Hiring a marketing person or director for your law firm can be the smartest thing you do for the growth of your firm.
Firms in the early stages may not be able to take on hiring a marketing professional and may handle the marketing on their own. However, once the firm reaches a certain level of success and financial security, you may decide you would rather spend your day doing “lawyerly” things and hire a professional to handle the marketing end.
This does not mean that you are out of the picture. You need to be able to dedicate a certain amount of time to working with your marketing director or team. After all, this is your firm. You need to make sure they are putting your vision out there. You will want to approve strategies and tactics, and ensure that your firm is being represented the way you want it represented.
Now, do you hire a freelancer, or do you hire an in-house marketing director for your firm? Of course, cost will be the biggest determining factors. While some freelancers enjoy long-term relationships, typically they take on smaller project work. This is a good idea if you need a quick press push around a specific event or announcement. If you are looking to establish a long-term association and a continued media presence, it is most likely a good idea to hire an in-house marketing director. This will allow a broader scope of work to be done over a longer period of time.
Once you have decided which route will work best for your firm, it is time to start the search. The best recommendations are, of course, word of mouth. Talk to other attorneys, associates, colleagues and friends. Talk to members of your professional organizations and see where they have found success. LinkedIn is also a great resource.
It’s a good idea to interview of handful of professionals. It is important to determine how well this individual is going to “fit” with your firm. You will need to find out if they have had experience with not only legal marketing but the specific type of marketing you desire for your firm. And what level of success have they had with marketing a law firm? Prior experience in a similar area is the best indicator of future success. You want your marketing pros to have the right skills, contacts and knowledge of your industry to do the job right.
You will both need to agree on the services to be provided, the deliverables and other expectations. Be willing to share company information and background stories. And remember: people work harder for employers that they like. Aim to be responsive, courteous and receptive to the expert advice you have sought.
Combine that with an occasional “thank you” and you will be well down the road to a happy and productive working relationship.