Matchmaker, Matchmaker: How Law Firm Marketing Is a Relationships Game

by JD Supra Perspectives

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...

I was recently asked to share my insights on what it takes to be successful in professional services marketing and business development, and the old "Fiddler on the Roof" song popped into my head.

I’ve always seen the difference between product marketing and professional services landing squarely at the intersection of skills and relationships.  Instead of selling widgets, wherein a product is designed specifically to meet the needs of an audience and is then marketed directly to that audience, we are helping to sell services; but those services are being offered by real, live human beings with varying personalities, and are being consumed by real, live human beings with varying personalities.

...our services are being consumed by real, live human beings with varying personalities.

We, as in-house legal marketing and business development professionals, are veritably charged with playing matchmaker on a daily basis, and that part of our role adds inherent value to a firm’s business strategy.

We connect the dots

We match the right attorneys with a prospective client by assembling a strategic client team that fits not only the client’s immediate needs, but also anticipates their future needs and personality traits.

We match a quality referral source with the right person within the firm to start a fruitful business relationship based on commonalities.

We match the new associate with the right organizations where her intended audience will inevitably be waiting to help her grow in her career.

We match the right types of business development and client service initiatives to a particular attorney within our firms to ensure that he is not wasting precious time on business development activities that aren’t a good fit.’s the legal marketing and business development department that appears to be conducting the orchestra

We think strategically (and make it scalable)

We're always thinking strategically.

In a small firm, it’s often by way of institutional knowledge on the part of the in-house professionals (they tend to know the players, the firm’s clients, the industries the firm knows inside and out, and where to best position the firm within a particular market). In larger firms it’s often heavily reliant on technology (utilization of experience databases, RFP-generating software, using CRM to connect the dots, etc.).

In either scenario, it’s the legal marketing and business development department that appears to be conducting the orchestra, and that is an important point to showcase value to firm leadership.

We're the resident nag, wingman, and matchmaker

I often think this should be my sub-title. I act as a nag when I serve as an accountability partner to our attorneys: I ensure that they “make good” on what they say they are going to achieve in terms of their business development plans when it’s easy for those promises to get lost in busy, billable days.

I play wingman because I often accompany them to networking and industry events, serving as an additional brand advocate for the firm, and helping to make introductions where possible.

I serve as a matchmaker when I look critically at where each of our attorneys want to take their practices (whether into a new industry or niche, to another type of client or new geographic area, to raise their visibility as they grow in their careers, or to simply expand their services within an already established practice area), and assist in connecting them with individuals, organizations, and often internal partners who can help to further those efforts.  

Therein lies the secret: in an increasingly commoditized business, remembering that this is a people game is paramount. So, go forth, and find me a find… catch me a catch.


[Jenna Schiappacasse is director of marketing and business development at Baltimore-based law firm Rosenberg Martin Greenberg. She currently serves as president-elect of the Mid-Atlantic Region Board of Directors for the Legal Marketing Association, and as an adjunct member of LMA's Advocacy Advisory Council. Connect with Jenna on LinkedIn and follow her additional writings on JD Supra.]


Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.