cracking the $1 million mark.DEI. Years ago, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) encouraged in-house counsel to include a law firm’s pro bono commitment when considering engagements. Today, perhaps more organically, corporate clients are starting to look at a firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a criterion for engagements. Hot Changes to state advertising rules. The past year has seen several states amend their ad rules, most of which bend toward more permissibility. Some states have adopted minor changes, e.g., New Jersey now permits TV ads to include music and animation.

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