Linda Ficano began her career in legal marketing more than 25 years ago. She is currently the Director of Business Development & Marketing for Fitzpatrick and with its impending merger with Venable, looking forward to new beginnings. As part of our series with leaders in the LMA Northeast Region, we asked her about her career path, her LMA volunteer experience and what she loves most about her job.
Tell us how you got involved in LMA leadership. How has the LMA benefited your professional development?
When my career shifted into legal marketing, I was relieved to hear that an organization existed that I just had to join! Back then it was called NALFMA, which is now LMA. Joining this organization was the best career decision I ever made. I was honored to be nominated to the board for the New York Chapter for the 2010-2012 term as a member-at-large. I served with others who inspired me to be the best I could be, and I gained many friendships along the way. At present, I’m excited to be involved in LMA National as co-chair of the CMO SIG.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’m definitely a “people person,” and I love the fact that I interact with so many different individuals throughout my day – colleagues from other departments, staff, service providers and let’s not forget – the partners and associates with whom I work. I’ve always had a creative side, and I particularly enjoy the projects that allow me to be creative. From learning what it means to brand a firm, to leading a firm in rebranding, redesigning websites and creating microsites, I’ve been able to channel some of my creativity. I also enjoy spending time within the LMA community at various networking and educational events.
What do you think is the key for success as a legal marketer today?
Adaptation. I’ve been involved in legal marketing for many years. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of my career, most firms didn’t even use the word “marketing” in job titles. The mere mention of the word “marketing” raised eyebrows. Attorneys didn’t “market” themselves. We all know that’s not the case anymore. Today’s legal marketer may have direct contact with the clients, may be the contact person for the procurement officer, he or she may report directly to the firm’s management. Departments have gone from reactive to proactive. Success means helping to bring in new clients but at the same time continuing to receive work from existing clients. We need to educate ourselves and others constantly. What changes do we see coming? How can we set our firms apart? What exactly is superior client service?
How did you get started in legal marketing?
Way back in the 1990s when I was working with the executive director at a major NY global law firm, the firm asked me if I wanted to take over a position due to a retiring staff member. I really didn’t know what the job entailed, but I was intrigued nevertheless. That firm took a chance on me, I took a chance at a new career and the rest is history. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity. It changed my life.
What is your favorite quote?
I have a poster hanging on the wall in my office with a quote from Charles Darwin that says, “It is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”