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FreeSources: How to Become a Legal Industry Trend Expert

You’ve heard of Cool Hunters, right? They’re market researchers who (according to Wikipedia) “make observations and predictions in changes of new or existing cultural trends.” In other words, they get paid to hang out with teenagers to find out what band/trend/color/fashion will be the “next big thing”…so that their clients (often companies with operations around the world) can jump on the bandwagon and up their “cool factor”. As much fun as it would be to be a Cool Huntee, legal marketers are more like the law firm equivalent of Cool Hunters – charged with keeping up with the latest industry trends, upcoming hot-button issues, new tools and legal news so that our clients (often attorneys with licenses to practice across the U.S.) can anticipate the latest trends, and leverage that information for business development purposes.

As we discussed in our previous FreeSources post, keeping up with the latest industry trends, jargon and news can be a challenge. Not every firm has the resources to send their marketers to conferences or high-priced webinars, and not every legal marketer has the time to attend them. Fortunately for us, many leaders in the legal industry analysis and trend forecasting field make their information available for free. Some of our favorite resources for keeping up with legal industry trends – without a hefty pricetag – are described below.

Altman Weil
Altman Weil is a leading management consulting services firm that works exclusively with legal organizations. In addition to providing services to individual law firms, Altman Weil regularly conducts surveys on industry trends. The results of those surveys are available on their website…you guessed it, for free.

Recently, Altman Weil published the results of their 2012 Chief Legal Officer Survey, which found that in-house counsel “are re-negotiating outside counsel fees, shifting work to lower-priced law firms, increasing in-house capacity, opting for alternative service providers and using new technology — all to develop a more cost-effective legal services model.” It’s not a surprise that alternative fee arrangements and cost reduction are top-of-mind for in-house counsel, but the CLO Survey (and many others conducted by Altman Weil) provide specific details and comments from survey respondents. Still not convinced? Check out Altman Weil’s Resources page, where you can find links to blogs, past studies, whitepapers and articles.

Association of Corporate Counsel
What’s that saying about going straight to the horse’s mouth? The Association of Corporate Counsel website is the perfect example. Think of a visit to this site as the online equivalent to eavesdropping with permission! Although some sections of the website are accessible only to ACC members, a wealth of information is available to site visitors.

We recommend checking out the site’s Legal Resources section, the free articles and reference documents, and the Value Challenge section. Recently, our most-visited page on the ACC site has been the ACC’s 2013 Chief Legal Officers (CLO) Survey, which asked more than 1,400 CLOs about their top concerns “for the past 12 months, today, and into the future, and a prioritization of their business issues.”

We try not to play favorites, but we can’t deny our crush on Lawyerist. Written by lawyers, former lawyers and two non-lawyers (because, as they say “lawyers don’t know everything”), Lawyerist keeps up with and stays ahead of the latest news in law practice. The site isn’t geared exclusively to lawyers or marketers, and offers readers different (but always intelligent) points of view.

We’re huge fans of their posts on marketing, insight into Alternative Fee Arrangements and the interactive LAB, a message board for readers to share ideas and ask questions.

We’ve saved the best for last! Who better understands the type of information that legal marketers need than other legal marketers? Who knows more about emerging products and tools than the leading vendors and early adopters?

LMA is an amazing resource for legal marketers, offering insight and guidance on the most pressing issues facing the industry. If you haven’t taken a spin around the website lately, check out the revamped bulletin board features, regular intelligence briefings and the great work being done by chapters throughout the U.S.

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One comment on “FreeSources: How to Become a Legal Industry Trend Expert

  1. [...] We’re definitely including the Litigation Trends Report in our list of FreeSources. [...]

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