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Law Firms Are Increasingly Using Case Studies to Build Client Trust

Case studies are one of the most powerful forms of marketing communication.  This is hardly a controversial stance; a survey of 600 marketers by the B2B Technology Marketing Group found that case studies were viewed as “the most effective tactic and format”. But while they are widely deployed in the tech industry, case studies are far less common in legal.

That’s changing, as more law firms realize the immense potential. For this reason, case studies were included in the “2020 Legal Marketing Trends Report”, which identifies the year’s most significant developments.

There are many differences between marketing a SaaS platform and marketing a law firm, of course, but let’s look at the commonalities. In both industries, marketers need to demonstrate that a service solves a problem. They need to articulate an approach and show how this provides value to clients.  

Too many law firms expend all their efforts telling prospective clients why they are great. Case studies show why a firm is the best choice. They go beyond vague claims about “client service” to show what that looks like in action. They offer concrete evidence that a firm has what it takes to solve complex problems and they do so in the form of a compelling narrative with a problem, a cast of admirable characters, and a resolution.  

Why has the legal industry been so slow to embrace case studies? Client confidentiality is a real concern. But often this barrier is less absolute than imagined. Ask your clients—you might be surprised how many are willing to speak openly about their experience with your firm.

It is interesting that law firms, which are built on the expertise of their people, tend to avoid telling stories and putting a human face to their marketing. You can often find more emotive storytelling from a financial tech company than from a corporate law firm. Part of this is the legal industry’s aversion to risk and the widespread belief that it’s better to be safe and boring than flashy and gimmicky. 

The truth, however, is that people are expecting more concrete information from the companies and firms they interact with. The internet has trained us to check reviews, rating, testimonials, and case studies before making purchasing decisions. We no longer accept marketing claims at face value. Instead, we look for social validation.

Purchasing legal services is not the same as filling up a shopping cart on Amazon, of course. It’s far higher stakes. This means that social validation and concrete evidence are even more important.  

In 2020, we’ll see more firms investing in video case studies. Video production is costly and some firms will have sticker-shock. But others will see the value in investing in core marketing content that can be repurposed for blog posts, newsletters, advertisements, podcasts, pitches, and proposals.

To choose your firm, clients need to know you and they need to trust you. Trust begins with a good story.

© Copyright 2020 fSquared MarketingNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 49

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About this Author

Lynn Foley, F2 Marketing, Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, legal design, law firm
CEO & Founder

Lynn Foley is the CEO and Co-Founder of fSquared Marketing, a marketing consulting firm with expertise in client development, digital strategy and execution, strategic planning and brand visibility for law firms. Lynn has over 20 years of hands on strategic marketing and business development experience, and has held senior roles at market leading companies including White & Case LLP, JPMorgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP.  Since...

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