The relationship between attorneys and marketing and business development professionals in Big Law firms is changing as firms explore new ways to foster career paths and increase the level of understanding of business services roles to the partnership.
In an ALM article, Calibrate CEO Jennifer Johnson speaks to the rise of a new, empowered era for marketing and business development professionals. Traditionally, business services professionals have been viewed as the concierge to attorneys, taking direction from partners with the hope of increasing business, within law firms. However, Johnson notes that the industry is “moving away from an attorney concierge model” to a “proactive model”.
Business development professionals are now being viewed as integral players to firm success. When acknowledged as Revenue Enablers by firm leadership, their efforts and contributions can be better attributed to advancing the firm’s profitability.
The ultimate Nirvana is where they are known as revenue catalysts. And there will always be a need for that because, for most attorneys, that is not a natural skill set and they are not given training.
Yet, there are still challenges that the legal industry faces in regard to business development professionals. Notably, many law firm business development professionals have been switching up careers since the onset of pandemic and ensuing increase in flexibility by many firms.
There was a mass musical chair game that happened in the past couple years…but anyone who was going to move for the money did so in the last year or so. Most people now are passive candidates.
Johnson further asserts that another layer of the problem is firms’ unwillingness to consider talent outside of the legal industry. The coupling of those issues has lead to a dearth of available marketing and business development talent with “only so many to go around.”
Given this, law firms need to shift their focus not only on attracting talent, but also retaining their current talent. This includes reskilling and upskilling opportunities as well as clearly defining paths forward for their team members.
To learn more about how Calibrate can help your firm search for impactful business services professionals that will drive your firm’s vision forward and increase profitability, please reach out to Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Calibrate.