Caroline Black is head of marketing at Walker Morris. She previously held management roles in the marketing department of Biggart Baillie and the Design Council.
What are the key elements of your role?
To provide strategic marketing support and guidance in all areas of marketing and business development activity, including areas such as public relations, design and branding, client relationship development, sponsorship and social media strategy.
How has your role changed during your time here?
While the key elements of the role and also the ultimate goal of fostering successful long-term client relationships have always been consistent, the tools and methods we use have changed immeasurably.
Technology and social media have had a big impact on how we communicate, with more and more clients accessing our online intranet services from mobiles and tablets and brand communication becoming a multi-platform dynamic.
Similarly, we were one of the first firms to offer online access to work in progress and billing. While this ethos and culture will remain, my role will continue to change as we look to balance quality of service with delivery efficiency.
What’s on your ‘to do’ list?
Everything from an international project to a partner blog.
If you were not doing this, what else would you like to be doing?
I am a qualified rescue scuba diver, so a job as a part-time diving instructor in the Maldives would appeal. Failing that, I have an idea for a children’s book, which I will one day put to the top of my ‘to do’ list.
What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?
Internally, we have introduced bespoke communications materials which can be tailored by fee earners to use in new business development. Externally, we offer clients Reach – a free knowledge database, accessed via the internet, which gives users a ‘window’ into Walker Morris. It also gives clients complete budgetary transparency and control and a new way to plan and control legal costs.
What impact are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and role?
The market is ‘all change’ at the moment with firm mergers, administrations and reshapings. The change to limited liability partnership status will mean that there will be greater transparency in terms of reporting, and solicitors can now benefit from the experience of non-execs. In terms of marketing and branding, we need to ensure that we have the flexibility to predict and meet our clients’ changing requirements.
What was the most pressing issue you faced last year?
We refreshed the brand, which touched every area of marketing across the firm and included a complete overhaul of our website. Planning the implementation was a huge task and involved managing both in-ternal and external communications.
What’s the favourite part of your week?
Friday afternoon. The chocolate usually comes out at some point.
What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?
Support staff: 186
Turnover: £41M (2011/12)
Profit per equity partner: £386K (2011/12)
PMS: Precedent for Windows
Case management: own system called CaseNet
Knowledge management: own system called Reach
Remote working: VPN