The Lawyer Management: Bonelli Erede Pappalardo

Marco D’Angelo, marketing and business development director

   
  What are the key elements of your role?

I’ve been brought in to focus on strengthening the firm’s brand both in the domestic market and internationally, with a focus on the UK. I’m responsible for planning and implementing the major marketing, communication and business development activities.

How has your role changed during your time here?

Since I started here in June 2012 we’ve adopted detailed processes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all our marketing activities, planning and measuring the results of each single initiative. Until recently the Italian legal market didn’t place much emphasis on business development compared to its UK cousins. BEP is an international law firm however, so quite distinct from Italian firms and as such is used to leading the Italian legal market with new ideas. 

What impact are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and role?

The changes affecting the UK market are fascinating but on the global basis our firm operates on, they’re as yet to have an impact on our clients’ needs. The top level international commercial market we target still wants to buy its legal services from private practice firms at the higher end of the market.

What’s on your to do list?

Implementation of the CRM system. Streamlining the client engagement processes. Stimulating the client development collaboration among partners.

How important is branding in the legal market?

Crucial. The reputation of individuals is still key but we want, in the near future, the ties of clients with the firm to become as strong as the ones with the individual lawyers. 

What was the most pressing item you faced last year?

The partnership has a real desire for meaningful closer interaction with our clients. A better connected understanding will improve our ability to shape our services according to their changing needs.  

Who would you most like to get stuck in a lift with?

An important client of ours – it would be a great opportunity to ask questions about the key challenges the client is going through and their view of our services.

What problem would you most like technology to solve?

Technology should help us to reduce any distance with our clients – as we operate an international business this is crucial for us.

If you weren’t doing this, what else would you like to be doing?

There are two sides to my personality: the attraction to processes and technicalities and  the penchant for creativity. A chef is a good example of a mix of technique, organisation, leadership and creativity.

What’s the favourite part of your day?

I am fond of both dawn and dusk.

What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?

Achieving an appropriate balance between “quick wins” to show a team is on course, and longer term wins is critical to success. Neither should be achieved at the expense of the other. The development of a strong brand does not happen overnight and in the long journey to achieve it a firm must not be diverted. At the same time, shorter-term wins are essential for the ‘buy-in’ of everyone. Linked to this are four values I particularly prize: determination, tenacity, flexibility – and above all loyalty to colleagues.

What are the challenges of a marketing role within a law firm?

My focus is on ensuring the commercial needs of our clients remain at the centre of everything we do. Despite the fact our firm operates at the very top of the corporate market our clients’ businesses are still being challenged by the economic downturn. In a market like this it will be the firms that are able to offer the most innovative solutions that will succeed. My role is to help the firm accelerate the process of adjusting its’ offering to meet these needs.

Firm facts

Staff: 426

Fee-earners: 301

Qualified lawyers: 243

Partners: 59

Financials

Revenue per lawyer: €564k

Revenue per partner: €2.32m 

Revenue per equity partner: €2.69m

Estimated turnover

Bonelli does not reveal its turnover but in May’s European 100 supplement, The Lawyer estimated turnover at €137m.

Offices

Milan, Genoa, Rome, Brussels
and London.

Branding vs marketing

Branding is the relationship of the firm with the business community as a whole. Marketing is about the direct relationship with organisations and individuals, on a one-to-few or a one-to-one basis.

Systems

CRM: Proprietary system Xlege

PMS: Xlege

DMS: Integration of all multifunctional devices with eCopy and Autonomy WorkSite