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Sales is a dirty word in the legal profession. But the stark reality is lawyers across the United States are aggressively selling their services and the trend will eventually move to Connecticut. One indication of that is Day, Berry & Howard’s recent hiring of Roberta Montafia as its chief marketing officer. Montafia was a moderator at the first national conference of the Legal Sales and Service Organization in June. She also sits on its board of advisers. In an article she penned for the group’s publication, LSSO Review, in May 2004, she wrote, “I have heard some say that sales is simply another passing ‘fad’ that will soon lose favor. … I see it as a trend and predict that over a relatively short period of time we will see firms that have recognized sales is a discrete business function. These firms will exploit it to differentiate themselves in a big way,” she wrote. In addition to Montafia, DBH has hired Catherine McDonagh, a founder of the Legal Sales and Service Organization, to be in charge of business development in its Boston office. She had been director of marketing and client services at Boston’s Ruberto, Israel & Weiner. McDonagh knows of no firms in Connecticut that have hired sales directors — yet. “They’re using consultants for training and coaching,” she said in an interview. “It’s still a function that is outsourced. Law firms are just beginning that evolutionary process of moving from marketing to sales.” “Marketing opens the doors,” added Montafia. “Sales gets you through and closes the deal. Sales is identifying a need and meeting that need.” James Sicilian, chair of the executive committee at Day, Berry & Howard, is still a little leery of the idea. “Bringing in someone like Roberta is a reflection of a desire to increase our professionalism in terms of our business development activities. We don’t think of it as marketing or business development in the way a lot of people might think about it: the way you might market a consumer product. I think we’re a long, long way from that.” Sicilian said he doesn’t see a day when DBH has sales people making cold calls to prospective clients. “It would not be a very effective technique,” he said. “What clients want is less reactive, less about what we can do and more thought about what they need.” On this point, boss and employee might disagree. “What [law firms] don’t realize is they are selling a service,” Montafia said. “That’s the reality of it, whether they like it or not. [Sales is] a word that’s not understood and they’re not comfortable with it. Give them five years.”

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