Law firm innovation officers seem to come from all kinds of backgrounds, from the more technical side all the way to the business end. In recent years, though, marketing is another area that has become a much more technical, data-driven practice across industries, and it’s driven law firms to adopt new software and technology to innovate their own strategies.
Enter Adam Stock, formerly the chief marketing officer and now chief information officer for Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis. Stock’s marketing background, while perhaps unexpected for a role increasingly concerned with cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, has given him broad experience in implementing new, technology-based strategies across the firm, as well as a strong sense of how to communicate value back to clients.
The Recorder recently caught up with Stock to ask a few questions.
LTN: How did you find your way into legal marketing?
Adam Stock: I worked for several software companies as the head of product management and marketing. In those roles, I worked extensively with our in-house and outside counsel on contracts, intellectual property, etc. When law firms started hiring business people in the early 2000s, I joined an Am Law 100 law firm [Dorsey & Whitney] as their first director of sales as part of their marketing and business development department. I became the chief business development and marketing officer of Dorsey, and later joined Allen Matkins as their head of marketing and client service.
How do you think your marketing background will inform your work as firm CIO?
Over the last 10 years, marketing has become very technical. The Allen Matkins marketing team has been in the forefront of using marketing technology tools to improve the firm’s visibility and client development. In addition, I founded and ran the LMA Legal Marketing Technology Conference for more than five years. The conference has been the focus and center of the use of technology in law firm marketing, client development and client service. I was privileged to work with the law firm marketers and technology partners who are a part of that community.
The marketing and business development departments of large law firms are uniquely positioned to understand and address the client life cycle at their firms. The challenge for law firms is to communicate the value they provide to their clients.
What specific things do you plan to draw from your marketing experience into your current position?
A law firm marketer and business developer cannot succeed without working well with attorneys and getting them to try new techniques. This position is measured by successful outcomes. The same is true for the digital transformations that law firms are undertaking. The adoption of new technologies and new ways of doing things by the firm and its attorneys is at the center of this job.
Are there any challenges you expect to deal with in making this transition?
The challenges that I face are the same as any CIO: driving innovation within the law firm. Law firm IT departments are excellent at maintaining a stable, secure and productive environment for their firms. They are less successful at driving innovation projects in a quick, agile and cost-effective manner to transform the way that their firms do business.
What are some of your initial priorities for your work in the next couple years?
Our primary priorities are to de-silo law firm information so law firms can make better decisions, to apply new technologies to bring efficiency and value to clients, and to transform law firm processes so that law firms can become more innovative.
The CIO position is still a relatively new one in the law firm space. How do you imagine that position will evolve in the next couple years?
The CIO position recognizes that the IT department is not just a provider of technology, but a provider of information solutions. Since law firms are information services, the position recognizes that information and technology excellence is strategic to the firm.
Law firms overall get a really bad rap for being slow to innovate and slow to adopt. How do you hope your work can or will change that?
While law firms have been slow to innovate, they have always been excellent at listening to their clients. Our clients and their legal operations departments are now asking for things that innovators inside law firms have been trying to push for a while. Clients help push law firms to be better at innovation.