Jennifer Dolan, CMO of Dickstein Shapiro, on Strategic Initiatives and Her Path to CMO

Jennifer Dolan.jpgWho better to discuss Big Ideas and Strategic Initiatives with LMA than Jennifer Dolan, Dickstein Shapiro’s Chief Marketing Officer?  Jennifer was happy to share her thoughts on the strategic initiatives her Firm is implementing as well as the strategies she used to rise to the CMO role. 

Jennifer said that like most firms, Dickstein’s strategic initiatives are focused on getting and staying close to clients in order to see profitable growth.  But where Dickstein separates from the rest is in its break from uniform management of business services.  "The Firm is truly committed to innovation,” Jennifer says. Highly specialized, nontraditional strategies for each practice area cut across finance and pricing, recruiting, marketing  and business development efforts, and have made the Firm nimble, able to adjust quickly and seize opportunities in the marketplace.   When asked about big ideas she sees industry-wide, Jennifer says that she believes the gap between finance and business development will continue to close, creating an environment where professionals from both disciplines collaborate on creative tactics to show clients a firm’s willingness  to “get in the boat with them and become true partners."

I asked Jennifer what types of strategic initiatives she put in place as she charted her path to Chief Marketing Officer.  Her response was quick and clear – "say ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way."  Jennifer cut her teeth in New York’s vibrant corporate community, holding a number of marketing and business development roles.  When she moved to DC almost eight years ago, Jennifer was able to seamlessly apply her BD and sales support experience to the legal industry.  The most strategic thing she did along the way was to step up and volunteer for as much as she could.  “It didn’t matter to me that I didn’t know the people or subject matter or that I hadn’t done a particular task before.  I just dove right in.  And in so doing, I expanded my network, my portfolio and was able to further develop my skills,” she says.   Jennifer relays that stepping into roles that truly interested her made her a well-rounded candidate.  To those legal marketing professionals who aspire to the CMO level, she encourages experience in a variety of business development and marketing functions to better your leadership and your prospects for career advancement.  

Jennifer also relays that she had incredibly strong leaders and mentors at Wilmer Hale, where she spent seven years prior to joining Dickstein Shapiro, who encouraged her to get involved in everything including LMA, where she was able to get a full picture of the industry.   She continues to stay involved through her leadership of LMA’s Senior Law Firm Leadership group.  

Join Jennifer on February 26 for our Law Firm Leaders 2015 Chapter Program, “BIG Ideas from CMOs,” and keep an eye out for her presentation at the 2015 LMA Annual Conference in San Diego!

By Michelle McWhinney, Founder of Navigate Recruiting, LLC, for the January/February issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.

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