Key Takeaways from May 1 Webinar: Legal Marketing Leadership During “Business Unusual”

With the onset of COVID-19, many are facing personal and professional challenges. Legal marketers are adjusting to working from home schedules while also dealing with the uncertainty of the market.

On May 1, 2020, industry leaders from law firms across Canada provided insights on how legal marketers can continue to operate and add value through such an unprecedented and turbulent time.

Katie Sulatycki, Project Manager at Cubicle Fugitive and member of the LMAEC Marketing and Communications Committee, summarizes the key takeaways from the webinar below.

How to Shift Leadership Mentality

Your leadership needs to shift from action-oriented to one of pause and reflection. Managers and Directors should endeavor to be an inspirational and positive force for their teams. Thinking about the times we are currently in; we simply cannot be locked into how things used to be. The ability to pivot will be one of your most important tools. Make sure you are responding in the moment and being present. At the same time, we are only human! It is critical to understand that whatever your level or role, we are all adjusting and experiencing this differently. It is okay to not be okay and it is more than okay to not take yourself too seriously right now. Don’t ask your team to change their feelings. Instead, really listen to them and accept them.

Staying Connected and Adding Value

With firms supporting Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, or Cisco Jabber, virtual connection has never been easier! For legal marketing teams, daily and weekly check-ins are key. For Managers and Directors, engage your team, not just through check-ins and town halls, but through personal touchpoints and social events. It’s important that to help motivate teams, continue to foster a positive culture, encourage meaningful interactions, and celebrate accomplishments!

This is the time to get creative and have some fun bringing virtual engagement to your team. It’s also important to remember that not everyone is going to enjoy every social activity. For more introverted lawyers and team members, a lunch or informal chat may be more beneficial and meaningful.

Similarly, some lawyers and team members may need help prioritizing their time and being productive. There is no magic bullet or rule book. Take this opportunity to have meaningful conversations about practice issues, consider starting regular roundtables for brainstorming innovative ideas, and help lawyers generate talking points for reaching out to their network.

For some firms, it is possible to get valuable, practical projects done during this time. Consider some of the following:

  • Build or refine your departments business plans, budgets, and processes – the more organized you are, the easier it is to pivot and report.
  • Develop and present internal presentations for different firm audiences (e.g. how to use CRM, how to leverage social media, Business Development 101, firm branding, etc.).
  • Refine core content while also developing new content for your pitches and proposals.
  • Leverage your existing programs and projects – drive them forward and make them better.
  • Generate new content for blogs, social media, and other firm platforms.
The Role of Communication

It is crucial to keep the lines of communication open, and to continue fostering a positive and forward-thinking environment. For any type of communication be mindful of timing, tone, content, and consistency. Be as transparent as possible. How you frame conversations is important – they should be positive and forward thinking while being mindful of the stresses and challenges that everyone is experiencing. For instance, when reaching out to your lawyers, other internal team members, and even clients, use practical and pragmatic language. Focus on keeping the communication simple, don’t over complicate it and be authentic.

Skill Building

While skill building is important, remember that we are in unprecedented times and roles have potentially shifted from what they were earlier this year. If you’re dealing with new challenges, it is okay if you don’t have capacity to take on more. For those with capacity, start small:

  • Review your job description and brush up on key skills.
  • Power your knowledge internally by reaching out to lawyers (e.g. asking for a coffee to learn more about their practice or clients).
  • For juniors, reaching out to directors for one-on-one conversations and coaching.
  • Keep updated with the crisis and the impact it will have on your firm’s clients and industries.
  • Take advantage of free courses, webinars, articles, and other resources.
  • Share knowledge with others at your firm.
Don’t Waste a Crisis

No marketer before you, and likely very few after will experience anything like this. Here are a series of ideas for legal marketers to help their lawyers and firms through this crisis:

  • Develop a checklist for younger lawyers to keep on track: call clients, call referral sources, reach out to other contacts, write and present internally and externally update your bio, engage on social media, etc.
  • Review your data – let data inform decisions both for internal programs and your client focused projects.
  • Encourage lawyers to reach out to different corners of the office (e.g. KM, innovation, discovery services, etc.). How can they use their skills to contribute to other firm priorities?
  • Keep a repository of internal and external communications for future reference.
  • Understand how this crisis will impact industries and where your firm is best placed to help clients through recovery. Start building plans and talking to lawyers about new ideas.
  • Always think ahead. Continue to build-out your crisis management plan in case it is needed again in the short-term.
  • Generate new ideas and take a chance on them.This is the time to test the waters and be entrepreneurial!
Tap Into Resources

The panelists mentioned several programs that their firm have used or are currently using.  

  • Asana – App to organize, track, and manage work.
  • Canva – Graphic design platform to create social media graphics, presentations, and other visual content.
  • Clockify – Time tracking software for teams.
  • Monday.com – Custom workflow app to run projects, processes, and everyday work.

There are a lot of great (free!) resources to tap into right now. Find the content that works best for you and your team and engage! For LMA members, make sure that you are plugged into the appropriate Special Interest Groups and leverage the COVID Collaboration and Resource Hub, and Well-Being Resource Centre. All of this is available online – login and get going!


Download a copy of this article HERE

Thanks again to moderator Morgan MacLeod (Cubicle Fugitive) and speakers: Lindsey Bombardier (Lenczner Slaght), Alison Janzen (Torkin Manes LLP), Chandler Lauzon (Bennett Jones SLP), Terry Moore (Cox & Palmer), and Brenda Plowman (Fasken). 

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