Legal marketing & BD job market update.
*Unless you are interested in a career in Legal Marketing & BD then I’d probably skip right on.
Easter is upon us, classically a time of new beginnings, new starts …new careers? So if you are thinking about changing role or seeing what is out there then I wanted to give a bit of an overview of the current market – at least as far as Legal Marketing & BD goes.
Let’s start by saying it’s still busy, lots of roles around, although the majority are tending to be at Manager or Executive level with only the occasional opportunity cropping up as a Head of/Director position. The key “talent battlegrounds” at the moment and for the foreseeable are going to be around:
- Client Development / Relationship / Account Management is very much the hot topic as firms have (on the whole) bundled that role into the wider Business Development role for a long time. Recognition that having someone to focus on all aspects of your contact with your key clients is worth its weight when it comes to increasing business, opening new routes to revenue and maintaining the client when it comes time to re tender. This is being pushed and emphasised not only internally but from the larger clients who are starting to demand clarity of who their “account manager” will be outside of the customary Partner.
- Bids roles remain highly contested and highly demanded. The main issue here is supply and demand. Most Law firms are bringing in fully experienced Bid Managers and want individuals with lengthy law firm experience… as the number of positions grow and no one is investing in developing more junior professionals then the numbers are not matching up. Salaries are going up but even so it is proving harder and harder to source. Definitely time for law firms to start thinking a little more creatively about why experienced Bid Managers would want to swap roles into a near identical position? Don’t just think about salary but do you offer flexibility, do you offer career progression, what makes your environment and role better than the one they are already in.
- Interestingly Internal Comms within law firms, an area that has traditionally either sat within the HR function of a law firm or been bundled into a wider Communications role is being sought more and more. A number of firms have identified this area as one of crucial significance, as more and more nationally/internationally relevant topics are picked up by the press (gender inequality in pay being the most obvious example currently. Having someone who can present this information and what needs to be done about it in a sensitive and open manner is crucial.
- Business Development roles will always be in demand. Relative to “Marketing” positions, BD is still a new position and as such teams are developing and being re defined everywhere. As firms switch from Sector to practice group, from having a generalist to specialists. From having back office BD professionals to front of house Sales focussed BD. It is a constantly evolving area and again one that will for a while to come be always in demand.
- Law firm experienced Executives with 12 – 24 months marketing experience will always find a role whether that remains in marketing or is a move into BD/Client development there will constantly be a requirement.
Unfortunately, with all these roles there remains the usual reluctance to look outside of sector. There are some cultural issues which can make this understandable but all too often quality is being overlooked in favour of the proven legal marketer, sometimes to the extent that a role can be open for 6 months or longer as the hiring team avoid any sniff of risk. All is not closed off entirely though and you should not be put off applying if you have experience in other professional services, financial services or business services.
All in, it is a good time to look at the Legal market. It is continuing to change and adapt and I can not see that slowing for a while to come. If you want to discuss the market in more depth, find out about opportunities or just flag an interest in hearing about new opportunities then please get in touch with Patrick McLean. Alternatively feel free to browse the website and see if there are opportunities that might interest.