We interviewed Akanksha Bisen, Legal BD Expert and author of ‘LinkedIN for Lawyer’.
Can you take us through your journey so far in Legal Tech and BD? How did your interest spur in this space?

Having been fortunate to study law and commerce at respected institutions like Gargi College, Faculty of Law, and NLS Bangalore, I found myself drawn to the intersection of business and legal landscapes. Intrigued by the impact of laws and regulations on businesses, I became eager to understand how innovative organizations adapt in a rapidly evolving world.

Upon completing my education, I had the opportunity to work with a reputable business consulting firm, where I offered strategic advisory services to a diverse range of clients, including startups, e-retailers, and well-established retail companies. I soon recognized the potential synergy between my business advisory experience and the legal sector, which led me to pursue a role in establishing the business development function within a law firm.

In this position, I worked diligently to identify growth opportunities in both domestic and international markets, coordinate marketing initiatives, nurture client relationships, and support the firm’s expansion and enhanced client engagement. While the full potential of legal marketing was not yet widely recognized, I advocated for the adoption of innovative technologies that could transform law firms’ approach to client engagement.

My extensive experience in business development, marketing, and corporate communications across leading Indian law firms has provided me with invaluable insights and allowed me to collaborate closely with management, partners, and attorneys at all levels.

In the legal technology domain, I took on the important task of assessment and implementation. By carefully identifying, partnering with, and managing external technology vendors, I contributed to enhancing the technological infrastructure at my previous organizations.

Beyond these accomplishments, I have developed a LinkedIn workshop specifically designed for legal professionals and participated in various discussions on media, marketing, culture, and technology. My passion for the field of Legal Tech and Business Development remains strong, and I am always keen to engage in conversations about technology, marketing, and strategic growth.


Please break down the role of a Business Development Manager. What were your responsibilities as BD Manager at top Indian law firms?

As a Business Development Manager, my primary responsibility was to proactively identify potential challenges in managing large, multiparty client-facing projects and devise innovative solutions to adhere to deadlines without exceeding budget constraints. Serving as a portfolio owner, my duties encompassed a broad range of tasks, from annual budget planning to conceptualizing new projects in conjunction with ongoing initiatives.

Additionally, I conducted thorough market research and analysis to identify emerging trends, monitor competitor activities, and inform strategic business development decisions. I was also responsible for nurturing existing client relationships and identifying new prospects, ensuring long-term client retention and satisfaction.

Collaborating with legal teams, I contributed to developing proposals and pitches that effectively showcased our firm’s capabilities and expertise. I played a vital role in planning and executing targeted marketing campaigns, managing the firm’s online presence, and coordinating internal and external communications to enhance brand visibility.

I have also been part of industry conferences, seminars, and networking events, establishing connections and identifying potential business opportunities. Furthermore, I worked closely with attorneys, partners, and other internal stakeholders to align business development efforts with the firm’s overall strategic objectives.


How is Jones Day and Chicago treating you? How has the experience been so far?

Embarking on this new chapter with a global firm in Chicago has been an enriching experience. The opportunity to work in a global legal environment has expanded my horizons and allowed me to immerse myself in a client-facing role. I am fortunate to be part of a dynamic, forward-thinking team that is leading the charge in legal tech and business development.

Adapting to a new cultural context has presented some interesting surprises; however, my colleagues’ unwavering support and warm welcome have eased my transition into this new setting. Overall, my time at my new workplace and in Chicago has been an invaluable, eye-opening experience that continues to fuel my growth and passion for the legal industry.


What is the story behind LawyeIN? Why should one read this book?

The idea behind “LawyeIN” emerged from my numerous encounters with young partners and lawyers who, after being deeply involved in their work since day one, suddenly found themselves at the helm of their own firms or in pursuit of new business opportunities. Struggling to allocate time for marketing initiatives, they often felt overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin.

In response to this predicament, I realized that LinkedIn could serve as a manageable first step that doesn’t impose additional burdens. I’m a firm believer in the Pareto principle or the 80:20 principle, which suggests that lawyers should devote 20% of their energy toward achieving 80% of the results they desire. Considering the time constraints many lawyers face, I propose LinkedIn as their go-to social selling platform to concentrate their efforts and maximize the return on their time investment.

“LawyeIN” brings together the combined expertise of various contributors, presenting practical tips and insights on how to build a powerful personal brand and make the most of LinkedIn. The book’s objective is to instill confidence in lawyers, enabling them to navigate social media and establish multiple touchpoints with prospective and current clients.

Instead of merely praising LinkedIn, “LawyeIN” serves as a hands-on guide to leveraging the platform’s freely accessible tools to their greatest advantage. My ambition is to help lawyers create a strong, impactful personal brand on LinkedIn, irrespective of their geographical location. To achieve this, the book includes tasks for readers to complete, categorized as daily, weekly, monthly, and annual activities, each taking less than ten minutes. I’ve dubbed this as the #DoneUnder10 Challenge.

As a marketer, I’d like to help lawyers develop a marketing plan that is easier to execute, and I am convinced that a dynamic LinkedIn presence can yield benefits beyond their wildest dreams. By adhering to the guidance in this book, lawyers can create a formidable personal brand on LinkedIn and enjoy the fruits of their labor. 


Your top 3 tips on Linkedin for Lawyers.

I’m feeling a bit generous today, so I’m going to give you not 3, but 4 tips for LinkedIn! Consider that extra tip as a little bonus :). On a serious note, here is what I believe works on LinkedIn:

  1.   Adopt a top-down approach to social selling: When senior professionals acknowledge the importance of LinkedIn, junior colleagues follow suit and treat it as an essential part of their job, fostering a firm-wide commitment to social selling.
  2.   Utilize social media as an additional touchpoint: Engage with clients and prospects through informative and insightful posts that showcase your expertise. Avoid sales-oriented content; focus on establishing your credibility and maintaining visibility so clients will seek your services when needed.
  3.   Showcase your human side: Share personal stories, interests, or hobbies to allow others to connect with you on a deeper level, fostering trust and rapport with your connections. Remember, you are more than your job title.

Bonus Tip 4. Engage with your network: Actively participate in discussions, comment on others’ posts, and share relevant content. Engaging with your network not only helps you stay informed about industry trends but also increases your visibility and credibility within your professional community.


What would your tips be for boosting high-quality engagement on the social media pages of law firms?

When it comes to boosting engagement on law firms’ social media pages, I’ve developed an effective framework called “SHIFTER.” This easy-to-remember acronym encompasses seven key principles for a successful social media presence:

  1.       Strategy: Develop a clear strategy: Identify the primary goals of your social media presence, such as lead generation, recruitment, or showcasing work culture. Assess your current social media status and create a plan tailored to your objectives.
  2.       Highlight: Highlight your brand and team: Strike a balance between showcasing your firm’s brand identity and highlighting individual team member’s expertise. Remember, it’s a brand page, but your audience will also appreciate a personal touch.
  3.       Individual Strengths: Showcase your unique strengths: Focus on your firm’s unique selling points and create content that emphasizes your strengths and areas of expertise.
  4.       Formats: Embrace creative content and formats: Distinguish your brand by experimenting with diverse content types, formats, and unique concepts. Regularly update and refresh your approach to keep your audience engaged and interested.
  5.       Trends: Leverage trending topics: Stay informed about current events, industry news, and popular trends relevant to your field. Create and share content that capitalizes on these trends, demonstrating your firm’s expertise and timely insights.
  6.       Employee Involvement: Foster employee involvement: Encourage your team members to participate in content creation and share your firm’s content on their personal social media profiles. This helps amplify your reach and adds a human element to your firm’s online presence.
  7.       Results: Utilize analytics and adapt: Regularly monitor your social media performance using analytics tools to evaluate your progress. Make data-driven adjustments to your strategy as needed, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your social media goals.

As the acronym suggests, an enterprise needs to be agile and shift with changing times and technology.


What are the various marketing assets that legal businesses should generate?

Legal marketing has experienced tremendous growth and transformation over the years. The sophistication of marketing assets depends on factors such as a firm’s budget, scale, and commitment to marketing efforts.

Historically, the West has been at the forefront of law firm marketing innovation, setting trends and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the industry. This has led to a more dynamic and engaging marketing landscape, with law firms around the world striving to keep up with these developments.

Now, law firms have begun treating their brands like consumer brands, taking cues from the playbook of leading consulting firms. This approach has resulted in a more client-centric marketing strategy, focusing on building strong, relatable brands that foster trust and loyalty.

Large international law firms, in particular, boast elaborate marketing departments that operate much like consumer brands. They employ sophisticated marketing strategies that leverage diverse marketing assets, including websites, blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, social media profiles, email newsletters, podcasts, videos, platforms, apps, and metaverse offices. With a focus on sophistication and technology, these firms are setting the stage for continued innovation in the legal marketing space.

Law firms can establish a strong brand and generate new leads effectively by adopting a diverse mix of marketing assets and staying abreast of global trends. By treating their brands like consumer brands and leveraging technology at the heart of their marketing strategies, law firms can achieve a higher level of client intimacy and set themselves apart in the competitive legal landscape.


What would your tips be for ensuring high ROI on marketing activities?

By now you know that I am a fan of frameworks. To ensure high ROI on marketing activities, I suggest the IMPACTS framework, a candid and effective approach to maximize your marketing efforts. This framework focuses on seven core areas that will help you not only reach the right audience but also do it with style and efficiency. So, let’s dive into the IMPACTS framework:

  1.       Identify your goals (I): Define clear, specific, and measurable goals that align with your business objectives. Make sure your goals are achievable, realistic, and relevant to your target audience. Revisit and reassess these goals frequently to maintain focus.
  2.       Master your target audience (M): Understand your target audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviors. Conduct market research to identify their demographics, psychographics, and pain points. Develop messaging and content that resonates with your target audience.
  3.       Prioritize your budget (P): Allocate your budget effectively across multiple channels and campaigns. Prioritize the channels and tactics that align with your goals and are most effective in reaching your target audience. Focus on marquee events/campaigns and avoid spreading your resources too thin.
  4.       Analyze and optimize (A): Continuously optimize your campaigns by monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs). Use data-driven insights to make informed decisions and refine your campaigns to maximize ROI.
  5.       Collect data and insights (C): Utilize data and analytics tools to measure and analyze the impact of your marketing efforts. Monitor and track key metrics, such as unique impressions, repeat visitors, open rates, engagement rates, etc., to identify areas of improvement and optimize your campaigns accordingly.
  6.       Test and experiment (T): Test and experiment with new strategies, tactics, and messaging. A/B test your campaigns to identify the most effective approach. Continuously iterate and refine your campaigns to optimize performance and drive ROI.
  7.       Scrutinize your competition (S): Keep an eye on your competition and learn from their successes and failures. Identify gaps and opportunities in the market, and develop campaigns that differentiate your brand and offer unique value to your target audience. Aim to stand out from the noise.

By following the IMPACTS framework, you can effectively increase the ROI on your marketing activities and achieve greater success in your campaigns.


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