Students at Fordham Law Study Marketing

Silvia Hodges in JD Journal, May 10, 2012

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A group of students at Fordham Law School, with the help of professor Silvia Hodges, is marketing themselves as lawyers and they are still in school. Hodges has a Ph.d. in law firm marketing, which helps the students understand what they need to do to get their name out to the public. The students are urged to treat all of their classes as a business meeting and have to develop their own business plan. They are also required to blog often about a practice area and present practice pitches to hypothetical clients. While in class, the students are taught by law firm marketing directors and consultants instead of listening to lectures from legal scholars.

Hodges says that having a book of business will “protect partners from being deequitized, or worse, squeezed out during the recession.”

“Marketing is really important to your career,” Jordan Franklin, a second-year student, said. “It shouldn’t be a dirty word.”

Franklin has acquired a summer associate position in Florida but said he wants to begin his own firm. Franklin said that law schools assume students want to work in Big Law. “No one says you should start your own firm,” says Franklin.

Hodges said she did not have any problems convincing Fordham to teach this class but she did admit that when teaching practical issues at a law school, it does meet resistance. “Many schools hesitate offering too [many practical courses], perhaps fearing that might have too much of a vocational touch.”