At Panitch Schwarze, an intellectual property boutique, the partners have incorporated the technology manager and the human resources manager in all marketing efforts. Both managers are on the marketing committee and work directly with outside marketing agencies and professionals.
Today, technology is very much a part of marketing. A technical expert’s insight is invaluable. Websites, blogs, database management, social media, and other means of digital communication can be daunting to an attorney who wants to focus on clients but still needs to have an online presence. Many clients require strict guidelines before a law firm is considered to represent them. Administrative personnel can meet those requirements and maintain a secure infrastructure.
Client Relations Management (CRM) has undergone a tremendous transformation over the years through technology—from sending postcards and e-alerts to maintaining a database of all of the firm’s “touches” of a client or contact. Any robust CRM database requires integration with Outlook and constant syncing to capture the latest client and business partner data. The technology manager must make sure that this database meets a rigorous data quality assessment (for duplicates and errors), and must train all relevant users. Attorneys must maintain their client privacy, so cybersecurity must always be at the forefront of CRM implementation. Additionally, as we adapt as a global society to the rapid advancement of network technologies with evolving legal interpretations regarding privacy and related legislation (such the emergence of Eurozone and Canadian privacy laws), so must the management of our respective CRM systems. This requires the continued involvement of technology managers and marketing committees.
Human resources are responsible for recruiting, retention and employee engagement. The firm must be presented in such a way to entice potential attorneys and staff to join the team. The firm culture, mission, goals, and story should be properly and consistently reflected in marketing efforts. When a potential lateral Googles your firm, what do you want to come up? Compelling thought leadership, feel-good stories, and a website that supports the clients and businesses that we serve is critically important to making a good impression. This information is part of the employer brand, and it should stay competitive for recruiting and retention.
Marketing not only involves attracting new clients but attracting attorneys with compatible clients. Administrative professionals can take their attorneys to events and help promote them to potential clients or referral sources. These key personnel can also directly market on behalf of the firm in areas peripheral to their attorneys’ field of law, such as in legal technology. Administrative personnel can be the “face of the firm” when appropriate. These employees often participate in associations where they meet and interact with other law firm marketers, lawyers, and law firm leaders.
As for retention and engagement, HR professionals can promote and motivate attorneys and staff by not only internally marketing accomplishments but getting those stories out to media, the firm website, and social media channels. This creates a sense of togetherness, of being part of a firm that cares for and supports its own. It leaves a positive impact on employees, and when employees feel recognized, they get even more engaged and they stay. With low unemployment rates, the hiring landscape is competitive. Employee engagement and retention is a key metric for firms in 2018. Marketing needs to tie into this key metric.
Social media and online presence are key today. Administrative personnel can “ghost write” for attorneys on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter when appropriate. They also can update an attorney’s bio on the firm’s website and keep the site fresh with content.
Administrative personnel should be included on their firm’s websites. It shows bench strength, and lets laterals and other applicants know that this firm knows how to run a strong business and support the partners.
Human resources and technology managers are often clear forward-thinkers of an organization. They have to be, with the ever-changing landscape of their job. Most see themselves as change champions, and they are already customer-centered by nature due to their roles. It only makes sense to have them contribute to the marketing and future profitability of the firm. To effectively market a law firm, all members of the firm need to be engaged.