This post was written by Gregg Wirth, content manager for the Legal Executive Institute, Thomson Reuters

Law firms’ marketing and business development efforts are becoming more important in today’s competitive legal marketplace, according to several speakers at the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s 22nd Annual Law Firm Marketing Partner Forum. And this is especially true as pressures mount for these units to show they can add to their firms’ profitability, improve productivity and lead innovation.

The theme of this year’s Forum was Building Collaborative Strategies Across the Firm and with Clients, and many of the panels and discussion groups focused on the growing importance of such cross-firm collaboration. “There are many islands within firms that are being bridged together by marketing and business development partners’ collaborative efforts,” said Silvia Coulter, a principal consultant at LawVision Group. “And that boosts the overall effectiveness of the firm and adds to the growing importance of marketing partners within the firm.”

Indeed, while much of the Forum was devoted to issues of how to encourage firm collaboration to improve marketing and business development efforts, the overarching industry trends of slower growth, client-driven pricing and increasing competition from tech-savvy non-traditional legal service providers were never far from topic.

Fortunately, the three-day Forum also gave attendees key tools and strategy suggestions necessary to help them react positively to these pressures and more clearly focus their firms’ marketing and business development response as they strive to get out their message to clients in a crowded marketplace.

For example, the keynote presentation by Eric Siegel, founder of Predictive Analytics World, and entitled, Predictive Analytics for Marketing, did just that, showing attendees how to use predictive models to better target clients with high-response generating messages while cutting overall marketing costs. “Prediction is really the Holy Grail of marketing,” Siegel told the audience.

Attendees also got some hands-on practice with workshops and break-out discussions with some of the legal industry’s top experts on subjects ranging from using collaboration to turn your firm into a marketing machine to developing collaboration efforts around such key issues as client pricing.