The recession is probably making it tough for your law firm to sign up new clients (unless, of course, you have a bankruptcy and restructuring practice, or specialize in litigating financial fraud cases). So do you cut back on marketing? No. Instead, you adjust your marketing for the recession.
One of the smartest pieces of advice on this subject that I recently heard was from Debbie Weil, a corporate social media consultant. She said in a recent blog post: "Smart marketing in a recession is about building relationships." Exactly. Maybe you're finding it hard to get new clients to pony up retainers, but it certainly doesn't cost these prospects anything to build relationships with your attorneys. So focus on that objective. In the long run, those relationships will pay dividends when the economy turns around and there are funds to spend, deals to close, etc.
Weil further notes that social media is the perfect tool for this purpose. Social media helps us build relationships with little financial outlay - we only need to invest our time (of course, for a lawyer, time is money, but if you can't spend your time performing billable work, then at least spend it building relationships that represent "assets" for which the payoff will come in the future).
In closing, we'd be remiss not to also add that you shouldn't forget about nurturing your relationships with existing clients. Email marketing plays a vital role there because these folks have already given you permission to communicate with them. If you periodically send them material of value that helps them understand the legal issues facing their busineses and industries, it will remind them why the relationship with your firm is worth maintaining.