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Mexico     Business Development

Mexico     Business Development   

Inspiring Women in Law Q&A: Ana López, Lawyer and BD, Marketing & Communications Director at Galicia Abogados

"Internal Collaboration is key, and in Galicia it is part of the firm´s DNA at all levels of the organisation"


Ana López Pariente is the Director of Business Development, Marketing & Strategic Communications at elite Mexican Firm Galicia Abogados.

Over the last almost 5 years heading the BD, Marketing & Communications’ efforts at Galicia, Ana has successfully assisted partners in strengthening the firm´s medium and long-term vision by being able to implement ground-breaking institutional strategies in collaboration with her team and cross-functional groups.

During this period, Ana has helped Galicia in the recognition of more than 93 LatAm and Mexico awards by renowned international publications such as Chambers and Partners, Latin Lawyer, The Legal 500, IFLR1000, Women in Business Law, International Tax Review, GAR100, GCR100, LatinFinance, LatinFinance PIFA, Leaders League and Bonds & Loans, in the categories of Firm of the Year, DE&I Firm of the Year, Pro Bono Firm of the Year, Practice/Firm of the Year, and awards for Deals of the Year and/or Impact Deals of the Year, among others.

With the support of her team, she has also helped position more than 90 lawyers in the spotlight of some of the most relevant international legal directories.

During her first year at Galicia, Ana developed, with the support of the partners, a sustainability model that today integrates all the firm’s efforts over the last +15 years in Pro Bono work and DE&I initiatives by aligning its day-to-day operations with the UN Global Compact. This model was recognized in 2021 by Chambers DE&I Awards as one of the 5 most impactful sustainability and environmental models in Latin America.

Ana´s responsibilities also include the development and implementation of the firm´s institutional strategy on client experience, internal legal tools and apps, strengthening the relations with the firm´s Best Friends BD & Mktg Teams and leading an stellar team of women who are experts in strategic communications, branding and events.

Being a lawyer herself has also helped Ana develop a unique business development and marketing approach at the Mexican firm, in a role where strategic thinking is an absolute must.

Ana´s team was recognized by The Legal 500 as 2023 Marketing Team of the Year - Mexico. 

LATIN COUNSEL: What prompted you to join Galicia’s Business Development and Marketing Department?

Ana López Pariente: The opportunity to join Galicia was presented to me at the end of 2018. I had always felt a great admiration for the firm and for the partners who were part of it. 
I discovered a firm with a unique culture, innovative and above all with a clear, fresh and strategic vision for the future, with which I immediately identified myself.

I did not think twice to seize this opportunity.

LATIN COUNSEL: What challenges have you encountered in implementing this relatively new figure in the legal sector in Latin America? How can we elevate the importance of such figure?

Ana: As I mentioned before, the partners have a clear vision of what is needed to maintain that "competitive edge" in an increasingly globalised market that is advancing very quickly and that forces you to always be 5 steps ahead. Internal collaboration is key, and in Galicia this is part of our DNA at all levels of the organisation.

I believe that there are two very important factors that raise the importance of those of us who are dedicated to the BD and M efforts of Law Firms:

The first essential factor is that the partners or stakeholders must be 100% convinced of the importance of having a solid area and a team made up of professionals specialised in Business Development, Marketing and Communication in order to implement the firm’s professional and financial strategy.

In this sense, it is essential to involve the person in charge of these areas in the understanding and execution process of the firm’s strategic plan.

The second fundamental factor corresponds to those of us who lead the efforts in these areas, as we must develop a strategic plan that should be built on the values that shape the culture of the firm and whose actions are focused on supporting the partners’ vision in the short, medium and long term, as well as being an ally of the managing partners to achieve the objectives of the strategic plan.

LATIN COUNSEL: What do you enjoy most and what do you find most rewarding about leading this department?

Ana: Leading this area has been, in addition to an incredible opportunity, a constant challenge of unexpected dimensions but full of enormous satisfaction.

I really enjoy my work, the challenges we face and above all, the high pressure we work under every day, yes, I really enjoy the adrenaline that comes from the enormous responsibility of being part of the best law firm in Mexico with a leading presence in Latin America.

To be able to develop and implement sophisticated Business Development, Marketing and Communication strategies and to be able to maintain the positioning the firm has achieved requires a lot of energy, specialised knowledge of the legal markets, of our clients’ needs and a special sensitivity to be able to transmit a unique culture in a clear and targeted way to different audiences.

The most gratifying thing is undoubtedly to be surrounded by people I deeply admire in a work environment of respect, cordiality, good humour and common goals that allows us all to be our best version as professionals and as people.

LATIN COUNSEL: How has the department evolved and what impact has it had on the growth of the firm?

Ana: The partners´ efforts to create an area like the one we have today begun approximately 10 years ago with the intention of supporting the positioning of the firm and its brand through a communication effort with the help of an outsourcing firm that supported us in the development of a communication and marketing strategy.

The implementation of this effort took more than two years and the catalyst was the first recognition by Chambers and Partners as Mexico Firm of the Year in 2013. From that moment on, Beatriz Barrera joined the firm as head of Communications and Marketing, who had extensive experience in these areas, but without a background in our industry and what most interested the firm was to have an experienced professional with a fresh vision.

Subsequently, the Firm focused on the task of expanding its marketing through specialized international publications. The execution of a defined and communicated strategy within and outside the organisation, accompanied by a consolidation in the services offered and participation in the most relevant transactions in the country and the region, facilitated the path for the firm’s leadership positioning.

In January 2019, when I joined the firm, the partners were looking for my preparation as a lawyer and my previous experience in BD, Marketing and Sustainability to integrate a solid area that would comprehensively support the institutional strategy in the short, medium and long term.

The idea was to create an area that not only addressed the efforts of Communication and Marketing but also managed to integrate business areas that complement each other, which has allowed us to accelerate the positioning of the firm with renowned international publications and to develop and implement a sustainability strategy integrating all the efforts that in DE&I and Pro Bono issues had already been implemented for many years.

In late 2019, with the support of external advisors, we implemented a rebranding and an institutional narrative that reflected the core values of our unique culture in the market.

During the pandemic, the support of our communications, marketing and BD areas were essential to preserve the firm’s culture, sense of belonging, team wellness and collaborative business model.

Today, leveraging on what we have achieved in terms of positioning the Firm, we have entered a new stage of BD training and awareness, as well as development and identification of soft skills with all teams in Galicia, restructuring our area in order to take advantage of technological and AI tools so that, together with the BD Committee, we can be a facilitator for the legal teams in the development of new business opportunities and client experience.

LATIN COUNSEL: How do you see the evolution of the professionalisation of the BD & M industry in Latin America?

Ana: We are fortunate to have a very strong network of Best Friends, not only in the region but worldwide, but referring to LatAm this has allowed us to share experiences in jurisdictions that are several years ahead in the way these areas have developed.

New economic and political conditions, coupled with increased international competition, require us to evolve constantly but with a very clear institutional vision for the future.

In line with our collaborative culture, we are convinced that we can all learn from the experiences we can exchange with our Best Friends in the region and that this is an indispensable way of operating today.

Going forward, we see that these activities will continue to be essential in any business model and furthermore will be highly developed and accompanied by the recruitment of professionals with diverse specialties supported by state-of-the-art technological tools, which will lead us to better understand that law firms must operate more and more as businesses, like many of our clients.

LATIN COUNSEL: Do you think that having a legal background has had an influence in your success at Galicia?

Ana: This question is nuanced because some firms believe that in BD, Marketing and Communications management positions, having a legal background is not a necessity.

In my experience and given that I have legal background and practised law over 20 years of my professional development, combining a legal background with a talent for business development and strategic thinking can create a strong proposition in BD, Mktg & Comms for a law firm.

This experience provides you with a unique set of skills, insight into client expectations and related lawyer priorities, among others. But in order to excel in this role it is essential that you are willing to develop the right commercial aptitude and attitude, as well as a willingness to adapt to continuous change and respect different approaches.

Being legally qualified and having developed an attention to detail, analytical approach and a focus on clear communication can be a real asset.

For leading firms, BD, Marketing and Communications roles involve juggling a large number of responsibilities and managing often urgent and sometimes unrealistic pressure and deadlines. 

Resources are almost always scarce and it is not a career for the fainthearted but being surrounded by a strong team is invaluable. To achieve institutional goals you need talented people you can trust.

However, those who strive to seize business opportunities, plan strategically, make improvements, build internal and external relationships, practice communication skills and support change can be a real asset to any law firm. We should aspire to master these aspects while being open to learning new business skills every day.

LATIN COUNSEL: What advice would you give to someone taking their first steps in BD & M? What would you say to law firms that do not yet have a BD & M department?

Ana: For those starting out in these areas in law firms I would say that it is essential to understand and know the culture of the organisation where they work, to take the time to get to know the legal market and all its players in order to have a clear picture of the strengths they have and the way in which law firms promote their services and their teams. Additionally, it is very relevant to know the industries or sectors of the markets to be able to identify the needs of our clients. This will give them the guideline to assist partners, generate differentiating positioning strategies that manage to transmit their culture, understand our client´s business and stand out in the market.

Nowadays, to think that BD can only be done by a few members of a law firm and that you only need one or two communications or marketing professionals is a thing of the past. Investing in a solid BD, Marketing and Communication team is an indispensable support tool to achieve the objectives of the partners, the teams and the firm, to position the brand, to strengthen our culture and to better understand the needs of our clients.

galicia.com.mx

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