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LMA 2020: Is sales still a dirty word at law firms?

This week saw the return of the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference - normally a throng of busy 'fee-enablers' networking, learning and sharing ideas with their peers over in the USA. 

This year (as with most events) it has been taken online. This allowed me to settle in at home and watch JeanMarie Campbell, Head of Client Development at Baker McKenzie, Darryl Cross, Head of Global Sales Enablement at Intapp and Silvia Coulter, Principal at LawVision talk about all things 'Team Collaboration and Key Client Programmes'. 

JeanMarie in her role at Baker McKenzie raised the question 'What does the client expect?'. Well having previously been in-house and talking about this very point with their GC, she had this answer - 

"The only time our GC had read thought leadership was when there was a personal note attached to it with a few key digestible points. So I tell our fee earners that now more than ever, they need to be doing more bitesize BD".

Interestingly, this point relates directly to what Michael Issacs, who leads BT's litigation arm, said in a recent interview around the current crisis. As Michael explains below, he would like communications to be relevant, targeted, concise and contain a proactive insight

Darryl explained that "communication must relate to benefitting the client" and that through being forward-thinking, you will be able to show yourself as that trusted adviser, better understanding your client.

In a similar vein Silvia - as a Senior Business Development Expert - said that we must think about how it is relevant to both us and our client by having "a better understanding of our clients' business and growth goals, you can align with these so that what you share actually benefits them".

Each key point raised demonstrates to me the need for team collaboration between the fee-enabler and the fee-earner. With the fee-enabler helping fee-earner to better understand their clients, they can then better focus on sharing bitesized, client relevant timely BD.

In our experience here at Passle, we are seeing the Business Development team being brought closer and closer to the client. 'Sales' is still not a word you hear much in a law firm but lawyers are increasingly understanding the expertise their BD professional hold and how that expertise can help them drive their business forward - together.

As seen at Baker McKenzie, JeanMarie shared that their CMO, Wendy Bernero, has "sales enablement as part of her vocabulary, and she wants to give lawyers bitesize sales enablement tools to really maximise their efforts".

"We said to our lawyers, be personal, let's get back to the basics, if you think some thought leadership is useful then send a little note, don't just blindly send it". JeanMarie Campbell, Head of Client Development at Baker McKenzie


content marketing, b2b marketing, e2e, business development, sales enablement, lma20