What Makes a Legal Marketer a Trusted Advisor?

The ultimate goal within the legal marketing profession is to establish yourself as a trusted advisor to your lawyers. While lawyers and legal marketers are both trained in client service, writing, and business development, we legal marketers provide unique and valuable perspectives that help set our lawyers apart in a crowded marketplace. It is up to us to make those perspectives known and to provide consistently good, thought-out advice to our lawyers. Members of the Capital Chapter's Communications Committee asked our attorneys "What makes a legal marketer a trusted advisor?" Here is what they had to say.

  “What makes good marketing professionals are the same attributes that make good lawyers for clients. Marketing professionals who develop a good client service orientation towards their lawyers are the most successful and helpful. Additionally, learning substantively what the lawyers do and investing in the substance and subject matter of the practice, more than just a maintaining a superficial sense of what the lawyers are trying to accomplish is important in the same way that it is important for lawyers to learn a client’s business.” – Jim Garland, Partner in Covington’s White Collar and Cybersecurity groups

“An effective internal marketing team supports the lawyer in converting ideas and concepts into reality. No matter how brilliant the content, no matter how clever the idea, no matter how timely the development, it can’t get communicated to the client base without the help and commitment of the marketing team. The smart legal marketer knows intuitively that effective client development communication depends upon a team approach that integrates the lawyer and the marketing team.” – Michael W. Peregrine, Partner in McDermott Will & Emery’s Health Practice

“The key for marketing professionals supporting practice groups is to develop a nuanced understanding of the practice and how that practice serves and works with clients.”  – Mitchell Dolin, Partner and Chair of Covington’s Insurance Coverage Practice

 “The marketing staff that I consider my most trusted advisors listen to what am asking for and have the marketing knowledge to provide useful answers and strategize with me; they come to me and provide suggestions even when I don’t ask (not too often, but occasionally), showing me they are thinking about and looking out for my needs; and when I need something done, they are reliable and take care of it.”  –  Leslie Goldsmith, Principal in Ober|Kaler’s Health Law Group and a leader in the firm’s Payment Team

“The best relationships are ones where it’s really a team effort -- we are synced up side-by-side; working iteratively with direct and close engagement.” – Jim Garland, Partner in Covington’s White Collar and Cybersecurity groups

 “A marketing professional that strives to understand the business and legal issues that our clients face is invaluable.” – Elizabeth Lewis, McDermott Will & Emery’s Pro Bono and Community Service Partner

 “When I think about the great marketing staff that have worked with me over the years, I particularly value their investment in learning the substance of the practice area, their ability to be creative, their excellent follow-through, and not least, their collegial personalities.” – Peter Lichtenbaum, Partner and Chair of Covington’s International Trade Practice, Covington

 “Marketing staff who consistently look for ways to develop work, identify new opportunities, and increase the exposure of our practice, as opposed to being entirely reactive to ideas we generate, quickly become trusted advisors to practice leaders.  Practice growth is hard work, and the focus such marketers provide is highly valued and appreciated.” – Keith Teel, Partner and Co-Chair of Covington’s Patent Litigation Group

 “More junior people underestimate or discount the fact that they have special skills just like the lawyers have special skills. We need to know when a one-pager is better than a 20-pager.  Don’t be afraid to share your guidance on fonts, layouts, words that grab attention, etc. Trust your training and experience and recognize that lawyers are good at law and not marketing.” – Jim Garland, Partner in our White Collar and Cybersecurity groups

By Ashley Stockwell, Marketing Communications Specialist, Miller & Chevalier; Katie Munroe, Litigation Lead, Covington & Burling LLP; Gina Eliadis, Senior Marketing Manager, Ober|Kaler; Emily Flowers, Manager of Content Marketing & Communications, McDermott Will & Emery for the September/October issue of Capital Ideas.


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