At the end of 2019 we completed a research programme for a major law firm into the future of in-house legal teams, what they would look like in 2025, and the challenges faced.

The results were fascinating and it struck me that they might well also be true for many ‘intellect’ based professions and indeed in-house marketing, BD, HR and other functions within professional services firms.

The key behaviours and skills which respondents said they needed to develop included a deeper understanding of the business and the wider sector, stakeholder management, influencing and the ability to understand technology.

Soft skills and processes were a higher priority than technical functional skills, and a core challenge was balancing day to day demands with the ability to get ready for future challenges. While some people saw technology as a “magic bullet” most recognised that while it could help, there were many other aspects needed to get a team fit for the future.

One of the key results that sticks in my mind was that the success stories we heard about, often were based on creating a team with shared goals, and real clarity of purpose that guided their behaviour, actions, and relationships with colleagues.

That seems to me to be very true for marketers and BD people within professional services firms too.

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