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​Melissa Croteau talks about the evolving role of business development and marketing at law firms in The Legal Intelligencer's article, "Inside the C-Suite: Firms Drill Down on Selling Services."

Melissa Croteau, who recently joined Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney as CBDO, said more firms see a need for business development officers to help lawyers­—who are not always natural salespeople—do what's necessary to promote their own practices.

"There's less emphasis on branding and advertising and things like that, which were traditional marketing roles," she said. "It's much more of an external focus on the clients than internal in the firm."

Croteau said the increased focus on business development comes at a time when clients want lawyers who know their businesses well, who look ahead and help build a successful business, rather than just provide legal services.

"Clients are crying out for lawyers that think proactively," she said.


Croteau, who oversees both business development and marketing at Buchanan Ingersoll, said it's important to have those two functions working closely together. Marketing must be embedded in the practices as much as the business development team, she said, so they have an understanding of clients' interests and needs.