Wisnik Career Enterprises Surveys AMLAW 100 Marketers; Alumni Relations Manager Among Hot New Job Titles

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"Structuring and Leading Your Marketing Department," highlights from a presentation given by Wisnik Career Enterprises at the Legal Marketing Association's 2005 annual conference.

Eva Wisnik’s and Jennifer Johnson’s “Structuring and Leading Your Marketing Department” presentation drew a crowd of over 65 attendees at the Legal Marketing Association’s 2005 Annual Conference in Phoenix.

Topics discussed ranged from the personal (what makes you marketable?) to organizational issues (a blueprint of the ideal marketing department from both a structural as well as a core competencies/responsibilities perspective was given, along with advice on transitioning new professionals into the team and identifying team values), to the practical (effective interviewing, hiring, time management and retention tips) to job satisfaction motivators/what staff wants in a boss (mentoring, ability to be heard, responsibility, constructive criticism) to leadership (common traits of Chief Marketing Officers/Directors).

A much anticipated highlight of Eva's and Jennifer's 90-minute talk was the results from a one-on-one telephone survey conducted in March 2005 by Wisnik Career Enterprises. Eight marketing directors/chief marketing officers, ten marketing managers and ten marketing coordinators from some of the nation's largest law firms (ranging in size from 200 to 1,000 lawyers) spoke candidly when asked the following questions:

  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What are your main goals/projects for 2005?
  • What specific tasks do you handle that are unique to your position in the department? (i.e. RFP writing, research).
  • How often do you receive meaningful feedback from your direct report?
  • Who do you report to?
  • Does the firm provide opportunity for training and development (i.e. technology classes)
  • What is one thing that you would like to be more involved in within your department?
  • What is your biggest challenge?
  • How much of your time is spent being “reactive”?

When the results were tallied, “two major themes came across … one a surprise and several things that are common concerns that need to be readdressed frequently with upper management,” noted Eva Wisnik, one of the legal industry’s top marketing recruiters and CLE-approved business development trainers, who founded New York-based Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc. in 1996.

The surprise element was the percentage of time law firm Managers spend reacting as opposed to proactively moving projects along. Coordinators, who should be implementing task-based assignments, said that 50% of their time on average is spent reacting. Managers, whose job is to delegate and focus on strategic initiatives, stated that they spend 80% of their time reacting. In reality, the percentages should be reversed with Coordinators reacting 80% and the Managers at the 50% level.

What are the lessons learned from this survey result alone?    

First, it says that perhaps management is not giving appropriate administrative support to those who should be performing at a high level. Second, perhaps those managers have not been taught the art of managing people which includes delegation and time management. For whatever reason, this inability to make an impact in their organization becomes one reason they leave.

“A theme that remained constant in each conversation is that each person is hungry to make a meaningful impact in their firm,” recalled Jennifer Johnson, Director of Recruitment and Special Projects, of Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc.

With regards to job satisfaction, there are several things on the minds of the Managers who were interviewed:

  • They want to be "heard" by leadership.
  • They feel that a lot of the time there is a lack of communication by leadership to know what the priorities are along with respective deadlines.
  • They often feel that they are stretched too thin on too many projects that are not in their scope.
  • They appreciate constructive criticism - especially if it comes in a reasonable time after the project is completed. This means they don't like to hear about all of their faults during their annual review. They like to have time to make improvements from one project to the next.
  • They dislike being micro-managed. When they receive the title "Manager," they feel they are at a level where they should be able to navigate their projects.
  • They all want to have their boss be some sort of mentor to them - each person really wants to learn and grow.

Wisnik believes that people who stay in firms do so because they like who they work for (direct report) and because they feel personally fulfilled. When they do finally leave, they do so because they have outgrown the position and there is no place to move internally.

When they leave, these are the people who are champions for the organization - it's important that they are included in the company's alumni programming so they can maintain that "warm and fuzzy" feeling for that organization, advises Wisnik.

In fact, it's no surprise that among the new to the field job titles is Alumni Relations Manager. Others which are growing in popularity and which Wisnik has had requests to fill in recent months include:    

  • Writer/Editor
  • Business Analyst
  • Finance Department Liaison
  • Industry Team Manager
  • Ranking, Directory and Awards Coordinator
  • Strategy and Planning Manager
  • Client Solutions Technology

Yet, when seven out of eight Chief Marketing Officers/Directors were asked, “If you could add one more person to your staff, who would you add?”, seven selected a “solid business development professional” as their hire of choice.

The lone CMO/Director holdout opted for a business writer.

About Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc.

Wisnik Career Enterprises (http://www.wisnik.com) is dedicated to helping firms hire, train and retain the best talent.

Since its founding nine years ago, Wisnik has placed over 240 recruitment and marketing professionals into large, medium-sized and boutique firms. Additionally, Wisnik has conducted more than 450 CLE-approved business and professional development training programs to enable attorneys to achieve long-term career success and add maximum value to their clients.

Wisnik training programs range in topics from new business development skills, time and project management, interviewing skills and the use of the Myers-Briggs Indicator to master individual communications and marketing styles. They are customized for attorneys, as well as human resources and marketing executives.

Prior to starting Wisnik Career Enterprises in 1996, Eva was the former Director of Recruitment and Training for Schulte Roth & Zabel and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, as well as a recruiter for Lehman Brothers. Eva's first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day business operations within a legal environment has empowered her to provide the best possible service to her clients -- 66 of the AmLaw 100 law firms.

Jennifer Johnson, Director of Recruitment and Special Projects, joined Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc. in March 2004 from the 400+ lawyer firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP in Dallas, where she served as Director of Recruiting. A transplanted Texan now living in New York City, Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for the Legal Marketing Association’s Metropolitan New York Chapter.

Published authors, Eva and Jennifer also teamed up to write “Women's Marketing Initiatives” and “Leadership in Marketing,” a two-part article series which appeared in Marketing The Law Firm.

Media Relations Contact:

Samuella R. Becker

CEO and Founder, TigressPR

212-734-0767 - home office

917-734-5172 - cell phone


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