A couple of friends of mine have become managing partners of law firms over the last several months. So, when I saw the offer for the free eBook “First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner” by Patrick McKenna of Edge International, I quickly downloaded it. In all honesty, I only perused the material to see that it might be of value to my friends in their new roles, before sending them a copy. I did not review it from a legal marketing standpoint. I should have, since clearly the firm’s marketing is the responsibility of every managing partner. And the first 100 days is not too early to start.
My oversight has been corrected by my friend Jim Hassett of Legal Business Development who pointed out in a post that the eBook did not appear to address the role of marketing or business development. Rather, it is primarily internally focused, rather than on clients. Since Patrick is a renowned law firm consultant (a very entertaining speaker I might add), who has addressed marketing issues hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the years, it is obvious that the subject simply wasn’t the focus of this work. He does mention talking to key clients about the transition and how it will affect them, but as we all know marketing is much more than that.
The point here for me, and Jim, is that a managing partner cannot focus too early on clients who are the lifeblood of every firm and the best source of new business, and that’s law firm marketing my friends.
Of course, it is important for a new managing partner to concentrate on those firm issues with which he/she needs to come to grips with (leadership, listening, communications, filling information gaps, setting standards and agendas). However, a great deal more emphasis, beyond the matter of the transition, should be put on talking with key clients (seeking feedback regarding the relationship, and listening to issues important to them) in the first 100 days.