In this tough economy, perhaps the most frequently asked question I get from my business development coaching clients, as well as attendees at my marketing CLE's is "Should I be doing anything differently now?"

The answer is basically no. Now is the time you simply cannot afford not to market. You need to reconnect with former clients and jump start your networking efforts with acquaintances, both professional and personal, who could become potential clients or referral sources.

With that said, there are two things that make this environment unique and are worth mentioning.

You have the time; make the most of it

First, for those of you in the past who complained that you simply did not have the time to network, unfortunately for many lawyers now, that excuse is no longer available. The phone is not ringing as frequently as it used to and you are billing less hours.

In short, there is no excuse why you should not be networking or doing other types of marketing activities such as speaking or writing. You have the time; no more excuses!

Spend less, but get out more

Second, I am a strong believer that the best networking activity for lawyers in most practice areas is having lunch with clients and prospects. Accordingly, I occasionally hear the understandable pushback, "I cannot afford those fancy lunches." Well, they do not have to be fancy. There are many places that will not break the bank---and I am not talking about McDonalds or Subway. There are many nice casual dining restaurants where two can eat for under $25.

For those of you who are really experiencing tough times and genuinely cannot afford $25, having coffee at any time of the day can be an effective Plan B. Spend the 5 bucks; it will be a wise investment. Even if you only receive one small matter as a result of your networking coffees, that matter will have paid for well over a year's worth of buying someone else’s coffee.

Now is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish.

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