Is law firm leadership and law firm marketing synonymous? Or better yet, should they be? I try to answer that very question in the November/December 2023 issue of Law Practice, At the Intersection of Leadership & Marketing.
Please note that if the ABA paywall prevents you from accessing this column, send me an email and I’ll forward you a copy.
The leaders of most law firms—sometimes a managing partner, other times a management or executive committee—are often going to have first and final say on marketing and business development decisions. If not the strategies themselves, then often the dollars approved to staff and finance them. The problem lies in that not all great law firm leaders are great marketing minds.
More times than not what gets you on the leadership track is that you have attorneys, clients, cases, or a practice group that generates significant law firm revenue. I’m not going to go into all the reasoning. Suffice it to say that we all know that just because you generate business does not mean you know how to generate new business. Sometimes it was luck in getting handed a matter that blows up (in a good way). Other times, it is simply a historical handoff of a client from one generation to the next (again, we don’t need to go into succession planning in this column).
What I’m trying to get across is that there is not always a direct correlation between generating revenue and actual rainmaking. Good leaders know that and behave accordingly. Poor leaders don’t know that they don’t know—and rarely recognize the deficiency in skill set. What are ways that a leader can effectively lead in the world of law firm marketing?
The column discusses the concepts of shadowing what the competition is doing, leading by example, avoiding what might look like a quick fix “pay to play” opportunity, building your own book of business, and monitoring ROI.
The best leaders set up the marketer to succeed. Great law firm leaders know their own limitations, and delegate accordingly. And the most successful law firms will meet at the intersection of leadership & marketing—it is a four way stop—look around and consider the examples provided, before proceeding.