We’ve seen no slowdown in demand from our Chambers clients for talented individuals with the ability to lead and manage the development and evolution of their marketing and business development offerings.  But there have been some significant changes over the past 18 months.

What’s happening?

Teams have continued to grow, with most Sets now boasting a minimum of 2/3 but with others utilising 4, 5 and even 6 people, a handful are bigger and many also tap into external resources through consultants, agencies and freelancer.  Teams are now often headed up by an individual with significant responsibility for the strategic plans and direction of the business and are recognised as part of the ‘senior team’; often dovetailing with CEO/Ch’s Director/Senior Clerk/others for delivery.

Why?

  • New Work Streams – Sets continue to explore new opportunities and markets, some of which still follows traditional paths but increasingly not.  Where the bar may previously have lacked confidence to go it alone, waiting to do so in conjunction with law firms, it is now increasingly confident in its approach and is happy to do so; particularly for international work and emerging markets where the Bar Council has been actively encouraging it.
  • It must be done properly- Chambers are operating and delivering through much slicker and more professional operations, which requires people with the right skills and knowledge and simply more of them. Teams are led by the designated ‘head of’, but delivery is done collaboratively and in conjunction with direct colleagues, clerks, and members.
  • There is more to do – while many of the traditional methods of marketing and developing work remain in place, and thankfully some have fallen away, methods to promote services include significant social and digital operations, requiring skilled people.
  • The knock-on effect of any ‘upping of the ante’, is that others follow suit and those already in these markets are having to work harder and think differently to retain business,
  • Less willingness to wait for opportunities – this has been a recuring theme for some time.  One noticeable upshot of the pandemic, when the bar realised the scale of its vulnerability in relying on referrals for most of its work, has been the focusing of minds and nowhere more so that the bar’s junior ranks, who are keener than ever on a pro-active approach.

Change of approach

In contrast to other elements of Chambers’ business functions, its often the case that marketing and business development cycles are much shorter, are more diverse and must continue to evolve to remain relevant and effective.

One approach has been to compliment traditional skills by hiring in people from other sectors.  They bring with them innovative ideas and varied experiences; this works well where Chambers is seeking new opportunities and clients are potentially more varied. This has led to more diverse teams and more opportunity, which must be a positive.

Nick Rees, Managing Director, GRL Legal