Marketing and business development teams in law firms have quickly expanded across Asia in recent years, mainly because the merits of effective marketing and business development have become more evident and valuable in the eyes of many legal professionals. In addition, client expectations of quality and speed of services provided have also risen immensely, increasing the competition across the industry as law firms fight to keep their key clients engaged. This has led to the growing dependence on marketing and business development teams that we now see.
Partners have become more receptive to the efforts of marketing and business development teams. Teams are adopting more of an advisory approach rather than the typical ‘support function’ approach previously experienced. Increased collaboration is being cultivated and more training is being conducted to educate fee earners on how marketing and business development teams can aid their needs most effectively. There is now a higher degree of clarity and transparency surrounding what marketing and business development do.
As a result, the quality and demand of marketing and business development professionals from hiring managers has also evolved. Hiring managers no longer just want the hard-working, efficient ‘yes-man’ candidate. They now also look for that personal touch in areas such as ambition; candidates that not only look to grow individually within a team, but also have an ambition to build bigger picture ideas to grow the firm as whole, i.e. passionate forward-looking candidates.
Marketing and business development roles are becoming more and more interactive, both internally and externally, hence why it is also so important that a hiring manger is convinced that a candidate can work well with and influence partners effectively. Communication and presentation are key.
Standout candidates will also be those who have a genuine interest in the business direction the firm is taking, including everything from key client programmes and client alerts, to internal communication and news on the intranet. These candidates will have a plan or idea of their own on how they can contribute to the firm. Creativity, innovation and strategic thinking are sought after. Whilst the nature of roles available are evolving, hiring managers are still looking for candidates who appreciate and accept that nitty-gritty work will always be in the job description and are also open to always looking inwards at areas for improvement no matter what level they’re at.
Previously, flexibility and open-mindedness were not commonly used terms in the legal recruitment setting, but these have become qualities that hiring managers really consider to be vital for that ideal candidate. This is especially relevant with the wave of LegalTech sweeping in. Law firms have had to re-engineer their operations, team structures and the way business decisions are made. With these types of new change management programmes being adopted by firms over the next few years, candidates must demonstrate that they understand the effect this will have on their roles and can quickly adopt to a fast-changing environment.
Last but not least, as the way we work across the globe evolves, the benefits of both regional and global partnerships are being increasingly recognised, and law firms are breaking down the barriers of communication across regions and teams. This creates a more transparent flow of internal information, including giving offices across the globe more freedom to discuss marketing campaigns using multiple angles such as culture and diversity. Stakeholders are then exposed to more ideas and perspectives, widening the potential clients they can target. As a result, hiring managers will gravitate towards those candidates who are excited to work across different time zones and encourage collaboration with different cultures and backgrounds.
With all that being said, more than ever before, when it comes down to it, a candidate with that passion and open mindedness to go the extra mile will always be first choice.