The Lawyer Marketing Plan: How Much Should You Spend?

The Lawyer Marketing Plan

As we mentioned in our Small Firm Marketing Basics, scheduling time for marketing is essential to growing your business. Planning your marketing budget is equally as important.

The old saying of “you gotta spend money to make money” isn’t necessarily true for law firm marketing, but it definitely helps, especially considering that your competitors are likely spending money on marketing.

While we at Small Firm Legal Marketing encourage “spending smart” over “spending more” (compared to your competitors), it’s necessary to understand the industry standard for marketing budgets.

There is No Golden NumberGraph

Unfortunately, the ideal amount of spending on marketing is different for every firm.  Highly competitive areas like Personal Injury should spend more, while cryptocurrency attorneys (or some other highly specified area of law) do not need to spend as much.

But since you’re probably looking for a hard number, here it is: law firms should not spend less than 2% of their gross revenues on their marketing budget.  Personal Injury Attorneys should spend around 5%.

The American Lawyer reports that the AM Law 200 firms spend approximately 2% of their gross revenues on marketing, and since attorneys in these firms work a lot, get paid a lot, and gross a lot, that 2% is enormous.

The AM Law 200 firms employ the “spend more” rather than “spend smart” marketing method, as many of them spend considerable amount on traditional advertising methods: Television Advertisements, Print Advertisements, Mailers, Newsletters, etc.

As a Small Firm Attorney, you do not have the resources to try every method of marketing; you need to stick to the most efficient and effective ways to bring in new clients.

In other words, you should be happy if you see your competitors’ television advertisement; they just spend thousands on something very few people are going to see.  It would have been more profitable to spend that money on Google Adwords.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Planting Money

The effectiveness of different marketing tactics will vary depending

on your practice area and the location of your firm, but above all else, you need to be able to know what’s working and what’s not.  Otherwise, you’ll never get better at marketing.

Every couple of months, you should take inventory of how much you spend in the different areas of marketing, and where your new business is coming from.  If you don’t ask how your new clients heard of your firm, you’ll never know.

If your 2% budget is creating a good return on investment, you should experiment will increasing the budget to see if the trend continues.  You’ll eventually find your sweet spot.

The Most Underused Resource

Some marketing tools don’t cost any time or money, and many lawyers overlook the most helpful resource to getting new clients: your existing clients.

Clients will be happy to recommend your services to the people they know, but most of the time, they don’t think about you.  If one of their friends has a legal problem, they might not recommend you.

You must to tell your clients that they should refer their friends and colleagues to you.  It is against most states’ legal ethics code to share legal fees with non-lawyers, but you can always offer reduced contingency fees for referrals.

Set your budgets and stick to them.  Lawyers tend to underspend and think they are “saving” money.  If your marketing plan has a positive return on investment, you’re only hurting yourself by not spending your budget.

We’ll be covering every marketing tactic for lawyers on Small Firm Legal Marketing for you to experiment with and find what works for you.


How much do you spend on marketing?  Feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.

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