I was devastated to learn of the passing of Diane Hamlin, legal marketing’s first “Chief Strategy Officer.” I worked very closely with her on a fascinating initiative for Fenwick & West during the height of the dot-com boom. Diane was fierce but friendly.
A brilliant and insightful marketer, she was one of Fishman Marketing’s all-time favorite clients. A ubiquitous fixture at Palo Alto tech conferences, she literally brought in 8-figure brand-name IPOs just walking down the hallways from her hotel room. She had the private phone numbers of billionaire creators and VC investors whose names you’d immediately recognize.
Diane believed in her firm’s culture and confided in me that it was her mission to have Fenwick & West selected as the first law firm to make Fortune magazine’s prestigious “Best Companies to Work For” list. Then she made it happen.
I remember keynoting a Fenwick firm retreat where, for firm-culture reasons, every lawyer had to share a room, no exceptions. Every associate bunked with a partner, all the way up to Gordy Davidson, the managing partner. (As a consultant, I was exempt.)
While the firm was booming in most areas, Diane observed that Fenwick wasn’t excelling at on-campus recruiting. Ferociously loyal to the firm, she couldn’t imagine why everyone wouldn’t want to work there. So, she flew me to top law schools across the country to personally interview law review students to see what the heck the problem was.
She decided that in just 3 months we were going to figure out and implement an effective solution. The result? 150-lawyer Fenwick hired an astonishing 71 summer associates that year! Diane just made stuff happen. She even wrote a white paper about the project cheekily entitled “It’s Not Just a Law Firm, It’s a Wardrobe: marketing and recruiting, the building of the Fenwick & West team.” Fenwick Marketing Recruiting white paper
Shrewd and gracious, she had encyclopedic knowledge and nuanced insight at the intersection of law, marketing, and technology. The only thing that slowed her down was her health, and she was forced to retire to Florida much too young, for medical reasons.
Diane was among the kindest marketers I’ve ever known. She’ll be deeply missed by many.