Marketing Partner Forum: A Look Back & a Glimpse of What’s to Come!

Topics: Business Development & Marketing Blog Posts, Client Relations, Law Firm Profitability, Law Firms, Marketing Partner Forum, Midsize Law Firms Blog Posts, Thomson Reuters

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As we ready for the upcoming 24th Annual Marketing Partner Forum — presented by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute and held from January 25-27 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California — we look back at last year’s event and the hot topics discussed there.

The 23rd Annual Law Firm Marketing Partner Forum was held in Orlando, Florida, and carried a weighty message: Those law firms that make an effort towards marketing and business development will find that work paying real dividends and becoming a crucial advantage in a still-tightening market. Indeed, according to the results of the annual Marketing Partner Forum attendee survey done then, both budgets and headcounts for marketing and business development efforts at law firms had grown over 2015, and were poised for more growth in 2016.

It will be interesting in a few weeks to see if that trend continued throughout 2016 and is expected to grow in 2017!

Last year, several crucial panel discussions highlighted the growing importance of marketing and business development in the legal industry, especially as law firms, large and small, are looking for differentiators to set themselves apart from the competition.

One panel last year, entitled Designing a Wholly Integrated Marketing and Business Development Model, demonstrated how vitally important it is to have integrated marketing model that works in tandem with the firm’s business development efforts. The panel also discussed how such a cohesive model requires strong collaboration as well as a clear understanding of the firm’s objectives in areas such as social media and networking.

Indeed, with collaboration as the overarching theme of last year’s Forum, this panel was one of many that underscored the importance of collaboration within the firm to produce the best results for clients and for promoting business development.

“Firms that create silos and do not encourage collaboration fail to take advantage of the full panoply of talent available to present a unified, efficient and holistic approach to client problem solving,” said James D. Pagliaro, Lead Partner of Firm Marketing & Business Development at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and one of the Co-Chairs of last year’s Forum.

Another panel encouraged firms to take the best advantage of their talent, with lawyers at many firms running across the generational age-span. In a discussion, entitled The Ties that Bind: Building Cross-Generational Leadership in Client Relations and Business Development, three corporate counsel and two law firm leaders discussed how best to create and utilize multi-generational teams and what to expect from those teams in dealing with clients and developing new business.

That panel, in fact, well complemented another on how law firms can best invest in junior partners and associates in areas of coaching and monitoring to greatly benefit the firm. The panel, entitled Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? Investing in Junior & Income Partners for Business Development addressed these issues in the context of improving business development, talent advancement and dealing with difference generations within a law firm.

All said, last year’s Marketing Partner Forum was a tremendous success and this year’s upcoming event will build on these discussions and propel attendees into 2017 with a deeper grasp of the vital issues around marketing, business development and fostering mutually beneficial (and lasting!) client relationships.