» Business Development

Don’t Answer Your Phone!

All time management experts will tell you that it is a huge time waster to let phone calls (and emails) interrupt a work task. But there’s an even better reason: A potential client will instantly think that you are a responsive lawyer. Although this may sound counterintuitive, you will impress potential clients by ignoring their initial phone call and then calling them back promptly (usually within a few hours). This is true whether you answer your own phone or have a receptionist do it for you ... Read More

Strategic Planning Myths for Law Firms

Last year, the Harvard Business Review published a blog post entitled, "3 Myths That Kill Strategic Planning." Like most content that comes out of Harvard and other business schools, the focus is on the application of planning principles to more routine corporations--not professional service firms such as law firms ... Read More

The New Solo: Jack of All Trades, Master of None?

Many new solo practitioners wrestle with the issue of whether to focus their practice in one area of the law to the exclusion of other areas. Some are afraid to walk away from any business and, therefore, think it best to go to market as a generalist. Unless you practice in a very small town, this strategy is usually a mistake. If you practice in a suburban or metro area, limiting yourself to certain practice areas is the best strategy. Here’s why… Continue reading this post on http://solopracticeuniversity.com. ... Read More

How to Know If a Conference Will Be Worth It

Contrary to what some social media pundits would say, conferences where people show up and interact in person have not gone away. Not only are they around to stay, but most legal marketing pundits (including yours truly) agree that attending conferences can offer valuable business development opportunities. Continue reading this post on www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

The Wrong Way To Network

Like most successful legal professionals, I engage in a fair amount of networking. Much of my networking time is devoted to developing my own business, but sometimes I am on the “receiving end” of a networking exchange — someone is trying to develop their business through me. I am almost always happy to do this, even when there doesn’t seem to be much in it for me. I do this because I take a long-term view towards networking. Networking is not just about making yourself more successful; is should be about making both parties more successful. If I can help someone become more successful today, maybe he or she will be able to return the favor in the future. I also approach these seemingly one-sided networking events as a learning oppo… ... Read More

When Can You Pay a Referral Fee?

In most practice areas, a lawyer’s marketing efforts should focus on generating a strong referral pipeline—from both non-lawyers and lawyers alike. If those efforts are successful, you’ll probably need some guidance on referral fees. Here it is. There are Clear Guidelines—Mostly Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Four Tips for Meeting Two People in the Room

Lawyers typically dread attending events like annual bar association fundraisers, CLE conferences — or any gathering where there will be a large number of attendees. In short, they dread the type of event where their “working the room” skills are put to the test. To make connections that bring in new clients, though, you have to spend plenty of time outside of your office — and, sometimes, your comfort zone. Continue reading this post at www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Successful Networking Is a Numbers Game

The most successful salespeople strongly believe that sales is a numbers game. In other words, you don’t have to be an ace or a homerun king to be successful at business development. You just have to keep pitching and swinging in the general direction of the clients. The more at-bats, the more runs (clients) you are likely to earn (win). Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

How to Make Small Talk

“Working the room” is the one business development tactic that strikes the most fear in lawyers. Most lawyers hate finding themselves at a reception at some conference or benefit, where they hope to meet a few new people in a crowd of hundreds. Even when the drinks are free, most lawyers would prefer going to the dentist. Many lawyers feel awkward and uncomfortable chatting with strangers, in large part because they view small talk as a complete waste of time. Being lawyers, they want some evidence to support the value of chitchat. Well, last month The Wall Street Journal (paywall) ran an article entitled, “The Hidden Benefits of Chitchat.” The article confirmed everything I’ve always thought to be true about small talk. Plus, it… ... Read More

The Perfect Marketing Mix: Business and Pleasure

Recently, I was talking to a lawyer about the ideal mix of business with pleasure, in the context of successful business development. This attorney observed that a lawyer in his firm with lots of clients seemed to devote most of his life to his practice. All of this successful lawyer’s social and community activities revolved around clients or potential clients. His personal life was hardly separate from his work life. This lawyer I was speaking with wondered if he should take the same approach. Should he be marketing 24/7? I hate to sound like a lawyer, but the answer is both yes and no. First, I’ll provide the “yes” answer. Then, I’ll provide the “no” answer. Mixing business with pleasure is necessary Think of the most succe… ... Read More

Qualities of a Successful Rainmaker

Many myths surround successful rainmaking in the legal profession. Perhaps the biggest myth is that only attorneys with an outgoing and gregarious personality stand a chance of attracting clients. I know that you’re skeptical, but give me a chance to make my case. Continue reading this post at www.lawyernomics.avvo.com ... Read More

Networking Groups – Are They Ethical?

Referral sources are the lifeblood of many successful attorneys. Old standby places to meet new people and establish relationships with referral sources include bar and trade associations, as well as business community organizations (such as Chamber of Commerce or Rotary). Although the missions of these groups vary significantly, referrals are the inevitable reward for active participation. Continuing reading this post at www.lawyernomics.avvo.com ... Read More

Networking and Websites Are Your Best Bet for Marketing

I’m frequently asked how much time and money should attorneys spend on marketing. Like a true lawyer, I reply that “it depends.” There is no magic percentage of revenue or billable hours to be allocated to business development activities. The answer to this question will vary by practice area, geographic location and budget. But when asked about the two most important marketing tools for attorneys, my answer is rarely “it depends.” The answer is your networking efforts and your website. No matter how much time and money a lawyer decides to spend, spend it in these two areas. Networking Works Like it or not, law is a relationship-based profession/business. Always has been and always will be. People hire lawyers whom they like and t… ... Read More

Keep Your Marketing Out of Ethics Traps

The most important ABA Model Rule governing professional conduct in the area of legal marketing is Rule 7.1, which covers communications concerning a lawyer’s services. All states have adopted this rule, worded exactly the same or very close to it. The rule provides: Continue reading this post on www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Why Lawyers Should Beware of "Specializing"

It is the rare lawyer who is familiar with all the intricacies of legal marketing ethics rules. Most of them, however, seem to know that they must take care when using the word “specialize.” At the same time, most of these attorneys have no idea why. Continue reading this post to discover the answer. Source of the Specialist Rule In the 1970s and 1980s, some states and national organizations began to offer a process by which lawyers could become certified specialists in select practice areas. Typically, this involves a CLE requirement, a level of practice experience, peer review and testing. Rule 7.1, which prohibits “false and misleading” statements, didn’t prevent the misuse of term specialist in the eyes of the regulators. A se… ... Read More

Even Abraham Lincoln Had to Market

I enjoy the holiday season for many reasons. One is because Hollywood usually releases a few decent and entertaining movies. One movie that earned a respectable amount of praise this season is Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. If you read the reviews, or talked to friends and colleagues who have seen the movie, you’ve probably heard a common refrain: “I didn’t know that Abraham Lincoln did that.” Lincoln the Trial Lawyer Most of you should remember from your history classes that Lincoln (like many presidents) was a lawyer. You may even recall that he was a famed Illinois trial lawyer. But you probably don’t know that Lincoln the lawyer was just as skilled at marketing his own services as he was in the courtroom. By today’s standards… ... Read More

Law School Regrets

I graduated from law school 30 years ago. When speaking to law students about how to find a job today, I mostly cover the basics. But I draw on my own experiences, too, and offer one bit of advice rarely provided by most career counselors. I arrived at this advice when, to prepare my presentation, I asked myself: “Knowing what I now know about legal careers after all these years, would I have done anything differently when I attended law school?” Continue reading post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Pro Bono: It Pays to Be Good

Recently, New York became the first state to require that law students perform 50 hours of pro bono work before they can be admitted to the bar. Plenty of bloggers have already chimed in on whether this is a good or bad idea. There’s little that I can add to that debate. But I like to remind lawyers that the benefits of performing pro bono work go well beyond feeling good about “doing the right thing.” Too few of us recognize that it can also yield substantial, practical economic benefits for ourselves, our organizations and our profession as a whole. When it comes to pro bono service, “it pays to be good.” Continue reading this post on www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Why Be Afraid of Networking?

Unfortunately, most lawyers aren’t particularly excited about the idea of networking. Even lawyers who’ve taken steps to get help with business development will object, inevitably, when it’s time to test their networking ability. Two primary fears seem to be the basis for their lack of enthusiasm and their objections. So let’s take a look at why those fears are unfounded. Continue reading this post on www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

A Coach Reviews The Lawyer's Guide to Professional Coaching

At long last, the ABA has published a book about coaching for lawyers. As an attorney coach for almost a decade, I understand that many lawyers don’t even know that the option of coaching for their profession exists, let alone understand how coaches can help their careers. The publishing of this book by the ABA should enhance the credibility and popularity of lawyer coaching. With those thoughts in mind, I eagerly sat down to read The Lawyer’s Guide to Professional Coaching, by Andrew Elowitt. The Basics of Coaching Elowitt does an excellent job providing an overview of the basics, including why a lawyer would need a coach, how coaching works, why coaching is more than a fad, and how to select a coach. That said, much of the material co… ... Read More
When I worked with Roy, I was tired of practicing employment law and wanted to move into an HR position at a local company. Roy thoroughly vented my desire to stop practicing to be extra sure that I fully understood the consequences of leaving the la…" Read the rest
– Vice-President, Human Resources, Minneapolis, MN corporation

For More Information

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.