ILNews

Law firms embrace marketing geared toward the female client

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

For years, marketing research has indicated that when it comes to the purchase of products and services in the home, women are a target audience. As women have claimed their place in executive and administrative offices throughout America, becoming key decision makers for small and large businesses, professional service providers have taken notice and become creative in their approach to maintaining relationships with female clients.

“When I started practicing law my mentors were male partners, and they have a very distinct model for marketing,” said Lewis Wagner LLP attorney Dina Cox. But the “dinner, drinks and sporting event” approach that many of today’s lawyers were trained with doesn’t apply to everyone, she explained. “As women have risen to the point where they are referring business out, it has affected marketing.”
 

cox-dina-mug.jpg Cox

Lewis Wagner recently hosted a wine-tasting event for female clients and business sources. One of the goals of the event, Cox said, was to thank those women who had supported the efforts of the firm’s female attorneys to be rainmakers. It also provided a nice opportunity for the firm’s female attorneys to socialize with female clients who work primarily with the firm’s male partners.

Extending the women-to-women networking concept a bit further, the firm made a point of using a woman-owned catering business, and it made a $5,000 contribution to Grameen America Indianapolis in honor of its female clients and referral sources. Grameen makes microloans to low-income women to pursue business initiatives.


walker-jennifer-mug.jpg Walker

“This was a way of putting our money where our mouth is,” Cox said. “We wanted to be overt in saying ‘thank you women, you’ve placed your confidence in us.’” It was also important, she said, to pay it forward.

Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building relationships, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Walker said women-

focused events are one more way law firms can appeal to a broader audience.

In 2011, the firm hosted a fashion show and reception at Saks Fifth Avenue, an event that will be “back by popular demand,” in 2012, Walker said.
women-factbox.gif
Firms often offer tickets to sporting events, concerts or tables at not-for-profit dinners as part of their marketing programs. “The key is listening to what the clients want and be able to provide that,” she added.


perry-sandra-mug Perry

Bose labor and employment attorney Sandra Perry observed that women-centered events like the fashion show bring clients together in a fun and relaxed environment. These events not only provide an opportunity for lawyers to build relationship with clients, they enable clients to connect with others in their respective profession. She said she has seen women who work in similar fields walk away from these events with new friendships and with additional professional resources.

“It is about adding value, not just giving legal advice,” Perry said.

Because female attorneys from different practice groups are coming together to hosts these events, there is a cross-selling aspect as well, Perry explained. The events provide lawyers an opportunity to network with clients in different areas of the firm’s business.

“One of the biggest challenges when you are a busy attorney is that you have great relationships over the phone with people, but you have to carve out time to go out and meet people too,” Perry said.

Target your market

The world has become more sophisticated about marketing, and we are seeing more niche events, explained Borshoff principal Jennifer Young Dzwonar.

“Almost everywhere when it comes to marketing, it is more successful to hone in on sections of the market than to throw it wide and hope everyone will come,” Dzwonar said. “Really key in on what interests people and go for that rather than trying to drag them to something to get their attention. Try to get to the real decision makers for your product or service. The narrower you can make that, the better the bang for your buck.”

Savvy marketing also includes structuring networking events so that they fit into women’s schedules. Crafting social events that allow women to multi-task have also been a hit.

“Professional women have a lot of demands outside of their professional lives,” Perry said. The fashion-show-centered gathering runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., giving women a chance to enjoy the event but still be home for family time or to take care of other things.

Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP hosts a reception associated with the Junior League of Indianapolis’ always-popular Holiday Mart, giving female clients the opportunity to enjoy opening night and check a few items off their holiday gift list.


hidde-kandi-mug Hidde

“They appreciate that we are thinking outside the box a bit and trying to strengthen our relationships with them through events that are more female-focused,” said Bingham partner Kandi Hidde. Clients who have been to the Holiday Mart event often call, she said, to find out if the firm is hosting it again and to get the date on their calendars. “It enhances relationships and creates more business.”

And for some female clients, activities outside of office hold no appeal.

“You can tell that sometimes an invitation to do something is a burden – they just don’t have time,” Cox said. Building an effective marketing and networking strategy means having an approach for those clients, too.

Cox makes an effort to find out what her clients like and tailors use of her marketing dollars to their individual tastes.

“I’m a big book giver,” Cox said. “I also have a client who likes the same musical artist that I do, and I always get them tickets when they (the artist) come to town. We don’t necessarily go together – that is not the point.”

Women-only marketing events are not an effort to exclude men, lawyers involved in hosting them explain; they are an effort to open doors for women who aren’t interested in some of the more traditional events to promote business development. Male partners are often involved in creating guest lists and planning.

Change continues

There is no question that the women in the workplace have changed the corporate culture in America. The National Association of Women Business Owners reports that 10.1 million companies are owned by women, employing more than 13 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in sales. Female small-business owners will create nearly 5.5 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2018, according to NAWBO.

“Our firm traditionally does insurance defense work, and it is remarkable how many more senior claims people are female now,” Cox said. “It used to be a man’s world – we are now seeing many more women in president and VP positions in claims, as well as general counsel positions at corporations.”

As more women are moving up the ranks, they are seeing the value of giving business to other women, she said, a trend that didn’t exist 15 or 20 years ago.

Jennifer Browning Holmes, president of Integrating Woman Leaders, said data shows that businesses that help women develop their potential will see the payout.

“One reason retention is horrible at some law firms is because they can’t figure out how to create an environment for women,” Holmes said.

Within law firms, these types of events are valuable to female attorneys in the early years of their legal practices.

Internally, some law firms host women’s forums or committees designed to provide mentoring and training for female associates and partners. And they often extend some of those opportunities to clients. Hidde said that Bingham’s Women’s Forum, which she co-chairs, partnered with Key4Women in 2010 and 2011 to host a speaker series titled “What Women Want,” addressing topics including life balance, how to work a room, and communication between men and women. This year the firm created its Women’s Business Forum which in August will co-sponsor Indiana University Maurer School of Law Career and Professional Development Director Caroline Dowd-Higgins for a session on personal branding.

A study released in June 2012 by Catalyst, a nonprofit research group focusing on women and work, found that today’s female professionals are, in fact, actively helping each other succeed. Statistics provided in the report dispel the Queen Bee theory – a belief that women in business are reluctant to provide career support to other women.•
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

ADVERTISEMENT