Marketing basics for law firms: No.1 – A client database

on 5 July, 2012 Email this Email this - Print this Print this

As an existing provider of legal services, you have an advantage over any new competition. That is, a bank of customers who already know you and are doing business with you. Law firms need to be proactive – the new competition, those big ‘High street’ brands will also be targeting your clients – as their customers. Insurance companies don’t assume you’ll renew your premium – they get in touch.

Your client database is a potential gold mine. It is widely accepted that it is cheaper to sell more to your existing clients than to go out and find new ones so it makes sense to make sure that your database is accurate and up to date.

The costs of developing the database should be seen as an investment likely to produce clear and obvious benefits to the law firm in terms both of enhancement of goodwill and the generation of new work. And importantly, when it comes to attracting external investment.

With ABS’s now a reality, firms considering this strategic option will undoubtedly find that their value to others as an investment opportunity will depend on their ability to attract future business. A firm’s database thus becomes a significant asset.

Maintaining contact with your existing clients is an excellent potential source of revenue, but also a great way to show compliance with the SRA’s Outcomes-focused regulation.  Principle 5 states specifically the need to “provide a proper standard of service to your clients” and to evidence that you have achieved the Outcomes required in Chapter 1 of the Code of Conduct.

Many law firms will already have the required technology in your case and practice management systems to keep in touch with past, current, and potential clients. However, some effort may be needed to re-organise your existing data into a useful system from which regular and, most importantly, relevant information can be sent.

In summary – ongoing, permission-based communication with your clients is good practice, a compliance requirement, commercially a ‘no-brainer’ and essential for a law firm’s goodwill. Remember – the value of that goodwill is inextricably linked to the quality of the client database and your firm’s professional reputation.

Top tips on client databases

  • It’s a significant asset requiring ongoing investment and attention
  • Integrate its development with your working processes
  • Use it effectively to keep in touch with existing clients
  • Enables pro-active management of client relationships
  • It’s a great way to show compliance!

If you’d like to help with this subject for your law firm, please call Jon Hepburn on 01743 366288 or email

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Topics: Business development · Hot Topics · Law Firm marketing · Marketing planning

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