Just three months after bringing on a new chief marketer, Hill Wallack in Princeton again has a vacancy for the job.
Joshua Peck, a veteran law firm marketer, joined Hill Wallack in December as director of marketing and business development. But a reporter who attempted to contact him by email Monday received a reply announcing Peck was “no longer with the firm.”
Peck said his last day at Hill Wallack was March 13, and that his relationship with the firm was “not a good fit.” He declined to say whether he was asked to leave, but he doesn’t have another job lined up. Peck said he is “eagerly seeking opportunities to put my 30-plus years of experience to work.”
Michael Kahme, the managing partner at Hill Wallack, would not comment on Peck’s departure.
Peck was director of media relations at Duane Morris from 2004 to 2018, and had earlier stints in marketing and communications at Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Kirkland & Ellis.
Peck’s post was vacant for several years before Hill Wallack hired him. Two people each had one-year stints as the firm’s chief marketer before Peck, according to a source familiar with the firm who asked not to be named.
Peck’s short tenure at Hill Wallack highlights the high expectations and special challenges facing law firm marketers, according to people familiar with the job.
Some law firm marketing directors have had stints even shorter than Peck’s. In February, Fox Rothschild hired Jodie Collins to serve as chief marketing officer, but she left within a few days.
Law firm marketing is a profession with high turnover because legal marketers often clash with law firm partners who lack business sense, said Kimberly Alford Rice, a Cherry Hill law firm marketing consultant.
“When folks like myself and Josh Peck go into law firms, and we have the tools to assist law firms to grow their business and make sure their clients are satisfied, lawyers tend to dismiss their expertise because they don’t understand it,” Rice said.
“I have colleagues in our field who are on their seventh or eighth law firm,” said Rice, herself a veteran of Dilworth Paxson, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and Capehart Scatchard.
Rice, who is acquainted with Peck and with three prior marketing directors at Hill Wallack, says the firm has a reputation as very old, tradition-bound and dominated by white male partners. Hill Wallack, which has 65 lawyers, was founded in 1978.
Law firm partners often fail to define what role the marketer should play in the firm before he or she is hired for the position, said Joel Rose, a Cherry Hill law firm management consultant. Marketing is “a very sore spot in many firms—there are people who love doing it and people who hate doing it,” he said. If those who are less enthusiastic about the marketer’s plans are feeling pressured to go along with implementation of those plans, “It ends up being very, very frustrating for the marketing director and it becomes extremely frustrating for the partners,” Rose said.
“If somebody is practicing law a certain way for 30 years and all of a sudden here comes this young, aggressive marketing director who says you have to do things differently to generate business, the senior person is going to resent that,” Rose said.