5 Steps to Turn Millennial Lawyers into Marketing Mavens

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Marketing and business development are critical for young lawyers to reach the next level in their careers, but they don’t always come easy. Neither are typically taught in law school, and with hefty billable hour requirements, it can be tough for new associates to find time for everything. According to “A Booming Force in Law: The Millennial Lawyer,” a recent study from Cubicle Fugitive, respondents reported spending 33% of their non-billable hours on marketing and business development, but they still wish they had more time for it — and they wish they knew how to use that limited time effectively.

Luckily, there are some simple steps law firms can take to support their millennial lawyers. This topic was discussed at “Turning Millennial Lawyers into Marketing Ninjas,” a session led by Morgan MacLeod of Cubicle Fugitive and Lindsay Bombardier of Lenczner Slaght at this year’s LMA Southwest Regional Conference. Here are five tips we learned:

  1. Demystify their target market. According to the report, many young lawyers don’t know who their ideal client is, and even when they stumble upon a good prospect, they have no idea how to connect with them. Identifying and truly understanding their market is a tricky process that can take years. Firms can help jumpstart associates’ progress by giving them insights into their target market, from personal anecdotes to market research. If your firm has a business development department, this is a great reason to ask for their assistance.
  1. Give them more time. Of course, billable hours are central, but marketing and business development is the secret ingredient to a long and successful career. Partners have a responsibility to demonstrate the importance of making time for these activities — and the power to literally give associates more time. Allowing young associates some flexibility to attend networking events and conferences is an investment in them and in the firm.
  2. Engage them. A surprising number of survey respondents reported that they don’t do marketing or business development because they just don’t think they need to. Others said they have some sense of its importance, but they don’t have any interest or energy for it. Nip these misconceptions in the bud by modeling good marketing habits. Encourage associates to connect with business development staff and reinforce the importance of these activities in your firm culture.
  3. Make introductions. It’s difficult to build a client base with no network, which is the position many young lawyers find themselves in. Survey respondents said their partners can help by introducing them to current clients and hosting more firm-sponsored networking events. Some even said they want their firms to add dedicated sales departments. While creating a new department may not be possible, making an introduction definitely is — and a 30-second interaction can make a lifetime of difference.
  4. Coach them into confidence. The report reveals that the majority of millennial lawyers feel unsure of themselves when they make the jump from law school to the real world, especially in terms of business development. Coaching and training in this area can be a huge confidence boost. It can take the form of partner mentorship, personalized strategic plans and client pitching training; all of it will help millennial lawyers become the best they can be.

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