Most law firms won't use the term "salesperson" to describe someone who helps drum up business for the firm. The title doesn't mesh well with the idea of professional attorneys who have to follow state ethics rules for all their marketing and sales efforts. Law firms still use sales people, but they have a variety of creative terms for the position.
State Restrictions on Law Firm Sales
Each state has its own set of rules regarding law firms engaging in sales. For example, most states do not allow lawyers to contact potential clients directly after they've had an accident and offer to represent them; the clients must seek the attorneys first. In addition, many states require that ads and marketing pieces for a firm must be run by the state's legal department before the ad is used. Regardless of title, anyone involved in sales or marketing for a law firm should understand these rules.
Sales Attorney or Sales Director
Some law firms stay pretty close to the "salesperson" title by hiring attorneys who have the title of sales attorney or sales director. These attorneys are hired specifically to bring new business to the firm. A sales attorney should be experienced in building relationships with clients and local groups relevant to the firm's focus. The title sales attorney typically refers to one person in charge of all sales-related efforts, while a sales director usually oversees a department. Understand that this sales attorney is different from similar titles such as "drug sales attorney" or "retail sales attorney," which deal specifically with sales laws for those genres.
Some law firms prefer not to have someone on staff focused specifically on sales, but would rather focus on marketing. These positions are typically titled marketing director, marketing manager, marketing associate or chief marketing officer. A marketing manager is a professional who works within a prescribed budget to develop a marketing plan that brings in new clients while also attracting media attention and educating the public. They typically have graduate degrees in marketing. Larger firms look for directors who have previous law firm experience along with a proven track record.
Practice Development Manager
A practice development manager is a fancy term for someone who has an executive position within a law firm that includes overseeing sales efforts. These managers coordinate public relations efforts, manage the firm's brand and develop sales goals and techniques. They typically oversee a department focused on marketing and PR.
Business Development Director
A business development director oversees sales efforts for a law firm. In a small firm, he'll be the only salesman. In a larger firm, he may oversee several marketing consultants. These directors are in charge of finding new clients, developing and enhancing relationships with existing clients and coming up with ideas for new areas of practice that the law firm can pursue.
- Altman Weil: A Sales Director at My Law Firm?
- Law Marketing Blog: Law Firm Requires New Associates to Have Sales Background
- Law Marketing Blog: San Diego Law Firm Hires Their First 'Sales Attorney'
- Zeughauser Group: Does Your Law Firm Need a Marketing Director?
- Plunkett Cooney: John E. Cornwell
- Stacy Clark Marketing: Innovations in Law Firm Marketing
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