By Kevin O'Keefe

Large law firms grow marketing departments

New York Lawyer reports leading law firms are adding more talented marketing professionals than ever. A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), unheard of just a few years ago, is now a sought after person. In addition, firms are now looking for marketing talent beyond the legal world — to industries like consulting, investment banking and financial services.

In dealing with larger firms, I’m finding that the lead marketing professionals are also being given the staff and resources to do the job. The law firms’ marketing directors, managers, business development and public relations people are some of the most talented professionals you would want to meet. In addition they are innovative — looking to learn about the latest technology to market the firm’s services.

New York lawyer reports on examples of modern law firm CMO’s, including:

  • Amanda Duckworth, who joined Morrison & Foerster a year ago. The former partner and director of marketing at Thomas Weisel Partners, a San Francisco-based investment banking firm, has an elaborate resume. She spent 13 years in corporate relations with Edelman Public Relations. And she has a legal background: an LL.B. from the University of Wales and a solicitors diploma from The College of Law in London.
  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Courtney Dorman, who, like Duckworth, spent many years at Edelman. Dorman also worked at Robertson Stephens & Co., a San Francisco-based growth investment bank.

The talented CMO’s, New Lawyer reports, command salaries commensurate with leading lawyers. “CMOs at AmLaw 100 firms earned between $200,000 and $300,000 two years ago, Mizban said. Now salaries are edging up to $400,000 a year, with a small subset earning as much as $500,000.”

As we’ve come to know, turnover is high. It’s reported “CMOs stick around an average of two years — in part because making the jump from industry to law firm can be difficult.” “They rarely can walk on water, which is what is expected when they are paid that much,” said Sally Schmidt, a Minnesota-based recruiter who is compiling a salary survey for the Legal Marketing Association. It’s reported those that succeed can get poached.

As much as I enjoy working with small law firms and solo practitioners, it’s been a pleasant surprise for me that large firms can be easy and enjoyable for lexBlog to work with. Their marketing staff are passionate and innovative professionals looking for new ways to grow the firm’s business. Frankly, such staff, when empowered with information on blogs, become lexBlog’s best salespeople.

I look forward to meeting such professionals looking for information on professional marketing blogs and working with our large firm customers.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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