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Best Practice: Law Firm Marketing - Marketing a Litigation Defense Practice

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney general practice firm located in Dayton, Ohio. Two of our attorneys focus their practice on personal injury defense and the others are transactional attorneys. While the practice is doing well overall, our litigation work is dropping off. I would appreciate any ideas that you have pertaining to marketing a litigation defense practice.

A. Insurance carriers are a leading purchaser of insurance defense services – but so are self-insureds – big box retainers, national restaurants and food chains, sports arenas, shopping centers, and municipalities. Typical decision-makers:

  • General Counsel
  • Panel Counsel Members
  • Litigation Managers
  • Risk Managers
  • Claims Managers

The law firm needs to know who they want to target and often have to make application to get on the panel/list of approved counsel, respond to RFP’s, submit proposals, etc. to get the business.  In other words, the law firm needs to first get on the list. Then the law firm needs to cultivate relationships with the typical decision-makers.  This is getting harder as many companies have policies against such other than education formats such as seminars, presentations, etc.

Some marketing tools needed to market a defense litigation practice:

  • Target Client List/Action Plan
  • Firm Resume
  • RFP Screening Policy and Procedure
  • Proposal Shell Document
  • Presentations to client industry groups
  • Published articles to client industry groups
  • Interviews with national publications
  • Structured Marketing/Business Development Plan – Firm Level and Individual Level
  • Appropriate directory listings, speaking or publishing opportunities, marketing to current clients, and being proactive in terms of internet and social media marketing.
  • Public relations to obtain media coverage.

I would start by developing a target client list, an action plan, and go from there.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC, ( is a past chair and member of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics and author of The Lawyers Guide to Succession Planning published by the ABA. For more information on law office management please direct questions to the ISBA listserver, which John and other committee members review, or view archived copies of The Bottom Line Newsletters. Contact John at

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Morgan Yingst
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