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Lucy Murphy

Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer

Lucy is the Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Freshfields and was recently listed as the only law firm CMO in the top 100 most impactful marketing leaders in Europe. Sitting on the firm’s executive board, Lucy is responsible for the client, brand and communications strategy of the firm globally.

Lucy is passionate about driving digital marketing transformation to improve the client experience and she regularly talks to senior clients around the world about their experience of working with Freshfields. Over the past 10 years, she has developed the firm’s first ever global key client program, led a restructure of its go-to-market strategy and worked globally to improve the way the firm grows its business. She also played a major role in establishing the firm’s first ever nearshore service center, providing centralized MBD services to the partnership. 

With over 20 years of professional services marketing under her belt, including 10 years at Freshfields, Lucy’s realm of expertise covers the gambit- from strategy to internal/external communications, branding, business development, origination and thought leadership content. She brings her strategic expertise to the executive board, helping to drive the firm’s strategic decisions around clients, market development and growth strategy.

“I bring intelligence from a variety of different sources including data, client interviews and conversations with teams across the firm, to help drive the organization in a particular direction,” she says.

This can be a challenge in a global firm with such a wide range of clients and client needs. She says the best way to manage this is to ensure there are specialists within each area of the marketing and BD function, whether that’s in research, data management, pitching or client relationship management. “We take a centralized approach but within that centralization is specialization,” she says. “For example, we have a specialist origination team that is actively out in the market building contacts, networks and opportunities for the firm, and this frees up our lawyer to focus on providing expert legal advice”.

She says her ambition for Freshfields is to be the most client-centric firm, and for that to be how clients define them.

She explains that client feedback plays a major role in helping to shape Freshfields’ client strategy, and the firm has a rigorous program in place to ensure that client feedback is captured regularly through client surveys and face to face interviews.

Through this process, they’ve adapted the Bain B2C elements of value pyramid to create their own “Freshfields Pyramid.” The base of the pyramid demonstrates the functional elements of service that clients value, while the middle highlights the differentiated levels of service they’re looking for, and the top outlines the inspirational and individual elements of value.

“We now know not only the fundamental elements of service clients value but also the differentiated levels of service they value and what we need to do to ensure we are supporting our clients at every level,” she says. “Now, it is our job to respond to this by adapting our how we work to better meet the needs and expectations of our clients. It’s really important that our clients know that we care about them.”

She says while law firms can be slow to change, the area where she has seen the most significant change in the last few years is around digital data measurement. “Law firms have traditionally used the ‘spray and pray’ method when it comes to communications,” she says. “Now that has changed drastically, and we are using platforms to deliver messages at the right time to a targeted audience and analyzing the data to better understand our clients’ needs.”

They’re also looking to digital when it comes to employing video and social media strategies, and they are leveraging data visualization and storytelling platforms to deliver interactive content. “By analyzing our digital activities, we can better understand what content is of interest to which audiences, and better optimize our engagements along the customer journey,” she says. “By ensuring our message is relevant and timely, we can increase engagement dramatically.”

One challenge all global law firms have to face is managing commercial and actual client conflicts. In a world of convergence, this is becoming increasingly complex. “We should really only be taking on relationships where we can add real value,” she says.

But the biggest challenge for this CMO is to be local in a global world. “When it comes to global law firms, there is a tendency to set the tone based on where the firm is headquartered,” she explains. “For us, we work hard not to come across as a British law firm—that is the opposite of what we want to do. So we set a balance to establish local strategies while at the same time we have guiding principles that link back to being a global law firm. To have a local presence, you need to have a local reputation, but at the same time we can help clients realize that because we are global, we can work across borders, and help them not only with domestic issues but international ones as well.”

Looking forward, she expects to see more blended and agile teams working with clients to develop solutions. “We have incredibly talented people within our business, and in the future I think we will see the breakdown of functional silos as firms start to take a more integrated and holistic approach to the delivery of client services,” she says. “Lawyers will no longer create client solutions alone but in fluid teams with other specialists, technologists and project managers to bring a broader perspective.”  

Above all, she believes that trust is the most critical component of future success. “Trust allows teams to collaborate better, move at speed and innovate without fearing the consequences”, she says. But this trust also needs to be extended to clients, who will continue to turn to the firms they trust most when faced with a complex challenge. “In our efforts to try and measure everything, we must not forget that clients are still people and they will always want to interact with people they trust.”

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