500 lawyer firm finds CMO
Steve’s breakdown: Steptoe & Johnson is based in DC and they seem to be refocusing on business development in a big way. Wendy Taylor is the new CMO and their number is 202 429 3000.
WASHINGTON, DC: Steptoe & Johnson LLP has added a legal marketing veteran to take on a redesigned role as chief marketing and business development officer.
Wendy Taylor, who has focused her efforts on consulting for the past year, has returned to the law firm world as Steptoe & Johnson’s new CMBDO. The firm operated with a marketing partner, Paul Mickey, and who also served as its CMO. Mickey is planning to retire at the end of this year to spend more time with his family.
“The recruitment began backwards, in a sense,” Mickey said in an email. He asked Taylor to lunch to pick her brain about making the move to consulting, and only at the end of their conversation mentioned his search for a new CMO at Steptoe & Johnson, he said. She was not planning to leave consulting, she said, until she learned of the law firm’s need.
“Steptoe has been fortunate to have built a very strong marketing and BD team, and my goal as I transition has been to find someone who can take the marketing department and the firm to new heights—Wendy is just right for that challenge,” Mickey said.
Taylor started at Steptoe & Johnson Monday, based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. After Mickey leaves the firm, partner Tom Best will take over as marketing and business development partner at the beginning of next year. That role does not supervise the CMBDO, Taylor noted, but is rather an advocate for the function among the partnership.
While the firm has had both a chief marketing officer and marketing partner in the past, Taylor said they are adding business development to the title, to reflect changing priorities in law firm strategy.
“Tom and I want the focus to be on business development and driving revenue growth,” she said. “The focus has shifted toward business development and being laser-focused on the client. Without a doubt I think that’s going to be my top priority here.”
Mickey has been Steptoe & Johnson’s marketing partner for about 12 years, and took on the CMO role as well, while maintaining an employment law practice. Before that, he was chairman and managing partner at Shaw Pittman.
“You’re not going to find that kind of partner every day,” Taylor said.
Taylor has had similar roles at several large law firms. She was Reed Smith’s CMO from March 2015 to August 2016, and before that, she was chief marketing and business development officer at Dechert for four years. She also served as chief marketing officer at Hogan & Hartson, now Hogan Lovells, from 2001 to 2009.
Since leaving Reed Smith, Taylor has been in consulting roles, first at her own firm and then at LawVision Group.
“It gives me a different perspective,” Taylor said of her consulting experience. “You get to see what a lot of firms are doing, who’s being innovative, who’s being aggressive … It’s good to have that.”