A Public Life-When Law Firms Test the Capital Markets

By Stickel, Amy I. | Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, August 2007 | Go to article overview

A Public Life-When Law Firms Test the Capital Markets


Stickel, Amy I., Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing


The idea of the law firm partnership is the antithesis of the corporate, publicly traded company--and that attracts many lawyers and marketers to the field. But all that will change some day for U.S. law firms, according to experts. After all, it's already happened in Australia, with the recent initial public offering of a law firm, and the United Kingdom is clearing the way for firms there to go public.

"This train is not going to be stopped," says Gerald A. Riskin, co-founder and partner in Edge International. "It's too lucrative for firms. The current partners will make a load of money."

An IPO, and the huge infusion of cash that it could potentially bring, will change many aspects of the ways firms operate--including a potentially profound change in the way law firms view the marketing department and the role it plays. Slater & Gordon, the Australian plaintiff 's firm that went public in May, raised $29 million when it went public, and the stock has continued to perform well. Among the uses of its new public capital, the firm listed "a more extensive advertising and marketing program to further build the Slater & Gordon brand as a driver of new client enquiries" in its prospectus to potential investors.

Flush with new equity, law firms would most likely hire more, and even more sophisticated, marketers. "A lot of Wall Street firms value growth," says Lisa R. Smith, a vice president at Hildebrandt International Inc. "And firms will put more of a premium on hiring high-level people at every level."

A Boon for Marketers

For some marketers, working for a publicly traded law firm could offer the best of all worlds--the chance to do cutting-edge marketing work in the field of law. As a publicly traded entity, attorneys may actually shake off some of their more old-fashioned notions about the value and role of the marketing department.

"It will be more about discipline and more structured decision-making," says Smith.

"It might result in [marketers] getting permission to do more," agrees Riskin. The traditionally risk-averse nature of attorneys may be trumped by the need to think like corporate denizens and satisfy shareholders and Wall Street." It could be a wonderful time for marketers," he says.

And Smith and Riskin agree that the law-firm IPO trend is contagious--a second firm in Australia, Integrated Legal Holdings Inc., has filed to go public. And in the United Kingdom, the Legal Services Bill is expected to pass later this year. By 2010, firms there could go public.

But if the question is when, not if, law firms go public in the United States, it will still be some time off. Smith predicts it could be 10-15 years. "The regulatory hurdles are significant," she says, pointing to the 50 different bar rules in 50 different states as among those challenges.

But simply adding more money to a firm's coffers won't necessarily change the lawyers' mindset, says Riskin, who questions whether a publicly traded law firm would--in most cases--be good for lawyers or investors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Public Life-When Law Firms Test the Capital Markets
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.