Blog Week 105: Internal market(ing).

Sunday 25 November 21.52

Escaped to a milder climate this weekend. Amazed (and pleased) to say I have developed a slight tan. Wonder if anyone will notice tomorrow in the office?

Monday 26 November 22.50

During this summer (if it could be called that) I wrote how our firm hired some sort of consultant guru to advise our associates about how to market to potential clients. The speaker had a noticeable style.

Anyway the whole thing was an idea of Bill's. Therefore, given the manner of his forthcoming departure, I had expected the idea to be killed off (like Casear in the forum - sorry I still have the past few days in my mind). But, suprisingly, rather than stick the knife in, the partners are going to spend more money on this type of training. Pierre told me the marketing consultant's contract has been renewed. To me it seems like they are throwing good money after bad. After all how do you measure the benefits of something like this? Certainly not in anyway that is compatible with the ongoing cost-cutting.

Pierre could tell I was a bit sceptical about the value of the whole deal and said I could attend the next session tomorrow (if I can spare the time). I think he really just wants to know more. So I might just do that...

Tuesday 27 November 22.36

Of course I attended today's marketing session. As if trying to identify new ways to cut costs was going to stop me... I cannot complain about the cost because, fair's fair, it was informative in lots of different ways.

The guy had a blunt message (again) but delivered it in a more polished way than what I can remember from last time. In his conclusion he pointedly surveyed the room and said however good everyone (except me) maybe at practising law, we are nearly all lousy marketeers. "Many of you will end up never having to do any real marketing. You'll escape by leaving private practice to work in-house or for the public sector or in some association. Even the minority who become partners will mainly rely upon established institutional relationships. Maybe only one or two of you will have the drive and confidence to actually try and get your own clients. You are the lucky ones; you'll have some degree of independence that your colleagues will never know."

As he was talking I wondered if he was related to Old Timer. Or if they know each other. After all it was the sort of thing Old Timer could have said. But then I thought about what had been said and realised it was true. I don't have the experience of Pierre or Old Timer, but from previous receptions I remember how little our people like to network with anyone they don't know. There is an unspoken fear about leaving their comfort zone.

Sitting at the back of the room I did not have such a good view to see everyone else's reactions. Around me I saw some bored stares and incomprehension. As we left I suspected that things had not really changed from before the session had started. Maybe such things take time.

Wednesday 28 November 23.17

This morning I was talking to Pierre on the phone about yesterday's marketing session when Old Timer popped his head round the door. When the call finished he smiled and said:" you're missing the real marketing." He saw my blank expression and beamed knowingly back.

"Yesterday was all about general external marketing. Some motivational stuff and pointers about how to win potential clients. But the focused internal marketing is currently going on all around us." He twirled his hands around yet I still looked blankly back.

"Bill is leaving. The apparent suddeness of his departure means few people know if he is leaving on his own - to be followed later by other lawyers - or if he will depart with a small team. In this ignorant state different people at different levels are lobbying to follow the great man. See on Friday how our own internal market operates." He then winked and left.

Thursday 29 November 21.22

Tomorrow is our Christmas party. Is it me or do Christmas parties seem to get earlier each year? Maybe I am just showing my age.

Sometimes I feel like I am still recovering from last year's party. I don't expect it to be so crazy this time and there is too much at stake. Plus no one is attending from any of our other offices...

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