I am the managing partner of a twenty seven lawyer insurance defense firm in Orlando, Florida. In the last seven years we have grown from ten lawyers to twenty seven. Our firm is very dependent upon a handful of insurance companies and we are looking at ways to diversify our practice. Our rapid growth has caused us to outgrow our management structure. A few years ago we hired our first firm administrator to manage the business operations of the firm. We are now considering establishing a business development/marketing position to help focus our business development efforts. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I would start by giving some thought to your organizational structure overall. How and where does this position line up with the other management positions in the firm? Will the position report to the firm administrator or will the position be equal in stature to the firm administrator and report to the managing partner or executive committee? What will be the title of the position - marketing director, director of business development, business development manager, etc.? Will the position have assistants/direct reports? What are the position's performance expectations and duties?
Often law firms do not have a successful experience with their first business development/marketing manager. Typically this is a result of not taking the time to define the position, performance expectations, required skills and competencies, and hiring a candidate with the maturity and leadership required to be successful in the role.
Here are a few suggestions:
- For the initial position - use a title similar to Business Development or Marketing Manager (Director of Business Development at such time in the future as the administrator's role grows warranting the title of Executive Director or Director of Administration).
- Have a position equal in stature to the Firm Administrator with both reporting to the managing partner or executive committee.
- Develop a sound position description
SAMPLE JOB DESCRIPTION
The business development manager is responsible for the management of all aspects of business development within the firm and supports business development initiatives within the firm. This management will occur either through direct activities, direct reports or delegation to subordinate staff. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Develop, recommend, and manage the firm marketing plan.
- Supervise marketing support personnel.
- Support the firm, practice groups, and individual attorney's business development initiatives and programs.
- Recommend markets and projects to pursue.
- Track and follow-up firm marketing and business development leads.
- Manage firm business relationships.
- Direct internal and external firm marketing and business communications.
- Represent the firm at trade shows and other events.
- Manage marketing and business development events and activities.
- Write the firm newsletter.
- Update and maintain the firm website.
- Develop and maintain the firm brochure.
- Participate in the strategic planning process.
- Hire, train, and coach marketing staff, practice group chairs, and individual attorneys
Doing your homework upfront will pay dividends and insure that the position is successful.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC