Continuing off last week’s discussion — do you market the lawyer or the firm? — I am in the “you have to do both” camp.

Seth Godin’s new book, Tribes, the new Triiibes social network, and the conversation surrounding its release, explores the issues of leadership. Seth is interviewed here about the Delicate Balance of Leadership.

In the law firm dynamic, there are many, many different leaders: There is the firm wide mananging partner, executive board, office managing partners, the c-suite and practice group leaders. There are industry group and client team leaders. There are associate and diversity committees, with their own leaders, and so on. Each leader is accountable to the collective, to the group, and to the individuals who make up their “tribe.”

Now, bear this out for the marketing of lawyers. In an average AmLaw 100 firm, there are hundreds of attorneys, dozens of practices groups and dozens of offices. In a Web 2.0 world, “conversations” are taking place live, in too many places, for one, or a dozen, marketers to manage. With the rule of thumb being one marketer per 40 attorneys, there will never be enough dedicated marketers to meet the needs of each individual who feeds into the collective.

Whether it is by writing a newsletter or a blog, speaking at a conference or by Twittering, I would argue that the firm’s leaders must deputize each member of their “tribe” (or department, practice team, client team, etc.) to take ownership of their message and communicate it outside the firm.