It can’t have escaped anyone’s attention that there has been a significant rise in legal marketing recruitment from adjacent professional services industries, such as accounting and management consulting. If I didn’t know better, I’d say there was a promotion on marketing jobs in the legal sector. Something is clearly going on.
This surge is likely due to a number of factors. The Legal Services Act came into force on 6 October, breaking down the barriers to non-lawyers to enter the legal services market. Now, there is a real need for law firms to match the creative and marketing standards of these new competitors, including today’s big business consultancies – many of which are already well-oiled marketing machines.
Business services providers are also increasingly positioning themselves as “trusted business advisors”. This presents a major challenge for typical law firms, characterised by their legal briefings and “traditional” brand image. Marketing and thought leadership in particular will be critical to this makeover. See my previous article legal thought leadership comes of age for the reasons why.
Top recruits from these adjacent industries will bring invaluable insights to these “legal laggards”. At this early stage in the legal marketing revolution, there is a real opportunity for them to raise the bar for integrated marketing and high impact thought leadership campaigns in this sector.
The road to becoming a credible, dynamic business advisor is littered with challenges however. LLP-style decision-making and the general conservative nature of legal businesses will make it hard for marketing revolutionaries to convince partners of the need for change. The business case will need to be couched in terms that are familiar to them, whilst opening their eyes to a new vision for the firm.
Then there are the usual challenges associated with being an early adopter of a new way of working. Not to mention that many firms are starting from a stand still when it comes to encouraging partner participation in business commentary for example. Marketing will need company-wide support for making bold statements, creating IP and reaching audiences through the various online and offline channels available.
It might be early days, but I am convinced that this wave of new legal marketing hires will precede a steady increase in the number of law firms talking about thought leadership and working to differentiate themselves from the business consulting crowd.