Laura G. Galeano, Esq. is Director of Marketing at Bilzin Sumberg in Miami, FL. She is the 2014 co-chair of the LMASE Awards Committee and is the incoming 2015 Treasurer.
Let's get to know Laura:
What is a "typical" day for you?
A typical day involves waking up before dawn to a cup of coffee, the news and my inbox, followed by spending an hour or so on maybe one project a day that requires my complete concentration with no interruptions, because once I get into the office everything gets moving really fast. While I spend time throughout the day with partners and other directors discussing overall strategy, I try to dedicate time every day to the details of ongoing plans - whether that be related to a blog, public relations initiative or an industry group's progress - to ensure we are staying on the right track and do not lose sight of the initiative's goal.
In recent years, I have spent more time on business development, and part of that includes keeping the pulse on the state of industries and their forecasts, and how those industries will drive the local economies in which we work and serve. Spending time each day to stay current on our clients' and prospects' businesses - whether that's reading trade publications, attending conferences or following key legislation - is imperative to the success of our ever-evolving legal industry.
In one sentence, describe your job.
Professional Matchmaker - but instead of helping people in their love lives, I'm helping them in the business world.
Why and/or how did you get into legal marketing?
I always looked up to my grandfather and since I was a little kid I wanted to be a lawyer just like him. But by the time I got to college, I found that my own interests leaned more towards sociology and the way in which human beings interacted, and I found myself majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in History. Then while working on a master's degree and studying for the LSAT, I picked up a job as a part-time marketing assistant at a local law firm. I haven't turned back. During law school (which I did part-time in the evenings), I served as the Marketing Director of two large South Florida firms. This is not where I thought my career would ultimately lead me, but I find it is the perfect balance between creativity, psychology, law and business.
In your job, what is your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge for any professional at a law firm is establishing and maintaining rapport to earn your "seat at the table."
What do you like most about your job?
I really enjoy being entrenched in the local business community by virtue of my role at the firm, because I hear about all of the deals and projects we are involved in--many of which help to shape our community.
What books do you recommend to fellow LMA colleagues?
It might sound cliché, but I am enamored with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg right now. What I find most compelling about the book is the heightened sense of self-awareness it brought to me. For example, I think listening can often be the most important part of a discussion. And while I am by no means a quiet person, after reading her book, I began to reevaluate times when I have something of value to contribute but do not contribute to the conversation because my voice is being overshadowed by other people in the conversation, and what I should do to positively change the way I interact with others.
If a college student were to ask you for advice about a legal marketing career, what would you say?
My advice for a college student or recent graduate would be not to step into a career too quickly. Sometimes I see young people try to quickly advance in a career by going directly into the line of work they think they want, but when you are young and lacking in experience, it is the best time for you to try different roles and even different industries, because all your experiences will benefit you in some way and make your perspectives unique. So if you ultimately want to pursue legal marketing, don't be afraid to intern in a different type of professional services company, like a healthcare system or engineering firm, or even a different industry altogether like advertising agencies or government institutions.
This article was first published on LegalMarketing.org.