Digital Marketing in The Legal Profession: What’s Going On and Does It Matter?
Law firms are importing ‘digital marketing’ into their practices. ‘Digital marketing’ is using the internet and online technologies, such as computers, mobile phones, websites, social media and data tools to achieve marketing objectives. These objectives are usually to acquire customers, build customer preferences and loyalties, promote brands and increase sales. Digital marketing is being introduced (directly and indirectly) by legal marketers, who are selling their expertise as solutions to the current pressures faced by firms. This is new territory for a profession that has historically opposed advertising and explicit self-promotion. For some, digital marketing is simply a modern twist on the personal referral of medieval times. But there is little in the current legal literature that looks closely at digital marketing in law and what it means for legal professionalism. This article presents digital marketing as a new form of entrepreneurial and managerial practice, adding to others operating in law firms as they become ‘target audiences’ of new business disciplines. We examine what digital marketing entails, the ideas and technologies behind it, the trends in and types of digital marketing in law, and the implications for lawyers’ identities, expertise, and professional and legal obligations. Digital marketing is now unavoidable. Firms today must understand the technologies and underlying ‘market’ logic that underpin digital marketing and support its responsible use by their lawyers and marketing teams.