This week’s featured CME speaker is Felice Wagner, Chief Business Development Officer at Sutherland, who discusses various aspects of both business development and professional development. We are only a few weeks away from the Continuing Marketing Education Conference on October 14, so please register now if you haven’t already: http://www.lmavirginiascme.com/
Speaker: Felice Wagner, Sutherland
Program: Business Development, Digging Deep
We have seen an increase in the importance of business development initiatives with attorneys. What are the key initiatives?
Training and coaching have moved to the forefront as attorneys and firms recognize the need to improve their sales skills. We are also seeing a significant increase in the number of firms engaged in client service initiatives such as feedback interviews and legal project management. Ultimately, attorneys have realized that they can no longer sit back, do great work and expect the phone to keep ringing.
The legal marketing industry continues to grow. What advice would you give new hires entering this market?
Learn as much as you can about the legal industry and get involved in your local LMA chapter – there is no better forum for learning about the industry and for finding peers and mentors. LMA members are incredibly generous with their time, resources and advice. It is a truly unique aspect of our industry – the generosity and camaraderie is just amazing.
What traits make the best legal marketers?
Grace under fire, combined with exceptional analytical, writing and verbal skills.
What has been the biggest shift in legal marketing in the past three years?
You’ve already identified it – the shift away from marketing to business development. Marketing is still important, but unless there is a focus on generating business, none of it matters.
How can a marketer demonstrate they have moved from one level to the next (from a beginner to a mezzo or a mezzo to a senior)?
From my perspective, it’s all about ownership. Beginners are given pieces of projects, someone at the mezzo level should be able to own a project from start to finish with little supervision. Someone at the mezzo level should also be able to think beyond the four corners of a project to identify other angles we ought to consider or strategies we ought to pursue. For someone to demonstrate that they have moved from mezzo to senior, I look not only for ownership, but also for leadership – a senior level person should be able to gain the confidence and respect of the lawyers, along with demonstrating an interest in and willingness to train and mentor junior team members.