How I got Started
Like many in this industry, I had never considered looking at professional service firms for a marketing position and simply fell into my first role as a communications specialist back in 2003, after working a year with a Toronto Ad agency after graduating University. As my career progressed, I have had the pleasure of working in a variety of roles with phenomenal marketing and business development teams, at both large and mid-sized law firms.
Marketing is all about story telling. Being able to tell stories about your Firm is a great way to start each day. Full service law firms have clients from across the spectrum of industries, so in order to tell those stories you have to combine both the legal and business elements in a way that resonates with organizations at all stages of the business life cycle, from start-ups to established industry leaders.
The legal marketing industry is unique -- and not without its own challenges, but the variety in roles and the evolution of the role of law firm marketing and business development professional over the past 10 years, has presented great opportunities for those with drive and the determination to shake things up.
Core Values You MUST Have
Be interested, be curious and be informed - ask smart questions and get the answers you need to do great work.
Always listen and be open to others' suggestions. Having a great understanding of your organization and clients can help create a strong and valuable brand.
Be visible - walk the halls. Face time (the old-fashioned kind, not the one on your iPhone!) with stakeholders within your organization and clients is invaluable.
Be collaborative. One person's success should be seen as a team success.
The Future of Marketing
The legal industry as a whole is in a state of change, but we can already see how emerging technology will bring better efficiencies and insight to our roles. The more we are able to know about our clients and their industries, the better informed our marketing initiatives will be.
There are some great technological developments that professional service firms are using that will improve functions and streamline processes that will benefit both the marketing team and the organization.
I view success as creating and implementing programs that empower marketing and business development professionals to drive top-line growth within their organizations. And on a personal level, establishing yourself as an agent of change within your firm and as a trusted resource to both your colleagues and peers in the industry.
My Advice to You
The legal marketing community in Toronto is full of great individuals who are willing to share tips and advice to help students succeed. Leverage your network. If you know someone who works in a law firm, reach out to them and ask for an introduction to someone on the marketing team for insights. Also check out the resources and local events put on by the Legal Marketing Association (LMA).
Be resilient - Marketing teams have their up's and down’s - teams are often overworked and understaffed and face it, you will never please everyone! Often, jr. coordinators have a 'jack-of-all-trades portfolio: event planning, digital medial, research and completing ranking submissions etc. Those in junior roles have an opportunity to be the anchor that pulls your team through adversity. I've had the pleasure of working with some Rock Star coordinators who were the glue that held their teams together. Use your insights to connect the dots between key stakeholders and your organization's marketing and business development initiatives.
I cannot stress the importance of having a mentor - to this day I still rely on the advice of my former bosses. Also, it has been a great feeling to see the young professionals I have mentored throughout the years ascending the ranks of law firm marketing teams.
You never know how your career will grow and who will offer you the next opportunity. Be a visible an engaged member of whatever industry you find yourself in - it will be invaluable to your career. Reach out, build your network and get involved in industry associations, like the CMA or in my case the Legal Marketing Association. I can directly attribute the jobs that I've had and the team members I've hired or recommend because of my engagement with an industry association.