Our guest today is Despina Kartson, global director of business development and communications at Jones Day, who speaks with us about the biggest changes in legal marketing, as well as her new book Last Night’s Soup Run and her involvement in a local charity for the homeless.

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Despina Kartson has been been in the legal marketing space for 16 years. Today her role is Global Director of Business Development & Communications at Jones Day. Yet, in her spare time she focuses on charity work and her non-profit organization, Philoxenia.

Connect with Despina on Linkedin or Twitter

The Evolution of Legal Marketing

The changes in legal marketing have been substantial in the past few years. The CMO role has become much more technical and legal marketers are expected to be well-versed in tech like CRMs and databases, in order to support internal business development functions.

Firms are much more focused on business and development than ever before and even lawyers are beginning to understand that they need to develop relationships in order to generate business.

Other changes in legal marketing include the major shift toward client centricity. Increasing client expectations has led to more specialized roles within law firm marketing teams that support niches like practice areas or even marketing specificities such as social media or content marketing.

This specialization allows team members to have more deep knowledge in their areas of expertise. It’s essential for marketers to continue to learn while still being effective at their jobs which is why staying updated on changing technologies and best practices through participating in programs and reading is key. Yet, you don’t need to know everything. By collaborating with your team, you can be collectively informed on marketing changes.

Last Night’s Soup Run

Despina began the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society’s Soup Run program 11 years ago. What began as a group of women serving soup to the hungry on the streets of NY, today has turned into many volunteers serving over 11,000 meals.

When they first started the Soup Run, Despina would send an email following each run to the volunteers, giving highlights last night’s soup run. Hence the name of her recently published book, a memoir full of these highlights.

“The people that we meet, in so many respects, are no different from you are I.”

Despina tells stories of her Soup Run guests including one man who was formerly a professional chef and studied at the Culinary Institute of America, but now performs magic tricks in Central Park to get by.

Despina shares how we now have the highest rates of homelessness since the depression. In fact, in New York City you can find over 130,000 people in homeless shelters on any given night – many of whom are children and veterans.

What can we do?

All profits from Despina’s book, Last Night’s Soup Run, as well as donations to her non-profit organization Philoxenia provide inspiration, funding, and programming to those who provide care for the hungry and homeless.

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