Jonathan Robinson, business development manager
The Lawyer Management: Mundays
18 November 2013 | By Lucy Burton
Jonathan Robinson is the business development manager at Mundays. He recently joined from Bindmans, where he was head of marketing.
Is marketing’s role in the legal sector changing?
Yes, it’s always been changing. From the original focus on sponsorship and brochure production to today’s broad spectrum of comms, PR, website development and event organisation, all these roles are distant from the client and have typically meant marketing is seen as an overhead rather than a function that adds value. Now it is becoming more involved in contact with prospective and current clients. The next stage is to integrate it with fee-earners, pricing, service delivery and strategy.
What are the key elements of your role?
I’m responsible for driving growth across practice areas in both the regional and national markets. My challenge is to increase the business development culture, with a firmwide focus on our clients’ needs and the sectors in which we excel. This focus needs to draw all our fee-earners together.
We want to better match our skill-set and culture with the profile of our clients so we attract those best suited to the way we work and the services we provide.
What effect are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and role?
They are focusing minds on ensuring client service underpins everything, making us more competitive and responsive to clients’ needs.
What’s on your to-do list?
My top priority is to ‘take the temperature’ of clients, and our future activity will be based on this feedback.
In the new year we’ll be introducing a client service assessment programme consisting of one-to-one meetings, telephone interviews and an online survey. Also, later this month we’re launching a mystery shopper programme.
What was the most pressing item you’ve faced in the past year?
In my last job as head of marketing at Bindmans one of my challenges was obtaining maximum media exposure for the Paul Lamb right-to-die case, to generate a public debate about the issue during our appeal at the High Court.
What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?
I’m undertaking a firmwide review of our marketing to decide what works and what doesn’t, so as to maximise return on investment. There are lots of exciting initiatives to build on to take the firm to the next level. I want to dispel myths about marketing and point fee-earners in the right direction, providing practical advice.
Areas of development include providing one-to-one coaching for fee-earners to develop individual business development plans, briefings before and after meetings with clients and prospects, and a more sophisticated use of social media in the marketing mix.
Who would you most like to get stuck in a lift with?
Spurs manager André Villas-Boas. I’d ask him about his plans to ensure we qualify for the Champions League.
What are the biggest frustrations in your role?
It’s sometimes difficult to make your voice heard when marketing is not the number one priority in a fee-earning role, although this is understandable.
What problem would you most like technology to solve?
I’d like a user-friendly way of maintaining information about our clients and contacts – ideally, one that doesn’t create more work for us.
What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?
To engage with people and recognise that all fee-earners are different, and therefore a variety of approaches are needed.
Net profit: £2.7m
Profit per equity partner: £170,000
Run and relax
“I like to take myself off for a long run in either Bushy Park or Richmond Park, both of which I’m fortunate enough to live near to,” says Robinson when asked about how he relaxes and takes his mind off work for a while.
“While I’m running I feel like I’m having a complete break from the pressures of work and everyday life. It’s interesting to focus purely on the effort of the exercise. In fact, in a parallel universe my ideal job would be to be a professional endurance athlete – either a marathon runner or a cyclist in the Tour