Co-authored by Rebecca Edwards, Business Development Manager, McGuireWoods LLP
One of the key aspects of being an effective member of your legal marketing team is to know and understand all of the resources available to you. A recent survey conducted by BTI suggests that resource constraints are hindering law firm growth. Successfully juggling pitches, events and directory submissions while staying focused on achieving strategic objectives can be accomplished by tapping into and leveraging all of your firm’s resources.
With this in mind, it is crucial to understand what can be streamlined and who you can tap for assistance – no matter the size of your firm. For maximum success, cultivate these relationships:
- Secretaries/Practice Assistants: These professionals should be your best friends. Their help is critical with a variety of projects, such as adding and editing contacts in your firm’s CRM.
Scenario 1: You have to reach a lawyer to get their approval on a directory submission, but can’t get a response. The secretary knows where that lawyer is and how to get in touch with them.
Scenario 2: You want to set up a meeting in your office with potential clients and several lawyers are expected to attend. The clients have a limited amount of time and so do the lawyers. How do you get all of them together into a conference room, even for just a few minutes? The secretaries know the lawyers’ schedules and can help you find times when everyone is available. The trick is to work around the clients’ schedules. Often the lawyers’ secretaries liaise with the clients’ secretaries and can help with scheduling.
- Accounting/Finance: Accounting holds the key to all the data.
Scenario 3: You want to begin an experience collection initiative. Accounting houses all new matter intake. Begin a conversation about how you can gain access to this information. By receiving this, you will be 80% closer to having the information you need, as you will know clients/lawyers/matter type and, usually, estimated fees.
- Facilities: Don’t stress out at the thought of hosting a 100-person client event; make sure you know who has the keys to the building.
Scenario 4: You want to host a rooftop reception but don’t know where to start. Your firm’s facilities team is usually the most connected in terms of knowing who to contact for assistance. For starters, they know what dates/times the rooftop is open. Also, they can advise on which conference room(s) will be open during the preferred day, in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Facilities often works hand-in-hand with caterers and could help you make a connection if you don’t have one already. They can also help coordinate to make sure the overall office space is clean and that guests have easy access into the building (and up to the rooftop).
- Reception: The receptionists are in-the-know about which meeting spaces are open, which secretary works for which partner and other pertinent information.
Scenario 5: There’s an in-town event that numerous prospective clients will be attending. Several partners have approached marketing with the intent of inviting these clients to the office for introductory meetings. Reception can book space and help with pointing out the appropriate staff to provide support for these meetings – hospitality, facilities, secretaries, etc.
- Mailroom: Never underestimate the importance of the mailroom staff. If ever there were behind-the-scenes people at a law firm, they are it.
Scenario 6: Your firm is having a signature event in a city where your firm doesn’t have an office. You have a lot of giveaways to package and send – not to mention firm-branded brochures, nametags and much-needed onsite office supplies. Your mailroom staff can help you with your packing needs – just make sure they know exactly where your materials should go and to whom. They can also update you regarding the time for your office’s daily FedEx/UPS/etc. pick-up. Be sure, if you use one of those carriers and your mailroom team prints the packing slip, they know the specific date by which your shipment should arrive at its final location.
Scenario 7: A few lawyers are meeting with prospective clients within the next half-hour. They send you a lengthy PDF they want printed to hand to the client in-person. The mailroom staff often serve as a printing facility for large requests such as this – don’t be afraid to use their support. Make sure they know how many copies to print, as well as other pertinent info (color vs. black and white, double-sided, if it’s a rush job, where to deliver the print-outs and to whose attention).
- Office Manager: It’s a good idea to always keep the office manager looped in to marketing events that take place within the office, regardless of how many people will be attending or what the occasion will be. By giving the manager a heads up, he/she could be an ally in case last-minute problems arise.
Scenario 8: Let’s go back to the scenario in the aforementioned reception example. But this time, the firm’s new class of first-year associates will be visiting the office the same day and will thus require meeting space of their own. Your office manager can help sort out which conference rooms are open and, if none are available, provide assistance with making other space within the office available. (Beyond that, he/she could offer suggestions for nearby coffee shops, restaurants and other points of convenience.)
When coordinating efforts with resources from other firm departments, it’s always a good idea to follow-up with colleagues after a major project and thank them for their cooperation. While it’s fresh in your mind, send a thank-you email to them and let them know how crucial their efforts were in making your project or event a success. (While you’re at it, copy their supervisor so he/she knows about the extra work that was poured into the assignment – thank them, too.)
Those of us in marketing stress to our lawyers the importance of outreach to their clients, but – in this vain, let’s think of the firm’s resources as clients, too, and practice what we preach.
By Adam Hopkins, Marketing Coordinator, Dechert LLP, and Rebecca Edwards, Business Development Manager, McGuireWoods LLP