Each law firm has unique issues that they face, but there are a few challenges that are common to all legal marketing and business development teams. Alix Carpenter, Business Development Manager at Travers Smith, shared her take on some of the key legal marketing challenges.
LFMS: Why do you think it’s important to have a conference that unites the business development and marketing decision makers from law firms across Europe to explore current trends and issues?
AC: Legal can be such a secretive industry. So much duplicative work is going on across Europe as we all try to find our own ways to meet new challenges. When we are all facing similar pressures, it’s great to have a forum to share experiences and learn from each other. Collaboration should definitely reach across the market, not just within our own firms.
LFMS: What do you consider to be the key buzzword in law firm marketing and business developments, and do you think that it deserves the hype?
AC: I think “collaboration” and “innovation” are buzzwords across the entire industry! There definitely are some fantastic projects in the market that are truly trying to change the ways we work and collaborate with clients, drawing on knowledge from across the firm. But “innovation” is thrown around to perk up headlines and considered a catch-all for anything new or technology-related, so there’s some underserved hype too.
LFMS: When you’re looking at other professional service firms, is there any single innovation that you think law firms should be emulating?
AC: Client listening has already made its way into legal but I still think most firms should be doing a lot more of it! So many lawyers are naturally risk-averse and still don’t want to ask questions of clients in case we don’t like the answers. In the same vein, letting experienced professionals speak directly with clients rather than considering everyone that isn’t a practising lawyer as a shadowy back office. There are insights, knowledge and offerings across the firm that are relevant to clients that don’t have to only be communicated by a lawyer removed from that experience.
LFMS: With more millennials on client panels, do law firm business development and marketing teams need to adapt their approach for the new generation of clients?
AC: I presume I’m a millennial, so I’d hope we have similar approaches! I think legal has needed to adapt for a while and so the change isn’t necessarily being demanded by millennials. Legal needs to be less navel-gazing. Millennials might be a bit quicker to vocalise that, but I don’t think previous generations were actually any different.
LFMS: What is your top tip for elevating a content marketing strategy into a comprehensive thought leadership programme?
AC: If a topic is worth creating content, it’s likely worth a longer conversation. Content creation does take effort, and it does take time away from billable work. Get the most out of pieces by repurposing them, following up on them, connecting them to relevant work. Nothing should be published and then just sit there in a void, especially when we have more communication channels than ever before.
LFMS: Is there a space for law firms on social media? Why?
AC: We’re a social species and I’m assured lawyers aren’t actually robots, so absolutely! Whether it’s celebrating successes, asking questions to which we don’t yet have the answers, or providing guidance on a specialist topic, it all requires human connection. The immediacy and transparency of engagement makes social media such a powerful tool. It’s not just the two-way relationship between firm and client, it fosters integration into entire networks. We’ve seen our clients contacted about their new work products based on our posts, that’s a brilliant feeling.
LFMS: Which session at the Law Firm Marketing Summit (other than your own!) are you most looking forward to attending?
AC: I’m never going to pass up an opportunity to really listen to our clients and find out exactly what they want, so I’m definitely keen to attend “Getting the message: GC focussed-content that resonates”.
Alix will be joining our panel on elevating your content marketing in to a comprehensive thought leadership strategy. See the full agenda HERE.