Nathan Chapman, legal marketing reinvented
Firmidable’s roots go back to the 1980s when founder Nathan Chapman worked as a marketing writer and producer from his French Quarter living room in New Orleans. At the time, he met with a law firm that was simply running newspaper ads and hoping for the best.
As an analytical MBA, Nathan took a more strategic, more data-driven approach to attorney advertising. He ultimately created a set of principles that proved transformational for that first client, and subsequently for many in the legal profession.
Nathan Chapman’s “4 Legal Marketing Truths”
- Strategy comes first.
- Data analysis is the core of the strategy.
- The focus is on your law firm’s bottom line.
- Advertising is a step, but never the goal.
Before long, phones were ringing off the hook at that first law firm. The partners asked him to expand his marketing to two other states.
He soon recognized there was a glaring, unmet demand across America for this insightful marketing for law firms. Nathan crisscrossed the country listening to lawyers and their clients. It was his goal to try to understand, perhaps even better than they did, how his attorneys’ clients choose their lawyers.
When Nathan’s own sister, Katie Chapman, developed Multiple Sclerosis and needed Social Security Disability benefits, it deepened his legal marketing passion. “It’s people like Katie whom we need to reach to help,” he often said. “Legal marketing is too often about the law firms, not about the good people they represent.”
At Firmidable, a legal marketing agency he founded over 25 years ago (under the name The Marketing Center for Disability Law Practices), Nathan now leads a team of 20+ professionals, each of whom is an expert in an aspect of helping attorneys create second-to-none law practices. The team focuses on best-in-class techniques, collecting its own data to pioneer ever-new innovations.
In addition to professional achievements, Nathan has been recognized with awards by the New Orleans’ Vieux Carre’ Commission as well as nonprofit organizations for his civic work in his beloved French Quarter and New Orleans’ other historic neighborhoods, particularly during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
5 things legal marketers can learn from my sister and her quadriplegia
– Nathan Chapman, Founder, Firmidable
For someone who couldn’t use her legs, my sister, Katie Alberta Chapman, stood taller than anyone I knew.
I never heard her complain – even as Multiple Sclerosis dealt her one loss after another, until ultimately she died too young from its complications. But whatever was thrown at her, she lived and died with dignity.
Katie Chapman never wanted to give up on maintaining her independence. She’s the only person I know to run a small business out of her nursing home room (tax return filing and burning music CD mixes)! Lawyers should understand that for many of their clients, it’s not about the money – it’s about wanting to have lives of quality, independence and human dignity.
What legal marketers can learn from my experience with my sister Katie
Don’t create advertising for lawyers, create it for people like Katie.
Katie’s MS was the most dramatic thing to ever happen to our family. Put humanity in your legal marketing.
Nobody wants to be on Social Security Disability or in a wreck or to face bankruptcy. Create with a voice that stands up for the good people of America.
Write conversationally but never talk down to your audience. They are smarter than you think.
Your audience wants to know how to get back to their lives, as much as possible. The goal is not awards, settlements and benefits. It’s about life.