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THE LEGAL marketplace is competitive and lawyers need to make "client development efforts" to keep ahead of the game, the ABA's advertising commission says.
Staff counsel to the commission William Hornsby told lawyers the stigma attached to advertising was unfounded and theories that good lawyers did not need to advertise had been overturned by the competitive marketplace of the 1990s.
"Our research shows that consumers respond to advertising," said Hornsby. "The more information you provide the more successful your company is likely to be."
Firms considering advertising their services should conduct surveys, speak to clients and commission independent research, he said.
"There are many people who will advise that it is inappropriate to advertise, that it is not the thing to do. I am not one of those.
"Our research shows that the legal community is not wise about the information that clients want," he said.
"The clients need to know how they can get to you and what you have to offer."
The ABA has launched a new on-line computer service offering members 24-hour access to the association. ABA Network, described as the "next evolution" of the organisation's on-line system, has been designed to cater to the growing number of people joining the information superhighway. ABA director of electronic communications services Patrick Jones, said market surveys and meetings with interest groups showed members wanted easy access to information about the ABA and the services it offers.