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Do you have 2000 friends?

OK, my “summer vacation” has ended and it’s back to writings some blogs. Without further ado, I wanted to start off the school year talking about an asset that is vastly underused in most law firms – the firm Contact List.

Every law firm has a contact list, and in many cases, multiple contact lists. Unfortunately, few firms manage these lists proactively or treat them as actual firm assets. In actuality, the firm contact list should be a cornerstone of a law firm’s marketing efforts, given that referrals are the most effective source of new cases for a majority of lawyers.

A successful firm contact list must be centralized, must capture sufficient contact information, and must be proactively managed.

  • Centralization – Whether a law firm has 1 attorney or 100+ attorneys, the firm contact list must be centralized. In many environments, individual lawyers manager their own “book of business” and contact lists. In these situations, a process to aggregate the lists of the individuals on a regular basis must be established.
  • Capturing sufficient information – It’s surprising how many firms still don’t capture email addresses of their clients, referral attorneys or friends of the firm. If you aren’t capturing this info, it’s a good time to start. Aside from email addresses, you also should be capturing “contact type” for each contact – so you know whether they are a client, friend of firm, referral partner, etc. In the case of lawyers and medical professionals, you might also want to identify the practice area.
  • Growing the list – Unfortunately, the contact list does not manage or grow itself. A law firm must proactively grow it, whether this is done by having the administrative staff enter business cards information from contacts met at meetings, bar functions, etc. or by giving firm associates specific goals to help grow the list through their networking efforts. Track progress on a quarterly basis.

Often managing the firm contact list is a task left for another time or for someone else to worry about. Left unattended, the effort will just get bigger, and you will lose a valuable opportunity. Start now, add information continuously, and soon, you will be able to use the list as an asset.