Nicole Steckman is a Business Development Coordinator at BuckleySandler LLP. She began her career as a Program Coordinator at the Kansas Bar Association focusing on continuing legal education (CLE). Later, Nicole began working with the Georgetown Law Center in marketing and business development for the CLE department. As the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Georgetown, Nicole focused her efforts on direct mail, email, and social media initiatives to promote Georgetown’s CLE programs and writing workshops.
I had the opportunity to talk with Nicole about her current position with BuckleySandler where she manages awards, ranking, and Chamber submissions among other firm priorities.
How has your role evolved in your time at BuckleySandler?
BuckleySandler is a “super boutique” primarily focused on financial services. Our department currently consists of three business development and marketing professionals supporting 150 attorneys over four offices. In my role, I focus on the awards and ranking submissions, event planning, event communications, event business development strategies, and competitive intelligence. While the focus of my role has remained the same, my ability to deliver and the amount of work I receive has increased as I earned the trust and respect of the attorneys I work with. In order to be an effective member of a business development and marketing team in a law firm, it is important to build and maintain relationships with the attorneys.
What is the biggest challenge you experience in your day to day role?
I think the biggest challenge is trying to think like an attorney. My CLE background helps with this challenge since I had experience working with attorneys in those roles. However, in working with attorneys, it is important to take a step back and think of a project, a proposal, or other initiatives in the way they think about it. This doesn’t always come naturally to those in marketing roles but it is an important part of the process.
Since the focus of this issue is awards, rankings, and Chambers, can you offer any recommendations or insights into your personal process or what makes you successful in this endeavor?
Part of my role is to work on a variety of submissions including Chambers, Best Lawyers, Legal 500, and other listings that are more interest based such as a listing of “40 under 40.” I find that people don’t often like being in this role; however, it is important to keep in mind that being involved in this process makes a person a more valuable member of their team and firm overall. The person who compiles the submissions has the largest wealth of information, which allows them to leverage the information to connect the right people, suggest article submissions, etc. I have the best snapshot of what my firm and the attorneys do. The information I collect is like sitting on a goldmine of what my firm is.
One of the best tips I can provide is to help those reviewing the submission connect the dots. The people reviewing submissions may not be experts on the practice’s focus. In your submission, help them understand why the things you are telling them are important. For example, I try to highlight matters that they can easily understand the importance of. If a matter gets a lot of media attention, then it is easy for a reviewer to understand why that is significant. Additionally, I include a “significance” bullet point in my submissions. This bullet point is bolded and easy for the reviewer to see. In this section, I focus on why this information is important to the reviewer (i.e. precedence setting, media attention, etc.)
Have you read any good books lately that you would recommend to other LMA members?
I really focus more of my attention on legal industry blogs. A few blogs that I would recommend are Real Lawyers Have Blogs, The Legal Watercooler, and Attorneys At Work. However, to follow the theme of the issue, a great blog that focuses on surveys, awards, and rankings is 393 Communications.
By Whitney Krebs, Business Development & Marketing Coordinator, FaegreBD Consulting, for the March/April Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.