"Law Firms 101: Discussion on the Basics" – October’s Future Leaders SIG Brownbag

On October 17, the Capital Chapter's Future Leaders SIG held a brownbag luncheon, "Law Firms 101: Discussion on the Basics." Ezra Crawford, LMA Capital Chapter President and Director of Marketing at BuckleySandler LLP, led the presentation on law firm economics, budgeting and the general structure of a marketing department.

Ezra began by providing a basic overview of law firm economics and finance. He noted it was important to know that law firm partners are paid a percentage of the profit, while everyone else is paid a salary. However, the percentage of the profit paid to each partners can depend on a number of factors including origination levels, hours billed, seniority, firm management tasks, business development activities and others.

So, how does marketing fits into the compensation structure and why should partners care about marketing? Typically, originations are the clearest measure of criteria when considering compensation. Business development and marketing help partners increase their originations, thus leading to higher compensation and a higher percentage of the profit.

Ezra explained that a typical legal marketing department can be broken into four main categories:

  • Business Development
  • Marketing Technology
  • Communications/Public Relations
  • Events

According to Ezra, you should think of marketing and business development activities in terms of a framework. Most single activities have related, overlapping activities. He gave the example of an attorney writing an article. If the marketer only did what was asked, he or she would place the article for the attorney and the task would be completed. Using the marketing framework, the article placed by public relations would be put into the attorney's bio by marketing technology; sent as a client alert by business development; and turned into a webinar or conference seminar topic by events.

For all new legal marketers, Ezra said it's important to pick your focus within legal marketing and be great at it. Incorporate framework activities by working with individuals in all areas of the marketing department and become indispensable.

The marketing department structure diagram used during the presentation is included in Ezra's article in the September 2012 issue of "Strategies." Click here to download Ezra's presentation.

This is the first event hosted by the Future Leaders SIG since the group has reorganized. The Future Law Firm Leaders Shared Interest Group serves those with fewer than five years of legal marketing experience. For more information about the Future Leaders SIG or to suggest upcoming events, please contact Sydni Williams.

By Sydni Williams, Marketing Coordinator, Bean Kinney & Korman PC for the November/December 2012 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter

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