I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2022 Lawyer Marketing Leadership Summit. One of the stand-out sessions was around the influence of the marketing and BD teams within law firms, specifically regarding the topic of ESG. The panellists included Laura Nicholls (Chief Business Development Officer at Ashurst), Bruce Wraight (Head of Marketing Communications Shoosmiths) and Heloise Paull (BD & Marketing Director Bates Wells). I have summarised some of the main discussion points below:
Marketing & BD teams should work as influencers on the subject and there is a real opportunity to drive the change from the top down.
Beware of smoke & Mirrors don't go external with policies and strategies before you have nailed on internally, what your team and the business stand for.
There is an opportunity and the initial one is to work with clients in tandem to create solutions. There is also an opportunity to engage with clients or prospects that work in dirtier industries and help change them.
Legitimacy and authenticity are key firms should really look for purpose over profit.
Communication is key once strategies and policies have been crafted then they should be communicated.
Monetisation law firms have to shift or get left behind. They must also realise that there aren't always quick ones. The whole ESG movement involves long-term change.
Globalisation should be taken into account. Where should a law firm operate and what is their playbook. There isn't one size fits all in terms of regions because certain countries and geographical regions are focusing on different areas of the topic.
Tenders are going to start including ESG more and more and this is where the supply chain for firms also needs to be addressed.
ESG Task force if possible it is good to set one up as there is often an internal and external information void and filling this really adds value.
Generation gap- is important to get the diversity of thought from different levels within the firm as well as backgrounds as this will give you a well-rounded task force and strategies to use.
In summary, law firms need to embrace the movement and start driving change internally first so that they can then build out client-aligned strategies moving forward. Authenticity is key.