Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day in America - U.S. Law Firms and Lawyers Support the U.S. Military and Veterans*

For lawyers whose practice already includes representing members of the military and/or veterans or for those lawyers/law firms interested in doing so, the American Bar Association (ABA) website offers over 7,000 resources which can be accessed by visiting the site and typing “Veterans” in the search bar.  Many state bars have also developed either heroes’ and/or heroes’ and veterans’ assistance programs, for example the state bars of Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.

Also, pro bono representation opportunities to help veterans and their families abound.
Every lawyer, law firm, law firm and legal industry employee can help support U.S. troops and veterans if they so desire. There are many great ways to do so, and many pro bono efforts/charities/groups exist. Excellent and bona fide pro bono and/or volunteer programs that support veterans can be found by contacting:  The American Legion (; the VFW (; the ABA ( and/or state bars. To volunteer and/or donate in the most productive manner, be sure to first verify the group/organization (because not all veterans’ charities/organizations use/apply their donations legitimately). Websites to visit to verify charities’ track records include: the American Institute of Philanthropy, Charity Navigator and/or GuideStar.


Julie Savarino is a lawyer and renowned business developer who helps law firms and lawyer new generate revenue by serving as a professional business developer, coach, trainer, program developer and strategist. She had the privilege and honor of serving pro bono as chief communications officer for Snyder v. Phelps and related efforts. Julie can be reached at (734) 668 7008 or If you like this post, check out and "like" Julie’s new Facebook page @therainmakercoach where she will be posting useful and valuable "sales" and business development tips and content for lawyers, law firm marketers and law firms all year long!

EXCERPT – from an article published in the November 2012 issue of Strategies, The Journal of Legal Marketing,

Monday, May 8, 2017

Improve ROI by Reorganizing the Law Firm Business Development Department?©

Many law firms employ in-house marketing/business development support professionals or have an entire in-house marketing/business development department. The current industry-wide ratio of lawyers to law firm marketers/business developers is around 25 to 1, but in many firms the ratio is much higher, up to around 50-75 to 1.  

Most in-house marketing/business development support professionals are still generalists who are expected to oversee and implement all marketing and business development efforts. But increasingly, specialists are being hired for one specific marketing function, such as events, RFPs and proposals, pricing analysts, business and competitive intelligence researchers, and/or client-facing executives tasked with developing leads and manage a pipeline.

A recent study of large law firm chief marketing officers found that at least 50% of their law firm marketing departments are understaffed, overworked and mainly reactive in fulfilling lawyers’ requests. And as a result, most do not have the time or the bandwidth to proactively address important strategic initiatives and projects in this incredibly competitive market. 

Many contributing factors are creating this road to burnout, one of which is the current organizational structure of a firm’s marketing/business development department. To improve ROI, various firms are:
  1. Separating the marketing department operations/management role into a separate position. 
  2. Centralizing all marketing support staff into a shared services model, often in a low-cost location, and/or, 
  3. Hiring sales executives and specialists to work with certain key practice and industry groups.
One global law firm recently announced the reorganization of its entire business development support function into three new departments: marketing, sales, and communications. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this new organizational model? And will other law firms follow suit? The firm is betting that separating its entire business development function into three new departments will improve the ROI and best serve the firm’s partners and lawyers. The three reorganized departments’ roles are as follows:
  1. MARKETING - The marketing department’s purpose is to generate awareness about the firm and its lawyers, position the lawyers, and generate new leads/interest/opportunities/inquiries. This department will oversee and handle all the most common awareness-generating and positioning tools used by law firms and lawyers, such as events, advertising, promotions, sponsorships, a CRM system and list creation.
  2. SALES - The sales department’s purpose is to maintain, enhance and expand key relationships. This department will handle all client-facing activities such as RFPs and proposal response and generation; client teams, reviews and interviews; business and competitive intelligence; pricing; referral and alumni programs; and trade show participation.
  3. COMMUNICATIONS - The communications department will oversee and handle all internal and external communications, public relations, media, etc. It will also house the firm’s online presence management function, including website maintenance and social media.
There is no one perfect organizational structure for law firm business development, but this one may still pose some challenges and redundancy issues, such as:
  1. Both marketing and sales rely on and use communications constantly, so how will overlap and/or redundancy be streamlined and/or avoided?
  2. Where will graphics/graphic design be housed? Each of the three departments above use graphics and graphic design routinely.
  3. What about technology and leveraging data? Again, these increasingly critical functions impact and are used by each of the three departments above.
  4. The #1 greatest source of new business for most law firms over the past few years is growth by acquisition/merger. But these important revenue drivers do not seem to be classified by this firm as “business development” or housed in one of the three new departments.
  5. Although only lawyers (usually only partners) can review and clear conflicts, it is important that the firm’s sales team have direct and formal working relationship with the firm’s conflicts department so that sales team members can make requests for conflicts reports to be run and sent to certain lawyers.
Creating an efficient and effective law firm business development department is time- and resource-consuming, as is identifying, hiring and training effective law firm marketing and business development talent. 

To learn more about assessing the effectiveness of your firm’s current business development organizational structure and how doing so may benefit your firm’s bottom line, please contact the author, Julie Savarino.

More Resources – 
Selective outsourcing can improve ROI, check out our BD Workforce services.