This is a late-August press release from the English Law Society. I can see the logic to it – time will tell whether it works and, indeed, whether it is welcomed by the legal fraternity.
Law Society extols marketing benefits for law firms giving free legal services
A commitment to free legal advice could be an additional selling point for law firms as the public seek legal assistance during the recession and beyond, says the Law Society. The Law Society says that providing pro bono services gives law firms a valuable marketing edge as today’s private clients and businesses give higher priority to their service providers’ corporate social responsibility credentials. Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson says: “Across the country solicitors, as they always have, are providing millions of pounds worth of free legal advice at a time when the public and business community need it the most. With unemployment now close to 2.5 million and many people experiencing financial difficulties, solicitors’ continued commitment to pro bono is helping vulnerable individuals and families in need of legal representation and advice. This commitment to pro bono can leave a lasting impression on clients, who might use the law firm again or recommend the firm to others.”
The Law Society says that it is not only individuals who can benefit from pro bono. Businesses are being given a helping hand by solicitors as well. Des Hudson says: “We are seeing law firms set up free drop in sessions for local businesses. With solicitors’ corporate social responsibility credentials taking on more importance for many clients, having pro bono work on the books is a vital marketing tool. Many firms choose not to publicise their pro bono work, but it could actually generate business for firms if people hear about it.”
Solicitors throughout England and Wales have come up with innovative methods to provide pro bono service, which could have the knock on benefit of helping them secure new business. One firm has even begun providing one-to-one legal advice sessions for passengers on London-bound trains from the Midlands. Des Hudson adds: “Lawyers are taking the initiative. Adding pro bono work to a firm’s bow can help their marketing effort.”
The legal market of tomorrow will be more competitive than ever and the Society is providing a number of products and services aimed at helping solicitors run their firms as a business, including the marketing toolkit – an interactive guide for firms to develop marketing and business development strategies.
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