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  • January 23, 2019 5:01 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    By Deborah McMurray

    Imagine this scenario:  A lawyer receives an RFP from an existing client on Tuesday who wants to consolidate the number of outside law firms from 50 to 10. The RFP is due in three weeks. You have THREE WHOLE WEEKS to try to win this work!

    According to two 2018 industry surveys, the ILTA 2018 Marketing Technology Survey[1] and the Content Pilot Flash Survey about Best Practices in Proposals and RFPs, only 25% of the nearly 170 respondents to both surveys have proposal automation tools in their firms. This means that this RFP response will likely be managed and assembled manually.

    A marketer’s typical response to a large RFP may be to start with an old proposal and “save as” the new one – then, review it page by page updating firm and lawyer minutia that have changed.

    Strategy 1:

    I challenge you to reframe your thinking and approach. A proposal is an opportunity to reset an existing relationship – to start fresh. It’s an opportunity for your firm and lawyers to be better.

    The problem with starting with existing material is that you aren’t refreshing your thinking for this particular client – you’re just focusing on the lowest common denominator as you update answers to: “how many lawyers do you have? Give us your diversity statistics. Itemize your relevant experience,” and so on.

    On Wednesday, sit down with your lawyers who represent this client and ask them, “How can we better serve this client? If we are honest with ourselves, where have we fallen short? What have we always wanted to offer them, but inertia kept us doing the same things?”

    Strategy 2:

    Dramatically shorten your proposal narrative. Take out everything that isn’t spot-on relevant to what the client is seeking. And then significantly trim what’s left.

    In the CP Flash Survey, marketers said that 93% of them include “narrative summaries of the affected services.” In other words, the services for which their firms are competing. Not surprising, but Lisa Konie, Senior Director of Legal Operations for Adobe Corporation, recently stated in an interview that “…law firms were overly verbose in responding to [RFP] requests.” She continued, “…firms and departments can get too shy about asking each other questions that would help focus firm pitches so they can provide the information that legal departments really want to know when choosing a firm. It seems that law firm lawyers, especially, are worried about sounding unintelligent or uninformed if they ask too many questions about what the law department wants in the pitch.” (The emphasis is mine.)

    Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to dump your website practice/industry pages into your proposal. To your buyer, it seems unfocused and lazy. After all, the buyer has already been on your website.

    Strategy 3:

    The client wants to understand your commitment to diversity. Be courageous, broaden your response and focus on EDI – equity, diversity and inclusion. Leigh Dance, President of ELD International, advises, “…gender, race and cultural diversity numbers should be presented NOT in a body of text unless you’re trying to hide them, but very visibly. Aspirational goals also count—for example, Eversheds Sutherland has made a commitment to reach equality by a certain year. And Accenture and Coca-Cola both have goals in reaching gender pay parity by 2022…  Be succinct and prove that your firm is really walking the talk. ‘Blah-blah’ about diversity and inclusion sounds like ‘Blah-blah’ to most buyers and just takes up space.”

    Refresh your approach to your EDI material. Create an infographic that tells your story of commitment and hope. As an example, here is Content Pilot’s EDI infographic.


    Strategy 4:

    Dramatically improve the design of your proposal template. In the CP Flash survey, a large majority of respondents use a plain, primarily text-based narrative proposal format. This design style forces clients to read (if they are inclined to do so) rather than scan.

    Now that you have trimmed your narrative and have made it easier to scan, make it more enjoyable to consume by adding relevant imagery, containers and boxes to highlight things of importance, related side-bar content, magazine-style lawyer photos, maps, charts, infographics and pops of color to highlight special features and awards. Be bold!

    Strategy 5:

    Design a head-turning winning strategy. Climb into the heads and hearts of your buyers – what are they really wanting? If the initial person doing the proposal vetting is in the procurement department, this is a tougher nut to crack. But if not, the people who will use your services and, in the case of this scenario, who know you, are the heads and hearts you must influence.

    During your Wednesday or Thursday planning meeting with your full lawyer team, here is what you discuss and include:

    1. Legal approach and business approach (You must prove you understand their business opportunities and challenges, in addition to the legal ones.)
    2. Pricing plan (Try to get more creative than your current fee arrangements. Describe the benefits of your new fee strategy.)
    3. Staffing plan (Have there been staffing snafus on this client’s existing matters? Address them and propose alternatives.)
    4. Service plan (Have there been responsiveness or quality issues? If not, good! But design a service program that highlights things that are important to them – matter updates, communication plans, teamwork and collaboration, for example.)
    5. Ensure that your experience is spot-on and relevant (Don’t include any piece of experience that isn’t relevant to this particular buyer. Once you win there will be opportunities to thoughtfully expand the relationship.)
    6. What will your competitors propose?  Why are your best ideas better than theirs? (Most law firms never think of this. This is a critical component of your strategy, fundamental to your planning process.)
    7. Rehearse to win. (Don’t regurgitate your proposal if you are lucky enough to get to the in-person presentation. They’ve presumably read it. Start fresh and be prepared to talk about them and your specific strategies and solutions, not yourselves.)

    Finally, whether you win or lose, conduct a formal win/loss debrief. 60% of the CP Flash Survey respondents said their firms don’t follow up after an RFP loss. And what does Eric Fletcher, a strategic advisor to law firms, say about that? “Six out of ten of your survey respondents are missing out on two enormous opportunities: 1) To gather additional market intel, and 2) To keep the conversation going with an important prospect.”

    Amen, brother.

    About the Author

    Deborah McMurray is the founder, CEO and Strategy Architect of Content Pilot LLC. She is a member of LSSO's Board of Editors. 

    She may be reached at 972-897-4921 or @contentpilot

    [1] Content Pilot was the third-party sponsor of the ILTA survey.

  • January 06, 2019 6:40 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Fenwick & West is seeking a Senior Business Development Manager who will help oversee a team of business development professionals and reports directly to the Director of Business Development. The position can be based from our Mountain View, San Francisco, Seattle or New York office. Fenwick’s Marketing Department is highly regarded within Fenwick, with a reputation for providing targeted, innovative and useful marketing, research and business development services. The Marketing Department group is a tight-knit team comprised of career-driven professionals. We have a very collegial environment, with low turnover. It is a roll-up-your-sleeves group where everybody—regardless of title—contributes at all levels, from strategy to daily tasks. 

    The Senior Business Development Manager’s primary purpose is to accelerate the growth of key practices by extending our attorneys’ ability to develop business from current and prospective clients. The Senior Business Development Manager will: 1) work with attorneys and business development staff to develop and coordinate business plans, sales materials and experience management efforts; 2) support partners in driving and executing on business plans; 3) be primarily responsible for high-profile RFPs; 4) organize internal business analysis, market research and competitive intelligence to identify promising opportunities for short-term and longer-term growth; and 5) recommend overall improvements to the Firm’s business development functions.

    Learn more and apply

  • January 02, 2019 2:50 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)


    LSSO and Hellerman Communications are excited to announce that nominations are now open for the 2019 Sales & Service Awards. The Sales & Service Awards salute the efforts an results from individuals/teams who have helped their firm drive revenue.

    Now is the time to celebrate your accomplishments!  Submit your nomination on or before February 15, 2019 in one or more of the following categories.

    • Sales & Service Executive of the Year – this award goes to a leader who played a crucial role in retaining clients and/or growing firm revenues in 2018. Large firm and smaller firm categories. See the nomination form for more details.
    • Sales & Service Team of the Year – this award goes to a team who played a crucial role in retaining or  growing firm revenue in 2018.  Large firm and smaller firm categories. See the nomination form for more details.

    Did you or your team play a crucial role in growing firm revenue or improving client service? Did you lead efforts to retain an "in jeopardy" client? Did you initiate a new client relationship or  implement new technology to benefit the firm? We want to hear from you!

    Award: The winning executive and a representative from each team will receive a free registration to RainDance 2019 and may be asked to participate in a Q&A panel at the conference. All winners will receive a one-year membership to LSSO, an award and a badge for digital/print use.

    See past winners and learn more here: Sales & Service Awards

  • December 22, 2018 8:02 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

    Monday, April 8 to Wednesday, April 10, 2019
    8:00 AM to 5:30 PM (Eastern Time)
    Atlanta, Georgia

    Event Type: Conference

    Expand your skill set with concrete ideas and strategies that will increase your value to your organization and help you tackle your day-to-day challenges at the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

    LSSO members receive the LMA member registration pricing.

    To register call 1-877-562-7172 or visit and quote the exclusive LSSO registration code B00-810-810FX03.

  • December 19, 2018 11:28 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Thought provoking Attorney at Work article by John Hellerman and Beth Cuzzone on the biggest takeaways from the inaugural LSSO Legal Sales Uncovered: Salary & Trends Survey: 

    Serving up Strategy? Save Law Firm Sales Pros a Seat at the Table

    Learn more about the Survey

  • December 16, 2018 8:15 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Ballard Spahr LLP seeks a dynamic and successful marketing and business development professional to join the Ballard Spahr team as the Proposal Specialist supporting the firm’s efforts to respond to proposals within the guidelines of firm strategy, business development, and client relationship management goals. The successful candidate will report directly to the Proposal Manager, while working collaboratively with the practice group and regional business development teams.  This job position can be located in either our Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix or Salt Lake City offices.

    This individual will be an important part of our Marketing and Business Development team and will be independently managing high profile RFP responses, working directly with Business Development Managers on strategy and positioning, as well as key stakeholders across legal departments.  In addition, this position will maintain proposal milestones schedule such as issue and review dates, kickoff meetings, planning sessions, drafting and review, and delivery dates ensuring (i) full understanding of business requirements and strategy; (ii) a smooth production process; (iii) an intelligent, professional, accurate and compelling final product; and (iv) timely delivery of the finished product.

    Learn more and apply here.

  • December 16, 2018 7:32 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    16th Annual RainDance Conference

    June 5-6, 2019


    Mansfield Rule Business Development Mini-Hackathon

    Get ready to ideate! The Diversity Lab will lead us in a"Mini-Hackathon"using the principles of the Mansfield Rule Certification to generate creative ideas that boost diversity and inclusion in business development. You will team up with your peers to strategize in this facilitated, creative “competition." You will have the opportunity to take the winning ideas (and all of the ideas!) back to your organization to boost diversity.

    About the Mansfield Rule

    The Mansfield Rule Certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and attorneys of color for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, senior lateral hiring, and participation in formal pitch meetings. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. Learn More

    Register Now

  • December 09, 2018 6:04 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Hill Ward Henderson is hiring a Marketing Manager in its Tampa, FL office.

    This individual would lead marketing initiatives, under the oversight of the Director of Business Development & Marketing, and manage and implement programs relating to marketing the firm as a whole, as well as individual practice groups. Internal communications are also included.

    Learn more and apply here

  • December 09, 2018 6:01 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    In January 2019, Marketing Partner Forum descends upon The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California for a three-day summit on law firm marketing and business development designed for the industry’s top business professionals and rainmakers. Conveniently situated near John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA), Laguna Niguel is the ideal backdrop to launch a new era of industry-leading content focused on profitability and client development in a dynamic and competitive legal services market.

    Highlights of event:

    • Our content reflects the experience and sophistication of our international audience in terms of rigor, ambition and scope
    • Attendees can interact directly with senior clients and network for new business
    • Refresh and reflect at our Wednesday Welcome Luncheon and Friday Bloody Mary Brunch

    Click here to view the full agenda. LSSO members receive a 15% discount on registration.

    Keynote speaker:
    Dr. Dambisa Moyo, Global Economist and Best-Selling Author

    Dr. Dambisa Moyo is a pre-eminent thinker, who influences key decision-makers in strategic investment and public policy. She is respected for her unique perspectives, her balance of contrarian thinking with measured judgment, and her ability to turn economic insight into investible ideas. She holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford, a Masters from Harvard, and is recognized for fresh and innovative ideas as the Author of three New York Times Bestselling Books.

    LSSO Members Receive a 15% Discount ~ Register today!
  • November 25, 2018 3:54 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    The Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications will be responsible for strategic oversight and implementation of the firm’s marketing and communications efforts across multiple U.S. offices. The position is focused on execution of all related activities, including supervision and coordination of firm marketing events (national and local), directories submissions, advertising and communications initiatives. The role will be based in our Northern New Jersey office.

    Learn More and Apply Here

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