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LMASE Member Spotlight - Orlando
Name: Leeann M. Lee
Law Firm Name: BakerHostetler
Title: Senior Proposal and Business Development Content Manager
In one sentence, describe your job: I serve as the firm's senior strategic adviser on high-stakes competitions including formal RFPs, other proposals/pitches and client presentations - through project management, content development and creation of best practices.
Why and/or how did you get into legal marketing?
I started in legal marketing 20 years ago, after spending five years in corporate communications and software marketing. At that time, the legal marketing field looked very different! I had the advantage of attending an LMA Annual Meeting 'Quick Start' session and a law firm marketing director training at Georgetown, where I quickly learned the value of focusing on strategic business development initiatives. Before leaving that firm, and in just two years in that role, I had initiated a client interview program, introduced a new brand identity, and created proposal/pitch team processes for pursuing new business. I've remained in legal marketing ever since, and I've been with BakerHostetler for more than 13 years.
What is a "typical" day for you?
We all know that a legal marketer's day can be chaotic. But, if I have a 'typical' day it would likely include at least one conference call with a proposal team - usually the lead attorney and corresponding business development manager - to discuss the status of a multi-practice RFP response or a client pitch opportunity. For larger projects, I communicate with colleagues in other departments like pricing, HR and IT to obtain data and information that will address RFP questions. I'll also work with business development manager colleagues to assist with their practice-specific proposals and pitches. In addition, my day may include adding new content to our proposal system or answering user questions about creating proposals within the system. Finally, I'll coordinate with the other members of the proposal/business development content team - professionals who are responsible for managing our experience database as well as our rankings and credentials process.
In your job, what is your biggest challenge?
We're seeing an increase in RFPs that are managed by procurement departments. In those instances, the process of winning new work becomes more rigorous and data-driven. We're also seeing more RFPs requiring firms to include detailed legal strategies in the initial proposal. Those questions require attorneys to develop sometimes complex legal approaches and articulate them in the response - even when there isn't an opportunity to talk to the client to understand the concern or problem fully.
What do you like most about your job?
I am a project manager at heart, so I really enjoy the process of 'unpacking' a complex RFP or presentation opportunity, then working with teams to figure out how to handle each aspect of the project.
If a college student were to ask you for advice about a legal marketing career, what would you say?
Gain a strong foundation in project management, marketing management and research. 2. Be ready to work in a challenging, warp-speed environment where you will sometimes go from event planning, to editing a client alert, to discussing next year's budget with a practice team leader - all in the same week, if not the same day! 3. Be prepared to learn as much as possible about the business of law, what your practice team (or your law firm) does for clients, and what data and information your lawyers need to help them make decisions about business development. 4. Communication skills are key, of course.
What books do you recommend to fellow LMA colleagues?