What titles make up a law firm marketing and BD team and how do individuals progress up the ranks? Totum’s latest research explores the roles that define the development of this pivotal function.

We recently conducted a survey to find out more about the job titles of marketing and BD (M&BD) teams based in law firms’ UK offices. We received 36 responses in total from a range of law firms spanning five revenue brackets from under £100m up to over £1bn.

Click here or on the image to see the full PDF report, including graphs detailing the compiled data.

Key findings

The following provides a few highlights from the survey findings:

  • Firms across all revenue brackets use a wide range of job titles across their M&BD functions, with the most common being Assistant, Executive, Senior Executive, Manager, Senior Manager, Head of and Director. Significantly, nearly a third of all firms (31%) are now using the Chief title.
  • The biggest firms by revenue have the most complex range of job titles and are more likely to use ‘Chief’ to denote the most senior BD&M role. Among the larger firms with revenue of over £500m, as many as 50% use the Chief title, with (67%) using the Director title. In smaller firms of less than £100m, only 10% use the Chief title with a high number (80%) still using Director.
  • In the largest firms, there are also more job titles in use across the board, including Specialist (33%) and Senior Advisor (17%). No firms under £100m revenue used these titles.
  • Bandings are most likely to be implemented across roles in the middle management stage – with most respondents selecting two bandings for Advisor (67%) and Senior Advisor roles (50%). A number of firms (21%) also have three bandings or more at Executive level, with a further 25% having two bandings for this role. Not surprisingly, the vast majority only have one banding at the most senior Chief and Director levels.
  • Most firms promote individuals on the basis of performance based on a competency framework (81%) although a smaller number (22%) use a broader mix of criteria including performance, business need and length of service.
  • Formalised training programmes to support individuals to progress to the next level are most common at Executive and Manager levels, although nearly a third (31%) are giving formal training to those at Director level, a good sign that firms recognise the importance of helping people to continue to progress in these most senior roles.
  • There was an interesting range of responses to the question of whether individuals need to be seen to be managing people to be promoted to manager. While most (36%) answered ‘no, but it is beneficial’, others (28%) responded ‘yes, but it could be on specific projects rather than having direct reports’. Only 11% said you would need ‘direct report experience’ to get promoted and a large number 25% said you would not need to show experience of managing people at all. This spectrum of opinion might reflect a more personal/human approach to promotion – that firms take each case on its own merit rather than applying a set process with fixed criteria.
  • With increasing seniority comes additional expectations for years of experience. For assistant roles, firms are not looking for any more than one year, rising to an average of 11 years’ experience for those at Director and Chief level. Managers typically have five years’ experience rising to just over eight years for Senior Manager roles.

Overall the job titles, bandings, training and promotional programmes used across UK law firms reflect both the complexity and size of todays’ M&BD function. All of these play a key part in the retention of teams and attraction of new people, particularly at Manager level and below. It is interesting to see the increase in the use of the Chief title across all firms and we are seeing this across the functional areas of firms.

Click here to see the PDF report, including all graphs.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of this survey, or would like to find out more about the development of marketing and BD teams in the professional services sector, contact Rebecca Ellis at [email protected] or Joanna Milne at [email protected]