How can legal marketers can use litigation funding as a differentiator for their firms’ business development efforts?
Gretchen Lyn Koehler is the Chief Marketing Officer at Bentham IMF, one of the world’s most successful commercial litigation finance firms. Prior to joining Bentham, Gretchen held marketing and business development positions at four leading law firms. She is a New York State admitted attorney, certified professional coach, yoga instructor and energy medicine practitioner.
What does it take to build a marketing and business development department?
You’re responsible for sustaining a vision for how a law firm can improve and what it can become.
Also, for inspiring colleagues and partners to embrace the same vision and to work with management on barriers to change.
None of this is possible without buy-in and support from management, especially in top-down cultures. The more management can work hand-in-hand with marketing professionals and support and collaborate with them, the more success you will see over time.
What’s the difference between being CMO at a law firm vs. being one at a company?
You have more flexibility at law firms in terms of how you spend money. With public companies, you have a responsibility to your shareholders and have to be more mindful about spending resources.
A company serving the legal industry is more like a strategic partner that helps to advance the industry.
Commercial litigation finance is helping to facilitate access to justice — for companies that may have been on the receiving end of bullying behavior by larger entities — and need to have their day in court and get on with their business.
What is commercial litigation finance and how can law firm marketers use it as a differentiator when marketing the firm?
Commercial litigation finance, like Bentham IMF, provides financial resources to law firms and to litigants who are looking to bring litigation and need outside funding to afford counsel or to be able to continue on with their business while pursuing litigation.
For law firms, funding is collateralized by a portfolio of cases rather than by a single case, with a return on investment based on a successful outcome of the case(s).
Law firm marketers should know that it’s a resource. It’s something law firms are using in order to be able to get a leg up on the competition. For instance, when responding to RFPs and clients inquiring about alternative fee arrangements (AFAs).
With funding, a law firm can take a case on contingency, where they otherwise may not have been able to or willing to take on that much risk. With funding, the risk is more measured. It helps them to expand their practices and take on more plaintiff side work.
With increasing client demand for fee flexibility, litigation finance provides another pricing option law firms can offer to clients.
It can smooth out the law firm’s cash flow, especially for firms that are accustomed to taking cases on contingency where they might be waiting years for a case to reach a successful outcome.
How do legal marketers approach marketing for litigators?
When you’re a litigator you have to be in the hunt more of the time as opposed to a transactional practice where there is a more reliable stable of clients.
A lot more pitching is involved. Client relationships become much more important.
Content marketing plays a role. When you’re a litigator you need to be constantly visible and part of that is being top of mind. Producing content on a regular basis, writing about cases, the nuances in the law, video commentary, and being visible in the media, can be hugely beneficial. Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, creating an editorial calendar, tools to amplify messaging, all play an important role.
Gretchen is also a certified executive coach and here’s her encouraging takeaway: Stay curious, stay flexible, continue to be excited about where the legal industry is headed and how you can contribute.