As part of a Q&A series with leaders in our industry designed to provide our future leaders with career advice, and tips and strategies for becoming their best professional selves, we asked New York City-based Mike Mellor, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Pryor Cashman, for his tips on being successful in legal marketing today and how to build a strong professional brand.
Any advice on how to build your professional brand?
Do. Learn. Grow. Offer Insights.
The more you can take on early in your career project-wise, the quicker you can begin to connect the wider dots, which gives you the perspective that is so critical to building your brand. Share your experiences and get involved in LMA, whether that’s in committees, or speaking/writing – you have a wonderful platform to provide your unique perspectives and pay it forward. Getting ink from sharing insights isn’t ever going to hurt your brand!
What do you think is the key for success as a legal marketer today?
I have a few ideas here:
- Go down the rabbit hole. If your boss asks you for something and you’re researching it and find something of note, dig further! The intellectual curiosity of my teammates has helped us not only to uncover some great insights, but it also tells me which one of my teammates is highly invested in the firm’s success. Those are the people I need on my team.
- Get to know the business. Those individuals with the biggest brand equity in our space are those who learned the business, then created their own solutions/playbooks- whether by creating a new system, or developing unique algorithms to help their attorneys see things that others didn’t. But you need to know what the lawyers are actually doing every day to be great.
How did you get started in legal marketing?
While some dreamed of being an astronaut, I always dreamed of legal marketing ;) In seriousness, it tends to find you. I started in financial services marketing, then moved over to Big 4/consulting, which taught me a ton about the systemic approaches to BD and marketing that exist in other professional services environments. And when I moved, the legal marketing landscape was less mature, which was enticing as I felt that I could bring external experience to effect change and build something that resembled a Big 4-type methodology. I’ve also loved the challenge of working in law, which has some of the smartest people out there- the challenge is really fun as you’ve got to bring your “A” game every day to keep pushing the rock up the hill and helping attorneys to achieve their lightbulb moments.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s a tie between “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know” and my dad’s favorite, “you are the president of your own life.” They’re both very deep on many levels.
What has been the key to your success?
I think it’s the constant drive to learn more and realize that what I’m doing is a small part of a much bigger puzzle. The more you understand the puzzle, the more you can effectively succeed in your role, no matter what it is or may become.