Don’t underestimate the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) in law firms

In recent months, many law firms are re-evaluating their business and marketing methods. Firms have expanded their teams into new areas, hiring Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) at higher rates than ever before. (LINK).

Typically the hiring and firing of CMOs occurs in 4-5 year cycles, as the market varies. Many lawyers are now accepting jobs at firms who prioritize business as well as legal strategy, to ensure client retention.

Yet – the demand for legal marketing is inconsistent. As the economy secures, many firms don’t look to grow themselves further.

Deborah Farone, former CMO of BigTen firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, offers a different perspective. In an article at Law.Com (LINK) She addresses the “disconnect between what firms believe they want in a CMO and what they really need.”

Law firms often have the misconception that a CMO will possess the key to success from day one. In actuality, the leadership and the CMO must work to build a long-term relationship with each other and their target market. CMOs are no minor position; as any attorney, CMOs are on call 24 hours a day, with a starting salary upward of $350,000 if employed at an Am Law 100 firm.

What can the Israeli legal marketing sector learn?

The Israeli legal market should understand that this field is constantly evolving, as it depends a multitude of factors such as consumer demand, the economy, and the development of legal tech. It is highly encouraged that they utilize a marketing resource to ensure profitability.

When recruiting CMOs, it is wiser that they derive from the legal market, or other similar professional sectors. A substantial knowledge of the financials and economics of law firms and the legal market is of utmost importance, so a firm’s profitability data can be applied to its business strategy.

Overall, we cannot underestimate the role of a CMO in a firm’s legal team. Firms cannot get too comfortable and dispose of their marketing department when financial times are good. The recipe for long term success is a strong relationship between those on the business end and those on the legal end a firm.