Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
As part of Akin Gump’s ongoing client relations efforts, we hold an annual retreat for our female partners and female clients. Our goal is to allow the clients at this “women’s retreat” to network among themselves. A side benefit of the event is the opportunity for our lawyers to enhance relationships with our clients. From the reactions we have consistently observed and the feedback we have received, we believe these objectives have been not only met, but surpassed. The retreat is able to serve more than just our marketing department’s goals. Because the firm’s recruiting department is apprised of the women’s networking event, our recruiting team is able to discuss this significant women’s initiative with female law students and prospective lateral hires, distinguishing Akin Gump from other law firms. As a result of continual communication between our marketing and recruiting departments, the retreat’s benefits to the firm are greatly enhanced. For years, most major law firms have maintained separate recruiting and marketing departments, which have been distinct from each other in almost every aspect, from function to physical proximity. Forward-thinking firms, however, recognize that when these two departments work together, they can add to each other’s performance and ultimate success. The reasoning is quite elementary: the essential theme underlying both the marketing and recruiting functions — how to promote the firm — is the same; only the audience is different. RECRUITING’S ROLE Recruiting is composed of two essential elements. The department must promote the firm’s culture and practice to those candidates — both law school graduates and practicing attorneys — who meet the firm’s hiring criteria. Additionally, the recruiting department must develop creative methods to retain attorneys, realizing that the cost to replace a lawyer at a large law firm can be as much as $250,000, taking into consideration all costs. A recruiting department’s function is carried out in a variety of ways. For instance, the recruiting staff endeavors to promote the firm to law students and lateral candidates. The goal is to relay the “right” message through many mediums, including www.vault.com, www.infirmation.comand various articles and surveys in the legal press. Recruiters occasionally use public relations, particularly when it is necessary to manage false information about their firms in the marketplace. Moreover, recruiting departments seek to build relationships with, and generate support at, law schools. They may sponsor law school events or provide speakers at law school job fairs. Reaching out to law school career counselors is imperative to understanding the wants and needs of law students and creating a “buzz” at a law school. Recruiters additionally encourage and facilitate associate committees and alumni groups, often an untapped resource for recruiting and marketing purposes. Alumni can be a viable source of recruiting referrals and potential new business. THE ROLE FOR MARKETING Just as the recruiting department must “promote” the firm to its audience, a law firm’s marketing department also must promote the firm, albeit to a different audience — existing and prospective clients. Marketing departments focus on retention and development, too, although with regard to clients rather than attorneys. (Marketers naturally recognize that better retention of attorneys improves delivery of services to clients, and is an important goal of the firm.) It is common knowledge that consistent attorney contact with clients breeds fulfilling relationships between attorneys and clients. Some of the tools used by marketing departments are, or can be, used by recruiting departments as well. For instance, law firm marketers promote their firms through seminars, newsletters, bylined articles, advertising and public relations. They communicate the services of the firm through presentations and by responding to requests for proposals. Marketers help to institutionalize the client base by cross-selling different practice areas. In addition, they can provide important value-added services such as CLE seminars, extranets and client service teams. WORKING TOGETHER Given their common concerns and goals, marketing and recruiting departments should collaborate to further their firm’s interests. Indeed, there are a number of important steps that these two groups should take to improve the services that each provides. The most important step is communication. The two departments should exchange information regarding attorney activities, from pro bono matters to litigation victories, as well as information regarding practice area needs, such as hiring and growth goals. The director of recruiting should receive copies of all marketing materials and should be familiar with the information they contain. By the same token, the firm’s marketing director should be aware of all recruiting events undertaken by the firm and should make every effort to attend them. With this shared knowledge, both department heads will be able to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Recently, to take an example from the authors’ firm, the marketing department was asked to suggest the names of several junior attorneys who could participate in a recruiting and retention conference for law firm managing partners, and approached the recruiting department for its input. The two departments decided it would be appropriate to ask a summer associate who had been invited to join the firm following graduation — but who had not yet made a decision — to speak at the conference. In addition to providing an interesting perspective for conference attendees (a plus for the marketing department), the recruiting director believed that the invitation and the law student’s subsequent involvement in the program would positively affect his ultimate decision to join the firm. Another instance where internal communication led to a favorable result occurred recently when the recruiting department became aware that the firm had co-sponsored a significant antitrust program for clients, entitled “Litigating Against Major Competitors.” The firm invited a number of senior corporate executives to speak at the program and, in addition, a number of Akin Gump partners made presentations. The recruiting director subsequently was speaking with the dean of a law school at which the firm was recruiting. She was able to suggest one of the New York partners as a speaker for a program at the law school. The speech enhanced Akin Gump’s reputation among the students, and the partner was able to deliver his presentation on short notice because it had already been prepared; the presentation was a hit. ENHANCING COMMUNICATION In a perfect world, inter-departmental communication would be enhanced in a number of other ways. For example, the directors of the marketing and recruiting departments would meet regularly, preferably once a week, to discuss developments within their respective departments and the firm. All members of the departments would meet on a monthly basis to discuss their ongoing projects and to share creative ideas. In fact, it is desirable for the two departments to be physically situated near each other, to encourage communication and interaction. Further, such proximity will underscore the importance of the cooperation of the two departments. It also will avoid overlap and duplication of efforts. For instance, there is no reason why both the recruiting and marketing departments should prepare biographies of new attorneys and press releases or update firmwide databases. The two departments should make certain that all written materials contain the appropriate message points about the firm and remain consistent. Additionally, when law firms are considering launching an advertising campaign, they should be mindful that their message should reach both the potential recruit and the client. Further, if the recruiting department is highlighting a particular practice area as a growth area, the firm’s marketing materials should reflect that. There also should be consistency between the departments in matters as diverse as promotional gifts (e.g., coffee mugs should have the same logo, whether they come from the recruiting or marketing departments) and information posted on the firm’s Web site (the message should be the same, whether a particular page is intended for recruits or clients). CONCLUSION The more the recruiting department is aware of what the firm’s attorneys are communicating, whether in the speeches they give and other presentations they make, or in the articles and newsletters they are publishing, the more the recruiting department will be able to relay that information to prospective attorneys. Likewise, when the marketing department becomes aware that the firm is seeking to grow a particular practice area, it can develop appropriate materials or better focus its efforts. Simply put, when marketing and recruiting work together, they are better able to serve the firm and help it meet its goals — and, most importantly, add value to its clients. Dawn M. Gertz, the marketing manager in the New York City office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, is the president-elect of the New York City chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. JeanMarie Campbell, a former corporate attorney, is the manager of legal recruitment and professional development in the firm’s New York office.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.