Yesterday I had a delightful conversation with a woman who was the Attorney Development Director for a 100 lawyer New York firm. Also on the call was the firm's Managing Partner, Marketing Director and Recruiting Manager.
Holy Cow, Batman!!!!!....sometimes law firms do get it right when it comes to understanding the importance of marketing, business development, PR, customer service and sales (yes, they used the "S" word!!!).
While not a large firm, they have a big firm attitude. They realize that in the business world the companies they represent invest a lot of time, money, focus and energy into these important disciplines. They make sure that every partner, associate, paralegal, assistant and mail room clerk knows that clients (past, current and future) are what pays the bills. They have a culture that insists that everyone be focused on growing the firm, or they are asked to leave.
They see marketing, training, recruiting and client relations as all equally important parts of their firm (equal to those who are JD's, too!). They have hired an impressive group of professionals to lead their way into the next decade.
The reason for the call is that every August they have a firm retreat, where I may be one of their featured speakers (either at a break out session for lawyers or at the Friday dinner for the whole firm). This two-day event takes place over a Friday and Saturday and all firm employees are required to attend (yes, secretaries and file clerks, too!). It was clear that this was no vacation. No golf or spouse events ("unless they choose to stay over Saturday night and play on Sunday on their own nickle").
The purpose is clear.....to insure that everyone is involved in the planning, strategy and execution of the firm's five-year plan. They have team building, strategic planning, technical training, and "cross-selling-brain-storming" sessions.
I was impressed with their views on how important business relationships are to their success. They know that opportunities exist in the business community, but that there are many choices for legal services. The only way they can compete is to be uniquely focused in their efforts to occupy the mental real estate of clients. Out of sight is out of mind. This firm understands that it takes work ("Some Assembly Required") to create an image that stands out from the crowd.
I predict continued success for these attorneys. I look forward to getting to know them better, as I think their way is the future.
Have A Great Day