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** 2019 Legal Sales and Service Award Winner**

  • Sales Team of the Year Award Barnes & Thornburg

          Read more about Barnes & Thornburg’s “Marketing Blitz 1.0”

Honorable Mention Faegre Baker Daniels

  • Sales & Service Executive of the Year (small firm) – Brandi M. Hobbs, Director of Client Service & Strategy at Poyner Spruill

          Read more about Brandi M. Hobbs

Honorable Mention Jenna Schiappacasse, Director of Client Development at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg

      • Sales & Service Executive of the Year (large firm) –  Christian Berger, Senior Advisor of Strategic Business Development at McGuireWoods

                Read more about Christian Berger

      Honorable Mention Michael D. Helmicki, Client Development Executive at DLA Piper LLP (US)

      Thank you to our 2019 sponsor, Hellerman Communications, an award-winning corporate communications agency that specializes in positioning professionals to win business. Learn more about Hellerman Communications at

      2019 Award Winners' Initiatives

      Sales Team of the Year Award - Barnes & Thornburg


      In their “Marketing Blitz 1.0” a 4-person team made up of business development and marketing staff took their expertise on the road to deliver firm-wide training to each of their 13 offices. Their mission was to expand attorneys use and knowledge of marketing tools, teach new approaches to business development, and help attorneys build or jumpstart plans for creating successful practices and/or enhancing their current business development plans.


      Their “open house” format allowed for flexibility and one-on-one sessions with the business development and marketing staff as they discussed topics, such as advancing prospects/clients to the next step and using LinkedIn to showcase their niche areas of practice, to engage with clients and to build their practice. They also launched a software program that gave attorneys and staff the ability to take a targeted approach to sharing thought leadership directly with clients and via social media.


      • Improvement in attorney’s LinkedIn profile “scores.”
      • New focus on attorneys sharing thought leadership, resulting in a 232% increase in clicks on attorneys’ social shares of firm content.
      • Training on updating the electronic customer database leading to a better understanding of how it works, why it is important, and how attorney can reach more clients and contacts.
      • Surveys showed that the response to the Marketing Blitz were very positive with all respondents saying they would attend the Marketing Blitz again.
      • With such success in 2018, Barnes & Thornburg has kicked off Marketing Blitz 2.0 in 2019 and will visit all 14 offices with a similar format and goals.

      Team Members:

        • Gretchen Helms, Business Development Manager
        • Karen Smith, Director of Communications
        • Susan Haag, Director of Marketing Services
        • Gwen Ragno, Digital Marketing Manager

        An Honorable Mention was awarded to Faegre Baker Daniels. The team of Melanie Green, Chief Client Development Officer, Amanda Stiens, Director of Client Relations, Carol Conwell, Client Account Manager, John Kleinschmidt, Client Account Manager, Jenny Kummer, Client Account Manager, and Bernardine Lai Krauel, Client Account Manager, impressed the judges with their strategic approach to restructuring their team. Responsibilities were reassigned and the role of Client Account Manager was created to focus on client experience and sales support.

        Sales & Service Executive of the Year (small firm) -  Brandi M Hobbs, Director of Client Service & Strategy at Poyner Spruill


        As the Director of Client Service & Strategy at Poyner Spruill, a 93-attorney firm with 4 offices across North Carolina, Brandi M. Hobbs is raising the bar on client service both inside and outside the firm.

        In 2018, Poyner Spruill launched an ambitious program which laid out a set of five priorities that the firm used to make strategic marketing and business development choices throughout the year the top priority being developing ‘Clients as Advocates.’ With this top priority in mind, Brandi worked with individual attorneys and teams to focus on creative approaches to training, increasing efficiency within the firm, and deepening relationships with clients and knowledge of the industries they serve.

        Brandi is also the leader of the firm's Client Service department, a small but highly effective group responsible for the firm's client service, business development, programming and marketing needs. Responsible for strategic initiatives and tactical execution, Brandi works closely with firm leadership, other departments, personnel in a variety of roles, attorneys, and the firm’s clients.


        • Firm-wide training on conducting client service interviews, which launched the firm’s client feedback program, resulted in retained work, and provided new insight for future relationship growth.
        • Legal Lean Sigma Yellow Belt® 2-day event that led to multiple “wins,” including work in a new practice area for one of the firm’s largest clients, multiple new projects with other clients, over 35 firm staff and attorneys and over 35 clients being certified in project management and process improvement, and expanded knowledge of key clients’ business operations.
        • The third annual “Building-a-Book Club”; an internal 6-course training academy on business development, sales techniques, and client relations.

        An Honorable Mention was awarded to Jenna Schiappacasse, Director of Client Development at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, a 43-attorney firm with 5 offices across Maryland, Delaware, DC and New York. Over the past several years, Ms. Schiappacasse has shifted the focus of her role from a marketing and communications focus to an outward-facing client development role that is directly responsible for generating revenue in addition to coaching the firm’s attorneys on their client service and business development efforts.

        Sales & Service Executive of the Year (large firm) Christian Berger, Senior Advisor of Strategic Business Development at McGuireWoods


        Since joining McGuireWoods in 2015, Christian Berger has had a deep impact on business development activity throughout the firm.

        As the Senior Advisor of Strategic Business Development, Christian leads and participates in client-facing business development initiatives to engage prospective clients in the mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and debt finance practices. To proactively add value for clients, Christian works with attorneys to leverage the firm's relationships with capital providers and operating companies to connect parties in business transactions.

        Beyond client acquisition, Christian also provided sales coaching and training for attorneys at the firm which takes place in “live” business development settings that has been called “transformational” for some lawyers’ careers. He also created a simple business development tool used by lawyers across practice groups that enables them to quickly pre-qualify and pursue potential prospects.


          • Christian has originated or co-originated more than 75 new client relationships including top commercial banks, investment banks, and private equity fund managers, among others.
          • He has led or participated in more than 160 first pitch meetings in 2018.
          • He played a significant role to McGuireWoods being named “M&A Law Firm of the Year” by Mergers and Acquisitions Magazine in 2018 and “Most Innovative Law Firm in the Business of Law in North America” by the Financial Times in 2018.

           “…{O]ne of Christian’s unique talents is that he really 'gets it,' meaning he has a thorough understanding of the needs of our deal lawyers and their clients. It's common for potential clients to contact him directly because he speaks their language.”

          Richard S. Grant, Partner
          McGuireWoods LLP

          An Honorable Mention was awarded to Michael D. Helmicki, Client Development Executive at DLA Piper LLP (US). Mr. Helmicki’s creative approaches have resulted in substantial growth in DLA Piper’s representation of emerging growth and venture capital clients.

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