≡ Menu

Marketing Budgets for Attorneys
Your Investment Amount & Allocation
Is Key To Your Growth….
Discover a Simple Way To Do It That
Takes Less Than 30 Minutes a Year

When most business owners sit down to figure out a yearly marketing budget (alas, not many do), they typically spend just a few minutes on the task, and pick a dollar amount arbitrarily, with little thought on what percentage of their spending goes where.


Admit it, you don’t take the time, do you?  It’s okay though – I understand.  It’s a boring task and probably last on most of our “to do” lists.  Yet calculating a budget, and determining where you’re going to allocate it, can be an easy task.

Let me show you how.

First, you need to determine what amount you’re going to spend.  And second, where you’re going to spend it.

In regards to the amount you’re going to spend, here is the golden rule – You must spend between 2% – 15% of your yearly revenue.  This amount is not open for discussion or debate – it is a rule – and it applies to any size practice.

Spend less than 2% a year and you’re skating – just as happy-as-can-be, not interested in any growth and will never see any.

Spend more than 15% a year – You’re throwing money away and fattening someone else’s wallet.

Here’s a breakdown of what Attorneys should spend, whether you’re just starting a practice, have been practicing for a few years, or have had an established practice for more than a decade.

  • You’ve been Practicing For a Decade or Longer: At a minimum, you should be spending 2% and no more than 5% – a large percentage of your business is coming by way of referrals so excess spending is wasteful.  If your referral system isn’t delivering, then you need a refresher course – see attorney referral systems.
  • You’ve been Practicing for a Few Years: At a minimum, you should be spending 5% and no more than 10% – you’re in a “growth stage”, and the only way to do that is by taking clients away from others.  Allocation of your dollars is extremely important for you – focus on the allocation section just below.
  • Just Starting Out: At a minimum, you should be spending 10% and no more than 15%.  You’re in the “sink or swim” mode.  If your business plans don’t include a budget item for marketing, you’re going to sink…or hang on and starve.  Even if you have to borrow the money, invest in marketing your practice. Do it smartly and it’ll be the best money you ever spent.


Now let’s talk about allocation – and that’s where most attorneys will “freeze” because they don’t know where to put their money.  Most business owners, including attorneys, can get up to a 100 calls a year from firms wanting them to spend money on marketing platforms that are trumpeted as the “greatest thing since sliced bread.”  It’s no wonder you’re confused about where to put your cash.

These are the only 3 areas where an attorney should ever spend their marketing dollars. And just as important, which attorneys should focus on what areas.


    • Your Current and Past Clients:  I don’t need to go into a whole lot of detail here.  You know who they are – pay attention to them – see attorney referral systems if you need a few ideas.

      How Much Should You Allocate?

      • Those that have been practicing for a decade or longer – at least 70% of your yearly budget.
      • Those that have been practicing for a few years – at least 50% of your yearly budget.
      • Those just starting out – 10% of your yearly budget.


    • New Business Referral Sources: How do you get new business referrals?  It’s pretty simple – see attorney referral strategies for a few, easy to implement ideas.

      How Much Should You Allocate?

      • Those that have been practicing for a decade or longer – 10% of your yearly budget.
      • Those that have been practicing for a few years.  If you want to grow your business, you have to leverage referral sources.  Allocate 15% a year.
      • Those just starting out.  You need to hit this area hard – allocate 25% a year.


  • Direct Marketing Sources: This would include Internet MarketingYellowpagesRadioTV and Public Events (for example – golf outings).

    How Much Should You Allocate?

    • Those that have been practicing for a decade or longer – No yellowpages, no radio or TV.  Public events and the Internet should be your only focus.  Allocate 20% a year.
    • Those that have been practicing for a few years.  Consider the yellowpages, radio and TV (if it works for your practice area) and the Internet – particularly a web site that does very well on Google, Yahoo and MSN – you need first page rankings on all three.  Allocate 35% a year.
    • Those just starting out.  You can’t afford the yellowpages, radio or TV – think the Internet.  Allocate 65% of your yearly budget and focus solely on a web site that comes up on the first page of Google, Yahoo and MSN when someone searches for an attorney in your area.


That’s all there is to it.  That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Just choose your budget….allocate your funds….and don’t let any slick-talking salesperson alter these plans.

If you have any questions, or need specific help in allocating your marketing funds – contact me.