business development Case Study: Joshua Brinen, Brinen & Associates

“Meet people; press flesh; get gigs.” According to Joshua Brinen, the age-old process of marketing and lead generation for lawyers hasn’t changed much throughout the years. Yet the entire dynamic of how lawyers like Brinen are meeting people and “pressing flesh” has changed dramatically.

When he started Brinen & Associates as a tiny, bootstrapped tax and corporate law firm two decades ago, business development was less complex. Early on, as he was networking himself into the New York area business scene, Brinen was honing his strengths and improving his messaging at every networking event. This ongoing effort eventually yielded “enough gigs to get an office.”

As business grew, business development became an essential element to sustaining growth and operations. Brinen reflects on how law firm marketing has evolved over the last twenty years since he started his firm:

In 2000, if you weren’t Martindale-Hubbell listed, you were disqualified from consideration; by 2006, if your firm didn’t have a website, you were disqualified…in 2009, lack of content and basic interactivity got you disqualified…today, absence from digital marketing and social media gets you disqualified.”

Brinen points out that it is the decision-makers among prospective clients that have been driving this evolution in law firm marketing. Tech-savvy millennials are now shopping for legal services utilizing the web and social media. “These are increasingly the leaders and founders of new businesses, and therefore a core client constituency of mine.”

The common theme to the historical sequence described by Brinen – Martindale-Hubbell, website, digital marketing and social media – tracks the evolution of law firm marketing and business development. Thanks to today’s social and digital technologies, law firms now have more control and can reach out directly to prospects to communicate their services and “express the firm’s personality”.

The Brinen & Associates website certainly conveys Joshua Brinen’s personality, replete with daily quotes and routinely updated blog posts pertaining to current news and relevant legal and business topics for his target audience. The frequently updated website serves as his primary tool for communicating thought leadership in his area of practice. His social media strategy is designed to draw leads using valuable and educational content on his website and promoted through social channels.

Brinen maintains an active presence across all social media channels but he points to Twitter as his most productive platform for generating leads. He explains that his activities on social media have “increased my exposure outside of New York City and raised my professional profile considerably.”

All law firms must contend with the need to continually market themselves to develop new business. For the largest firms, retaining a dedicated in-house marketing staff is a given. But for smaller firms Brinen describes the classic dilemma – “you need to build it or buy it.” For Brinen & Associates the best decision was to “buy it.”

But “buying,” or outsourcing, a marketing department doesn’t absolve the law firm from deep involvement in all aspects. The quotes, tweets, website content and blog subject matter all come from Brinen. “It is critical to maintain a consistency and regularity in managing my digital presence, and that’s why a marketing team is important to me. Good2bSocial helps me to understand the best tactics and nuances of marketing online and is a great partner for managing my digital marketing initiatives. But it is up to me to keep the content flowing, and that takes an ongoing commitment.” That commitment extends beyond prolific publishing of new content; Brinen makes sure to respond to every tweet and comment he receives from the social media community.

Responsiveness to new relationships made through social channels helps Brinen convert mere followers to active prospects and new clients. This is the new “meet people, press flesh” business development dynamic for the 21st century law firm. It’s working for Joshua Brinen. It can work for your firm too.

Check out how Joshua Brinen communicates the personality and thought leadership of his firm: visit Brinen & Associates.

If you are a legal professional or business executive looking to enhance your online presence through digital marketing and social media, begin with a free assessment of your current situation and check the pulse of your competitors online; visit us and provide some basic information – we’ll respond with an actionable evaluation and recommendations. 

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