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Deborah Brightman Farone

Deborah Brightman Farone

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

In 2017, I launched my own consulting practice, Farone Advisors, LLC, where I advise law and other professional service firms on business strategy, practice plans and other targeted marketing projects. I am also active as a keynote speaker at professional forums and retreats. My practice focuses on marketing, and that generally means helping law firm leaders with their firm's strategic and practice plans as well as new business training. Recently, I published a book, "Best Practices for Law Firm Business Development and Marketing" (PLI 2019). It is based on my last year's work, interviewing more than 60 leading law firm leaders and marketers, general counsel and innovators in the profession. I have been traveling around the country speaking about the results, at law firms and other business forums. Before beginning my consulting practice, I served as chief marketing officer at two great law firms, Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Both were wonderful places to learn about best practices in marketing and in business process. I am a past president of the Legal Marketing Association's New York Chapter and was honored with LMA New York's Legacy Award, in recognition of making "a distinguishable mark on the chapter and the profession."

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I loved being part of the recent panel "Forming Alliances to Propel the Career You Want"/ It was great to work with a set of panelists who were new friends for me to meet. I loved getting to know Lenore Horton, Harsha Jalihal and Bari Greenfield, my fellow co-panelists, and having the chance to discuss why the art of connecting with others is an important way to do business.

How would you define your professional mission?

To help guide professionals to develop business and help them break down the impediments, whether real or imaginary, that might stand in their way.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

I think to be an effective consultant at the level at which I am working you need to be very flexible and have the ability to adapt your experience and expertise to the needs of your clients. Each client and firm will be different and have their own unique set of challenges and talents. It's the practice of uncovering those one-of-a-kind situations that make the engagement a successful one. You can't have a one-size-fits-all approach when you are talking about sophisticated B2B purchasing decisions. An ancillary is that you have to constantly question what is in the best interest of the client. Each client has a unique culture, compensation system, and way of processing their work. You have to take all of that, and more into account when you are making marketing and strategy recommendations.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Creating and operating the marketing and business development departments for two major law firms Cravath and Debevoise, in both cases being the first CMO. I will always be grateful for being given those opportunities. Not only was it an experience in each case, to make cultural change and build a marketing department, it was a great opportunity to work with an amazing set of lawyers.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

I recently helped a firm with some serious cultural issues, address those challenges. Together we developed a structure and are now working on key steps that they will be taking. I can see that it really is making a difference in their operations. I have more pride in my client that I do in my own work with them, because they are the ones who were brave in recognizing and addressing the issue.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I never shy away from challenge and I've tried never to do the same job twice. Even when I worked for two law firms, they were very different from one another. Before heading into law firms, I held positions as a marketing specialist at Willis Towers Watson. I had my start right after college at Ketchum Communications. In those early years, working with talented people like Ray Kotcher and Susan Butenhoff, both leaders in the world of communications, I learned my passion for marketing and communications.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I would like for people to believe anything is possible.

Who are your role models?

My number one and two role models are my mother and sister. My mom is a phenomenally smart and determined person who has an incredibly upbeat approach to life. She always has a had a can-do attitude, whether it was as a school teacher, a realtor or today when she plays a challenging hand at Bridge. My mom looks at life as a great adventure. My sister is a New York City obstetrician/gynecologist and she has accomplished great things in her career, helping and working with women of all ages. These days, she is well known for her work in the management of perimenopause and menopause.

What is your morning ritual?

I am an early riser. If I don't have coffee first thing in the morning, you don't want to speak with me. But after that, it's daily exercise at the gym or at home, reading the newspaper, catching up on email and social media and then it's off to work. I generally begin working by 7:30 am or 8:00 am.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

The belief that people are capable of great things and helping them achieve those things.

What does success look like to you?

Being able to bring out the best in people, whether that means helping them to develop business or to make a change in their career. It's really what makes me the happiest.


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