“Must have previous law firm experience”. This has to be the most common phrase to appear on job descriptions for marketing & business development roles in law firms. But why? In an era when law firms need to stand out and be distinctive more than ever before, what are the implications for injecting creativity and new ideas into the profession?
By insisting on recruiting candidates who already have law firm experience, firms are obviously limiting their recruitment pool significantly. However, the more damaging impact is arguably to their competitive advantage.
Only recruiting people who have worked for other law firms, potentially competitors, will only bring ideas that your peers are already using. When firms are desperately striving to be distinctive this is counter-intuitive. Why would a firm want to be like everyone else? Isn’t the point to be better than your competitors? To do that you need better ideas, not the same ideas.
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90% of what one law firm does is the same as another. 10% is distinctive. I help law firms uncover, articulate and communicate how they’re distinctive. This helps win work. It also strengthens client loyalty, streamlines decision-making, enhances collegiality, makes recruitment easier and means time and money can be used more effectively. This might mean a complete rebrand for a firm that needs to define its market proposition more precisely. It could be helping a firm articulate its key messages more clearly and communicate them more persuasively through its bids and tenders, marketing materials, website or thought leadership. Sometimes it’s about building a concise framework to help deliver a best practice, distinctive experience at every stage of the client journey. Whatever it is, something distinctive exists within everyone – it just needs uncovering.