1. How did you start working in/with the legal marketing industry?
After practicing law for several years, I wanted to try something different that would allow me to utilize my professional interests and education in a different, but related, capacity. My first legal marketing position was as a proposal manager, which was a perfect starting role for a former practicing attorney.
2. How do you describe your job to people outside of the legal industry?
I manage marketing and business development initiatives at a global law firm. I’m a lawyer who helps other lawyers develop and grow their business.
3. What’s the best part of your work and why?
I most enjoy working with my marketing colleagues and firm management. They are not only smart, but funny too. For instance, I had several Southern California legal marketing colleagues at my prior firm who kept me entertained. Anyone who knows Sue Oliver (LMA-LA), knows that you always know when she’s in the building. Upon sending her an amusing email, I could always count on hearing her robust laugh resonate down the hall. Alison Bygrave (LMA-LA) is an amazing storyteller and has the most priceless facial expressions I’ve ever seen, and Robin Gerard (LMA-OC) has the ability to find the humor in any situation, including the time that one of our colleagues wanted to order a troupe of mimes to entertain visiting international dignitaries. (This really happened and she still reminds me of it.)
My colleagues at Winston are just as much fun. I work closely with Katy Citron Von Treskow (LMA-SF), who I previously worked with at a prior firm. Not only does she have a sunny disposition, but she is a creative and fantastic legal marketer (most recently working wonders on our website and new media programs) as well as an excellent cook. In addition, during the last presidential race, I spent several weeks working on a significant project with firm management from across the country. The long days in the office were made bearable by frequent banter, watching the presidential and vice-presidential debates together, and a mutual appreciation of the subsequent comedy sketches. Of course, we also engage in routine exchanges about the respective prowess of the USC and Notre Dame, Michigan, and University of Illinois football teams, most of which I lose due to being outnumbered by Midwesterners.
4. How do you deal with “impossible” situations?
I’m lucky to have the creative interplay of a talented team that collaborates to identify solutions to “impossible” or difficult situations. When different constituencies are involved, I focus on finding common ground so that everyone is happy with the result.
5. If you were to build the “perfect” legal marketer, what skill(s) would they most need?
Excellent writing and editorial skills
Good sense of humor (and the absurd)
High-level strategic thinking
6. If you could have any job other than what you currently do, what would that be?
I have always been interested in life sciences and, at one time, planned to attend medical school. If I had to choose another career, I would become a doctor and spend part of my year serving underprivileged people in the U.S. and abroad.
7. What are your passions outside of work?
My passions are traveling, hiking, skiing, reading, art, college football, and enjoying the company of my friends and family. My favorite international trip was to Tavarua, Fiji – a tiny island which is well-known to surfers due to its world-renowned surf break. A week without TV, Internet, and phones is a true break, especially when you spend the day fishing, snorkeling, and relaxing in a hammock! Stateside, I recently returned from a ski trip to Colorado where we had more than a foot of new powder. I’m planning a hiking trip to Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies for the summer now.
8. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
I will always order dessert or cheese if either is on the menu. I’m learning to drop the guilt and focus on the pleasure. (That is, of course, after I’ve been to the gym! )
9. Why did you join LMA and is it the same reason you are still a member?
I joined LMA to engage with and learn from an exclusive network of like-minded professionals. I have found over the years as marketing and business development has evolved that these colleagues are the key to staying current, focused, and energized about what I do. Thankfully, several of my peers are some of my best friends and I have continued to build relationships with others whom I have met through LMA.
10. What’s your best LMA memory?
My best LMA memory stems from attending my first LMA conference. It was so nice to be able to put names with faces and to start building my network. I have a vivid recollection of meeting Norm Rubenstein there, and being awed by his eloquence and impressive vocabulary. (Years later when we worked together I realized what his secret was when he gifted all members of our department a book titled “The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed" by Karen Elizabeth Gordon; it’s a must read for all legal marketers.)
Name: Cynthia Holbrook
Title: Director of Marketing, West Coast
Company: Winston & Strawn LLP
Address: 333 S. Grand Avenue, 38th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071