By Christina Royle, Marketing Coordinator, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston
Firms invest significantly in their lawyers. When lawyers move to another firm, go in-house or leave the legal industry it is important to leverage alumni relationships and develop opportunities that will increase firm revenue. Alumni relationships are valuable and can ultimately lead to in roads for pitches and clients. Does your firm have a newly launched program, and are you in-search of new strategies and initiatives? There is so much ground to cover; where do you begin?
Graziella Reis-Trani, Alumni Program Manager at White & Case LLP, and Amanda Stipe, Global Alumni Relations Manager at Latham & Watkins LLP, presented “Strategies for Launching and Measuring the Impact of Your Law Firm Alumni Program” at the 2019 LMA Annual Conference. During this presentation, the speakers shared strategies for creating an alumni program, measuring and reporting on the investment, how to develop business development opportunities from an alumni program, and how to collaborate effectively with other departments within your law firm.
Launching an Alumni Program: Alumni #basics
What is an Alum? For starters, your firm will need to define “alumni.” For example, are summer interns considered alumni? If those interns receive a job offer at another firm and accept, would he or she still classify as an alumnus? It’s critical to form an Alumni Committee to ask and answer the critical questions to your attorneys such as, “Why are we doing this?” and “What do we want to get out of this program?”
After establishing the basics and defining what an alumni is for your firm, you must maintain accurate, robust alumni information within your firm’s CRM system. Cleaning up the data is a must, and adding class year can be helpful. Having an alumni page or section on a firm’s website can be beneficial to post alumni news such as events, newsletters and other communications. Stipe suggests to start off small with two alumni events annually, and build from there. It is important to have dedicated newsletters and other communications that can be sent to your well-maintained alumni distribution list.
Launching an Alumni Program: Alumni #goals
Form a dedicated alumni team to be your brand ambassadors and raise brand awareness to fuel your program. Reis-Trani and Stipe both emphasized that while you should have a page on your current firm website or have a separate dedicated alumni website, making sure you have a team of people who are advocating and communicating the messaging throughout this ever-evolving alumni program journey is first priority.
Integrate alumni into your business development activities is a collaborative strategy that will be beneficial. Have an exit coaching strategy in place at your firm, and work with HR to be sure you have the key players in on the exit to enhance the opportunity. When an attorney goes in-house or to a different firm, it is important to have someone reach out to them to gain intel, because this could ultimately lead to in-roads – leading to pitches and ultimately to generated revenue for your firm.
Tracking ROI: From #basics to #goals
Track the number of alumni events, attendance and registration rates for events, and other valuable analytics such as open rates and click rates of alumni newsletters and communications along with your number of connections and engagement on social media. Create benchmarks and measure on an ongoing basis. Determine what is working well to create opportunities for pitches and revenue for your firm and what isn’t.