I know things are tough out there, and a CMO’s gotta do what a CMO’s gotta do. Jolene Overbeck, former CMO for Orrick, Latham, Shearman & Sterling, and DLA Piper, just landed a new job with Hogan Lovells, and of course the rumors have started on her salary:

All that experience doesn’t come cheap. Industry sources say compensation packages for CMOs at top law firms tops out in the $600,000-$700,000 range. And as word spread that Overbeck had joined Hogan-Lovells, the buzz was that she had set a new high-water mark in the process: a compensation package worth $1 million. Overbeck declined to discuss her compensation in detail, except to say that the $1 million figure is incorrect. “I would just say I am regarded to be at the top of the field,” she says. “I am compensated at that level, and I deliver at that level.”

I’ve met Jolene at a couple LMA conferences, but I don’t know her personally. I do know people who’ve worked for her, and she runs a pretty tight ship that’s not the right fit for every legal marketer. And that’s the point of this post. There are only 100 AmLaw 100 firms. But, there are thousands of smaller shops across the country, and around the world, who need sophisticated legal marketing assistance. These smaller firms might not have the budgets, staff members and resources of the larger firms, but they’re doing the same type of work. They’re marketing. They’re communicating. They’re business developing. They’re dabbling in social media. These smaller firms are located in the same buildings. Their attorneys are admitted to practice before the same courts. Their staff get their coffee at the same Starbucks. And, they share in common some of the same clients. Personally, I’ve spent the majority of my legal marketing career in AmLaw 100 & 200 firms. However, my two favorite (and most rewarding) jobs have been with smaller firms (40 and now 75 attorneys). Not only do I personally know each and every partner, of counsel and associate, I get to do much of the same work I did at the big firms, and I’m home in time, EVERY NIGHT, to enjoy a meal with my kids, participate in the school fundraiser (I got PINK’S Hot Dogs to come and cater our Halloween Hurrah later this month), put my kids to bed, and enjoy a little something off my DVR. I travel when necessary, but not enough to be a premier member of anything. I rarely get an e-mail after hours, and everyone is respectful of my outside interests, namely MY FAMILY. I don’t make the money that an AmLaw 100 or 200 CMO makes. But I betcha I make more than the directors under them, and I am home, in my comfy clothes, before they’ve left the building! Now, I’m off to the gym! I get to do that too, every day, at 1:30.