Andy Peat, director of communications and business development strategy, Pinsent Masons

£477,000? Maybe we’re worth it

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  • This dry, dull article, which does not give even the faintest hint of understanding how legal marketing works is exactly the reason why people say these positions are a waste of money. In my (albeit limited) 7 years as a layer at a city firm I have not once come across a client that was 100% the product of a marketing teams work. All new client initiatives are lawyer led, with the marketing team there to tick the boxes, create the spreadsheets and the power point presentations – which a lawyer will then review and amend, heavily. Until this is no longer the case, these so called 'executives' will continue to be thought of with derision. But good on you for getting at least one lawyer (the senior partner) to believe that you are worth your £500k salary.

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  • I decided to leave private practice when, in preparation for a lateral move, I arranged a covert lunch with a client I was hoping to take with me. He was late, and at the next table I could hear a lawyer schmoozing a client. "Jesus Christ," I thought, "if that's what I sound like....". Lawyers' own marketing is cringeworthy. Leave it to the professionals. Or go the whole hog and do the accounts, the catering and the IT yourself.

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  • @John, read again. His whole point is that BD needs to be more sales-oriented and to deliver more ROI. Surely you’re on the same page – just coming at it from different sides.

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  • John @2.40PM clearly doesn't get it. Although perhaps his is a firm that has not employed BD/M staff that they trust to help grow the business, in which case it's a Catch 22 situation. If the partners don't value BD/M then they don't hire the top people who can really add value, boost the brand, increase sales and in short increase PEP. If the firms insist on hiring weak BD/M staff and treating them like their PAs, then they cannot expect much value in return.

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  • Layer? Perhaps you were.

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  • John, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. I wish I had a fiver for every client who has told me his City lawyers know little or nothing of his business or little or nothing about managing a million pound relationship. They work hard, put in long hours but lack the ability to communicate on a business level with the client's management team. Exceptional partners do this and do it well - so called rainmakers. The rest are busy churning the work - failing to spot opportunities, not passing work to their partners and sometimes even recommending the opposition. Trust me it happens.
    A lot of law firm marketing and comms is woeful. People who earn £477k (I know none) will have their feet held to the flames. They have to deliver just as a fee earner. If they don't deliver and add significant value, they're out - and rightly so. I don't know whether your head of BD is worth the money for what they deliver, but delivering when swimming against the tide of recidivist, controlling partners to deliver success demands political skills and warrants real rewards. Or equity.

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  • Many a time I have heard from partners (owners of the business) that state they are under pressure to deliver, they actually have the client relationships and are the ones that trans-act on the work....

    This is nothing more than a support function, to what is the business of law... The fact that these individuals are paid over the odds shows the clear problem in most firms - the attribution of who is responsible for what?.... is it the introductory agent ? if so what % of the introduction have they actually contributed ... 'Here is a name and a company.... 'or is it the individual that actually Business Develops , leads the initiative , and dare I say it sells on the finished proposal... this is the lawyer and never ever the Marketing Manager or any individual within a firm.......

    Bonuses and salaries in business should be in line with results and contributions.. In essence if your job is not be a fee earner than what contribution are you really bringing in ? If your job is support ... then support but do not be expected to be rewarded as a fee earner.....

    If you are eager for the fee earner status then become a lawyer and prove your worth with the daily pressure of delivery.... Then fill your boots as much as you want...

    Same is applicable to all entities within a law firm from HR monkeys ( that clearly have no understanding of business critical requirements) to BD Marketing over rated chimps that believe they understand clients when in essence it is the LAWYER (Counsel / Consultant ) he that is trusted by a client to represent that carries all the responsibility and pressure

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  • "layer"?? If you're going to state your case against Marketing at least get the spelling right!!

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  • Thanks Andy. However, I still think it is a huge amount of money for an easy role.

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  • Anonymous at 3.52 - you're a dinosaur! Your conception of marketing/BD and what it does is more dated than an avocado bathroom suite. Here's something to consider: in a large, non-professional services company like Unilever, Mars, Proctor & Gamble etc., marketing would be central to the company's success in brand building, seeking new markets, improving sales and margins. And the legal department would be viewed as support. Except big companies know better than to demean their valued staff by classifying them as 'support'.
    Terry Leahy who led Tesco to such success came from a marketing background. It's not all newsletters and events. The ability to think strategically, carry out research, implement key client programmes, enhance client loyalty, grow relationships, help partners to sell more effectively, improve pitch success rates all have the potential to add more value than any one fee earner can alone. The key is the firm finding the right people to do the job and then allowing them to do the job, not restricting them by making them answerable to anybody with a slice of equity.
    Your view is desperately blinkered. If marketing and business development was not cost effective, it would not exist. Simple as.

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