I work on a daily basis with marketing and business development folk at law firms who are in operational, strategic and supporting roles to fee earners. It means that I have a pretty good grasp and understanding of the pressure, dynamics frustrations and struggles that they can often experience. The unreachable 'We are working towards a seat at the table' is an often coined phrase.
There are of course exceptions to the rule and a recent article from Reuters gives renewed hope. 'The big war for talent isn't just about lawyers. Law firms are also vying to hire top-level marketing and BD executives' claims the article and what's more, is that they are putting their money where their mouths are as well! According to leading legal recruiter Jennifer Johnson, inhouse legal marketing professionals salaries have shot up by at least 20% since 2020. This is closely linked to the fact that at least 20 AM law 200 firms have brought in new CMO's in 2021 alone.
Could it be then, that the state of flux we have all been in and through in the last 18 months, has enabled marketing and BD professionals to flourish, be more creative and finally be valued as they should? The article goes on to point out three distinct reasons as to why there have been such big movements in the CMO legal market in the US outside of just getting a bigger paycheck.
Being bolder- It is well known that law firms can often race to be second. Firms that are bolder, provide structure, budget, and the resources required in conjunction with flexibility around creativity and tactics used all make for a good destination for top BD and marketing talent.
The firm culture- This is often cited as a large factor when considering which law firm to move to. A collaborative and joined-up approach that sees both fee-earning and non-fee-earning staff as equal contributors really helps.
Firm values- Having a moral compass, clear diversity and inclusion standpoints and commitments to the environment as well as having basic respect, are all noted as major pull factors.
In conclusion, things are really looking up for marketing and BD professionals and not just from a monetary perspective. It looks like they are finally being trusted, backed and empowered to unleash their marketing and BD creative tool kits. Long may it continue.