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  • October 19, 2018 1:32 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    In his Lawtomatic Newsletter Gabe Teninbaum, professor at Suffolk Law School and visiting fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project, curates the most interesting, valuable and thought-provoking of these ideas to share. Here are a few examples from recent newsletters:

    • Why is Microsoft Hosting its Law Firms in Redmond (and why it matters)an interesting piece by Zach Abramowitz.

    Subscribe to Lawtomatic

    Follow Gabe on Twitter @GTeninbaum 
  • October 14, 2018 8:03 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    By John Cunningham

    If you perform a marketing and business development function for a law firm, you probably preach to lawyers all the time: “Know your client and understand their business.”

    But how much time do you spend getting to know your own key clients in the law firm – how well do you really know the managing partners and practice group leaders? And how well do you understand their legal practice business? Before you self-diagnose, do what you would advise your lawyers to do. Ask those you serve to tell you where you can improve, and especially ask for the single biggest thing they would like from you.

    Based on my own interviews of managing partners and group leaders, I believe that most of them are in agreement about the single biggest thing they lack from their own marketing and business development groups. The general refrain goes something like this: “They need to do better at understanding our business and understanding us.” 

    Sounds ironic, does it not? But I am pretty sure the answer points to where the marketing and business development pros in law firms have their greatest opportunity to improve internal satisfaction scores.

    Of course, not every managing partner or group leader wants the exact same things from you, but there are certain themes that are common to all of your internal clients who want you to know them and their legal business a little better. Here are seven themes to consider:

    1. You should understand the language of lawyers. This does not mean that you have to be a lawyer, and it does not mean you have to talk like one. But after a certain amount of time, lawyers expect you to understand what they are saying when they talk about loan syndications, irrevocable trusts, summary judgments, opinions of counsel, or legal misclassification of employees. If you show no interest in all this “jargon” you are showing no interest in their business or the legal products they have to sell. Lawyers don’t want to have to stop and explain concepts over and over again, and they do want to know that you “get it.” If your eyes glaze over when they talk law, they know you don’t get it.
    2. You should understand how the lawyers make money. Of course, everyone knows that lawyers make money by billing for their time or their legal products. But lawyers want their in-house pros to know much more than that. Some lawyers make money by registering or challenging patents or trademarks, some make money by drawing estate plans that feature trusts to preserve and protect wealth in multiple ways, and some help companies get access to capital with the least possible risk and fewest complications. Whatever they do, lawyers – as your clients – like to know that you take an interest in their work and have a growing understanding about it over time that is much more than superficial.
    3. You should understand enough about “the law business” to understand the legal products your firm is selling. As one partner said to me once, “We’re not making widgets here – our business is a little more complicated.” So it helps if you can garner some understanding about legal products, such as private offering memoranda, securities registration statements, spendthrift trusts, summary plan descriptions and other high-end important products. You don’t have to become an expert – just show an interest and learn as much as you can over time (which will also make you more marketable to other professionals who deal in these legal instruments and products as well).
    4. You should understand the numbers. When I became an in-house general counsel, I quickly learned what the C-suite and the board of directors spent most of their time considering. It was the financial analysis of the business, often gleaned from income statements, profit and loss statements, cash flow analyses, and unit performance measures. So I made it a point to understand these financial documents, and I eventually turned the legal function from a cost center to profit center. Believe me it pays to understand how your role fits into the larger financial plan and how you can have an impact by solving problems or seizing opportunities for your firm. It also helps if you can start thinking of ways to quantify return on investment and improvements in revenue generated from your activities.
    5. You should understand the pain points and pressures affecting your lawyers. Just as LSSO general counsel panelists tell us repeatedly how important it is for legal service providers to know the challenges that clients are facing every day, lawyers in private practice want to be understood as well. Lawyers often have to satisfy not just clients, but government regulators, judges, powerful strategic partners and other parties who don’t always see eye-to-eye. They often have to rearrange their lives to meet urgent and rapidly changing deadlines and demands caused by lawsuits, judge’s orders, regulatory Leviathans and clients who live or die by being first to market and best in show. If you understand these pressures, you are more likely to ask for things at the right times and in the right ways, and you are more likely to offer “extra” assistance when critically needed and most appreciated.
    6. You should understand how your lawyers get business and from whom they get it. This seems like it should not be a problem for marketers, but practicing lawyers often express the belief that marketers don’t understand the importance of referrals from other lawyers. Because most of their new business has always come from referrals (or they at least believe that to be true) practicing lawyers want marketers to help them grow their referral networks and get more referrals. Of course, marketing and business development pros know how to reach out to clients and prospects directly, and tend to emphasize that approach. But it can help to work on all angles, including the one in which the internal client already has faith. It also helps to know which prospects are the best fits for your firm’s lawyers and are most likely to buy the particular legal products the firm sells. If the firm specializes in serving small-cap to mid-market clients in merger deals, the lawyers may consider introductions to Fortune 100 clients to be rather useless, however flashy they might be.
    7. You should understand each lawyer’s service preferences. This sort of relates to the importance of knowing your internal client’s pain points, but it is a little more than that. It is all about knowing them individually. Just as general counsel panelists tell us that they like things their own way, so do your firm’s lawyers. Some people prefer to get emails instead of calls. Some prefer in-person dialogue. Some want everything on one page, but many lawyers are detail-oriented and want to see the homework of how you reached conclusions. Some people like early morning conversations before the “rush” begins and others prefer to talk late after all the fires have been put out. It is up to you to figure out which animal you are serving, but I can tell you this about lawyers. They ALL want to see you make every effort possible to find the answers without running to them every time you have a question. The reason they turn over an assignment to you is that they have confidence that you will find the answers to questions in whatever way you have to do so (research, calling friends and experts, or checking with the information sciences and knowledge management experts in your own firm).  

    If you can invest a little more time each month in learning more about your firm’s legal business and about the individuals you are serving, I have no doubt that you will reap great rewards for doing so.

    About the Author

    For those who might want a little help understanding quirky lawyers and their arcane legal products, John Cunningham is happy to answer your questions. John is a former Vice President and General Counsel for a publicly traded company who now spends most of his time studying and writing about legal practice and legal services marketing. He can be reached via See also:

  • October 10, 2018 4:50 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    This position supports the Securities Client Development Director and Manager and the Client Development team on a wide variety of initiatives, including the execution of research, pitch materials, presentations, responses to requests for proposal, marketing content management, marketing communications, events, sponsorships and general business development activities.While supporting activities across legal departments and providing an enhanced level of support for client development activities related to the Securities department, the Client Development Coordinator is responsible for developing an understanding of department and firmwide priorities in order to properly assist with activities that support those interests. For the full job description and to apply, click the button below.

    Apply Here

  • September 26, 2018 8:33 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a preeminent, full-service law firm with offices around the world and a staff as diverse as the practice areas we support.

    Kirkland & Ellis is seeking a Specialist to support the Business Intelligence (BI) efforts of the Firm, as part of the Marketing & Business Development Department. This position reports to both the Global BI Specialist in Chicago and the West Coast Business Development Director, with additional oversight by senior members of the team. The BI group operates alongside more than 100 diverse problem-solvers and advisers dedicated to Kirkland’s overall business development, marketing and communications function. This international team provides seamless service to some of the brightest minds in the legal industry, with an emphasis on quality, innovation and responsiveness.

    Business Intelligence is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Firm, and deals with the lifeblood of strategic decision making: data. Pairing information with insight, the team equips partners with vital knowledge and drives new business initiatives forward. In this role, you will be a key member of the BI team, mining a variety of resources to create intelligence briefings, compiling competitive metrics, and managing high-level cross-marketing and targeting projects. General industry and/or practice-based research projects may also be assigned as needed. A successful candidate will have thorough knowledge of corporate transactions including M&A, litigation and IP matters. You must have strong analytical and communication skills, and be able to convey complex information simply and concisely. Attention to detail is imperative.

    Read more and apply here

  • September 26, 2018 8:25 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a preeminent, full-service law firm with offices around the world and a staff as diverse as the practice areas we support.

    The San Francisco office is seeking a Business Development Specialist.  This position supports the Bay Area, and as necessary, the West Coast Business Development Department.  The Business Development Specialist will report directly to the Business Development Manager for the Bay Area and will have a dotted line report to the West Coast Director of Business Development. The Business Development Specialist will be primarily responsible for executing initiatives included in the development plans for Kirkland’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices.    

    The individual will also handle any other special projects assigned by the West Coast Director of Business Development, which may include one or more of the following: legal directory submissions, responses to RFPs and business pitches, market research, practice area descriptions and attorney biography maintenance, CRM content maintenance, industry/client trend tracking, and general business development support.

    Read more and apply here

  • September 19, 2018 4:41 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Practical tools and timely information that will help you crank up revenues at your firm - that's what you will get at the 16th Annual RainDance Conference on June 5-6, 2019 in Chicago. 

    As a first step in achieving this goal, our two co-chairs with expertise and proven records of success in client service, business strategies and growth financing. You may remember our dynamic duo from their popular "client pitch workshop" at the 2018 RainDance Conference: Stephanie Hinrichs, Director of Client Service at Womble Bond Dickinson; and Neel Lilani, Managing Director at Orrick. 

    In her role with Womble Bond Dickinson, Stephanie serves as Director of Client Service, working closely with both attorneys and clients to initiate and expand relationships while ensuring that the firm is providing the highest quality client service. Stephanie also leads the firm's Manufacturing and Transport & Logistics Industry Sectors from the BD side.

    As Managing Director of Orrick's global corporate development efforts for technology companies, Neel drives new client opportunities through coordinated strategies across the sector. Neel frequently consults with technology companies on financing and business strategy and manages Orrick’s venture capital relationships.

    Message from our Co-chairs to you:

    “RainDance attendees are such an enthusiastic audience. We can’t wait to come back and share our experiences with you. We are already working on a business development program with workshops and sessions that will have you collaborating with your peers to come up with innovative and useful solutions to real business development problems.”  

    Don't miss out - circle June 5-6, 2019 on your calendars now for RainDance!

  • September 16, 2018 1:43 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Coming Soon - the results of the 2018 Legal Sales Uncovered: Salary & Trends Survey. Here is a sneak peak at the results. LSSO members and survey respondents will receive a complimentary copy of the full report. Additional copies will be available for purchase on our website. Join LSSO now to receive your copy of the report.

    Join LSSO

  • September 16, 2018 1:16 PM | Kirsten Lovett
    By Silvia L. Coulter Principal, Law Vision Group, LSSO Board of Advisors and Co-Founder

    Time to take some pressure off the partners. Law firms are woefully behind every other professional services business to hire sales people. A trained sales professional with a successful background will help any firm drive more revenue, capture more client share of wallet, and relieve the pressure the legal professionals face when it comes to developing business. With some exceptions, lawyers hate or at least dislike selling. And, they are generally not as good at it as a solid sales professional.  Some firms are realizing the enormous benefits of hiring salespeople and building a sales team. While there may be some initial backlash against management for heading in this direction, the right sales professionals can quickly change partner thinking. Yes, I’m talking about hiring externally-focused, client-facing sales professionals. The benefits are significant and those partners who work with seasoned sales pros realize quickly that it makes good sense to have a team to obtain new business that includes the legal pros who can talk substantive law and the sales pro who knows exactly when to move the conversation and the sales process along and close business.

    Recently the head of litigation of a global giant said, “Why would we hire someone like that who could turn around and walk out the door with our firms client contacts and go across the street and do the same thing?”  Well, this is what we expect of laterals when we hire them, isn’t it?  Bring their clients with them across the street. A seasoned sales person may have many industry contacts and can do just that—bring their contacts to the firm and make introductions.

    In the same meeting, another dept chair of a 700 lawyer firm stated, “when we first brought Philip in most of our partners were aghast that we had hired a sales professional.” “Then all of a sudden everyone wanted a piece of him and one person wasn’t enough.” “It’s amazing how well someone like him works with our partners and how we’ve increased our odds of winning business by combining his talent with our lawyers’ talent.” “We now can’t imagine not having sales people at the firm.”

    Want to know how to take your key client teams to another level and really create strategic accounts? Get the help of a sales person who is responsible for client growth. Want to win more opportunities when competing against another firm? Hire a sales professional. 

    Where does one start? Who does the sales person report to? Start by looking at the firm’s most important clients. Which one or two industries is prevalent among those which represent the top 80% revenue? Bring someone in from that industry who has strong and proven experience with selling in that industry.  This could be someone from an accounting firm or directly from the industry itself. 

    The reporting structure can be tricky. Many good and strong sales people would never dream of reporting to a marketing person. A strong marketing person with excellent management/leadership skills will be fine. Otherwise, this individual should report directly to a department chair or the managing partner. Create a reasonable set of goals for year one since it takes time to develop or transfer relationships. After that, a quarterly sales forecast of what he or she is working on is a helpful tool to begin to measure results.

    Hiring an experienced sales person may just be the best thing the firm ever did.

    About the Author

    Silvia Coulter is widely regarded as one of the legal industry’s most experienced business development, leadership and organizational culture experts. Her experience includes working as a former strategic account executive and sales leader at a Fortune 50 company, a chief marketing and business development officer of two global law firms, and consultant and facilitator to firms across the globe. She can be reached by email here.
  • September 05, 2018 6:31 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Fenwick & West is a top-tier law firm with an open and inclusive culture. With more than 300 attorneys and 400 employees in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle and New York, we work with companies on the cutting edge of technology, life sciences and cleantech. For more than four decades, our Firm has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. We are proud to have been named one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area for the twelfth year.

    Working closely with Fenwick clients, attorneys and business professionals, the Client Service Manager is responsible for developing and executing initiatives that support the firm’s efforts to institutionalize client service and maximize value in client relationships. This position can be based from our San Francisco, Mountain View, Seattle or New York office.

    Read more and apply.

  • September 05, 2018 6:29 PM | Kirsten Lovett

    Ballard Spahr has an opportunity for a veteran marketing professional to lead the business development, brand awareness, and marketing efforts in local markets, serving as the primary business development and marketing contact for our offices located in the East. As an integral part of the overall Ballard Spahr Marketing team, the Regional Business Development Manager will work closely with office managing partners to develop and execute business development and marketing programs that focus on raising the Ballard profile regionally and in their assigned markets. This role is responsible for helping to reinforce and deepen existing relationships and drive the development of new targets and opportunities. The position will report to the Director of Business Development and can be located in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Atlanta, or New York.

    Learn more and apply.

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