"Seminars are not cheap to do," he said. "You've got to find a venue and then give them a little wine and cheese and light appetizers. If you're going to find a place with some cache and appeal, that's going to get expensive."
He continued: "The ones who have really figured out how to make seminars work are the firms that have the flowing access to valuable information only they can provide. And they have access to a potential client base whose businesses rise and fall based on this information. And on top of that, they know how to throw a great party."
In addition to cutting-edge information, firms can also offer seminars that give clients access to public officials who run agencies that help regulate the corporate clients in attendance.
Diane Whitney, head of Pullman & Comley's environmental group, spoke of a pair of seminars held for clients and friends.
The first, a breakfast at the Hartford Club last year, featured an appearance by Daniel Esty, the commissioner of the new state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In May, the firm held a follow-up seminar for clients and friends, who were given the opportunity to question Esty and members of a Pullman & Comley panel on recent developments in energy and environmental law.
Whitney, who organized the event, said she will continue to look for more opportunities to connect clients with decision-makers. "I like doing seminars," she said. "I think there is a real value in face-to-face presentations and it is very effective from a marketing standpoint."
Gauging the return of an investment on a seminar can be tough to measure.
"You never know why someone walks in the door [of a law firm to do business], but it might have been because you met them seven months ago," she said. "I always enjoy when I see someone and they say, 'That was a great seminar.' That's always very encouraging."