At Totum, we know roles across management functions in law are on the rise. We have also seen new roles emerge too – in project and process management, innovation, change, risk and compliance, and more. With these roles, new talent and skills are constantly coming into law, which are not only changing the legal business model, but BD and marketing functions too.

We recently conducted several interviews with experts spanning business services functions in law. We discussed themes including innovation in law (do clients really want it? And, if so, in what form?), pricing in legal services and project management.

While many of these newer business functions are likely to be headed up by a specialist in that particular field, it is striking that most also plug into modern and highly sophisticated BD and marketing departments. At the same time, with the rise of technology and innovation, so too are BD and marketing professionals moving out of their functional remit and into other business areas of the firm.

Today’s senior BD and marketing professionals play a key role, for example, in enabling the right kind of innovation, bringing to the table a keen understanding of changing economic and business forces and the firm’s objectives vis-à-vis new and existing markets. So too do they provide a key link in the chain between developing internal pricing policies and pitching fee arrangements to clients. Indeed, while pricing specialists typically sit within the finance functions, a few firms now choose to sit them within BD and marketing departments, recognising their close relationship in the commercial development of the firm. 

We know the vital lynchpin role BD and marketing teams play in the modern firm, but we were also interested to see this fact played out in our recent research we conducted into business services roles in the legal sector.  We collated data on all UK legal business services vacancies advertised from January 2016 to July 2018, using the information gathered to track trends across different business services disciplines.

Overall, there was a 15% increase in law firm management roles in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. This compares to 11% within the sector overall in the same time period, (so encompassing both legal and non-legal roles) making business management a key priority in legal recruitment.

Close up: BD and marketing

 

But it is the marketing and business development (BD) function that saw particularly high levels of activity in the first half of 2018, markedly higher than the same period in 2016 or 2017. While the volume of activity leveled off to more average volumes in the second quarter of the year, we have remained busy throughout this period, with hiring activity rising again in the autumn of last year. 

In terms of regional activity, London dominates: over half of all law firm BD and marketing roles in the first half of 2018 were based in the capital. Activity in marketing teams in London in the first half of 2018 has also been up 50% on the same period in 2017. Many marketing teams will be based within their firm’s London headquarters, enabling them to take a strategic view of both national and international development needs.

Elsewhere, the fastest growing regions for marketing roles in 2018 were Scotland and the North West, with 51.7% and 40% more vacancies than the year before respectively. This reflects the trend among firms to shift process-driven and more junior BD and marketing resource out to the regions where firms are increasingly locating support services offices.

When analysed by role, the largest single point of recruitment was for BD roles, where activity has increased by 15% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. This doesn’t surprise us. Firms competing for growth in an uncertain market prize the ability of BD experts to gain market share and support business growth.

This research, combined with our day-to-day experience of working with BD and marketing teams across all sizes of firm, has shown that BD and marketing is a critical function that has attained high levels of sophistication in terms of the breadth and depth of roles on offer. We have been delighted to support the growing contribution of BD and marketing teams in the legal profession and look forward to seeing how these professionals continue to add value in the fast-developing future of law.

Click here to see this piece as featured in Centrum, the PSMG Magazine

If you would like to see the full report ‘Recruiting Trends in Law Firm Business Services’, which includes data and analysis of trends across all legal business services functions, please contact [email protected]

 

 

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