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Should you (could you) join a board

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Board MeetingClients often ask me about the business development value of joining a nonprofit’s Board of Directors, and (as with most activities) the value varies depending upon your objectives and the board you might join.
 In general, board membership can be an excellent way to meet other professionals who may be relevant to your practice and to gain an extra perk for your biographical sketch. And if you join the board of a nonprofit that advances a cause important to you, you may find personal satisfaction as well.    

Which board should you join? 

Consider organizations that sponsor causes in which you are genuinely interested. You can gain strong contacts from an organization that addresses topics of little matter to you, but when your interests align with the organization’s mission, you will likely connect more deeply with other board members and with the organization’s
membership more generally. In addition, because you will actually be working on the board, real interest will make the hours you invest less of a burden. Continue Reading

Why you MUST act

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Overthinking can ruin your plans. One of the biggest mistakes I see lawyers make is coming up with a good, solid plan and then discarding it before ever giving it a shot. Overthinking takes the oomph out of a strategy, and there’s no better way to short-circuit than to let fear take over and reverse a decision. 


This week’s quote is right on point.


Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy. 

 Dale Carnegie


There you have it. Go out and get busy!


Under pressure?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

“Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you are doing.”
- Peyton Manning

This quote stopped me in my tracks. My first inclination was to disagree, because I sometimes feel pressure because of a deadline or because of the importance of some activity, even though I know what I’m doing.  Digging a bit deeper, though, I think Manning has a point.

When it comes to business development, the lawyers most under pressure are those who don’t have a cohesive plan, who aren’t implementing their plan consistently, or who haven’t fully committed to one or more activities that are likely to help them secure work.  Although they know what they’re doing on certain levels, there’s a disconnect between intellectual knowing and buckling down to do the work. If you know that you should request an on-site meeting with a client, for example, and you expect that you might well land more business or receive a referral or even deepen a valuable relationship, but you don’t ask for the meeting, you’re going to feel pressure. Continue Reading

How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

LinkedIn is, de facto, the preeminent social media platform for professional purposes. As of May 2014, LinkedIn featured over 300 million mostly professional users, growing by two new members per second. (Read this article for 100 staggering statistics about LinkedIn.)

How can you construct a profile that stands out? I happened across a really nice infographic this week that offers 10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile. I’m planning to review and revise my own profile this week, based on some of the suggestions—how about you?  Continue Reading

A mentor’s legacy…

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

My first legal job was serving as a clerk for the Hon. J. Owen Forrester of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. I knew I wanted to be a litigator, and so working for a trial judge was my idea of the perfect job. Sure enough, I learned lessons that have lasted the test of time.

Judge Forrester died on July 1, and while attending his funeral, I asked a number of his other clerks the most important lesson he taught them. Interestingly, every person alluded to exactly the same lesson:

To be effective, solve the root problem rather
than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

Tweet: To be effective, solve the root problem rather than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

Continue Reading

Fear can be good news!

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers, Uncategorized

I’ve been talking about fear with my clients quite a lot recently. (If you’re feeling fear, trust me, you aren’t the only one!) Sometimes it’s the fear of taking a step–more accurately, the fear of making a misstep. The fear of losing what you have (either material belongings or a reputation or self-identity) can be paralyzing, even if you know that you can’t get the next thing you want without giving up something you now have. And the fear of missing out has become so commonly identified that it has its own acronym, FOMO. Neither last nor least is the ubiquitous fear of rejection, which nearly everyone feels at some time.

Years ago the title of a popular book proclaimed, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. While the title is attractive, in my experience it’s hard to follow. In fact, given the typical risk resistance that most lawyers have by nature and/or nurture, it may be tougher for lawyers than for others who spend less time thinking about what might go wrong. Continue Reading

Implement these ideas today

Posted in Business Development, Client development

What would it take for you to catch up on all those articles and emails you put to the side (physically or digitally), promising to read them later but almost never actually doing so? For me, it was spending the last two weeks sitting in the ICU with a very ill family member. (He’s now out of ICU and doing well, happily.) And while catching up, I ran across a few articles and resources you can’t afford to miss.

1. How do GCs really view lawyer marketing? This article, summarizing a panel of Fortune 500 GCs who spoke at the Legal Marketing Association annual conference, is well worth a read if you’ve ever paused in the midst of business development activity and wondered why you’re bothering. The big take-home for me? Fortune 500 companies pay attention to client alerts and blogs as well as speaking engagements. Holiday cards and directory listings, in contrast, ranked low.

Bottom line? Providing relevant and timely content to potential clients establishes your credibility and makes you a viable candidate for retention. (Note that these conclusions may not translate directly to consumer clients.)
Continue Reading

Not enough time for biz dev?

Posted in Business Development, Client development

The #1 objection I hear to undertaking business development activity is time. Nobody has an overabundance of time, and when there’s plenty of billable work on your plate, it’s often hard to free up time to bring in yet more work. (Willingness may be an issue, too. As I discussed recently in this article, in addition to the time crunch, you may unconsciously be resisting new business if you’re already very busy.).

Lack of time is a real concern, but it’s also illusory since we all make time for our top priorities. As Larry Winget has written, “Your time, energy, and money always go to what is important to you.” If you say you want to grow your practice and yet you never seem to have time for the requisite activity, you should reconsider your level of commitment.  Continue Reading

How can you reach them?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

You have competitors, and depending on your area of practice and your geographic area, you may have lots of competitors. How can you stand out? I’ve covered some options previously here and  here, for example.

One of the key ways to distinguish yourself is to go where your ideal clients and referral sources are and to deliver something of value to them. That often means speaking, writing, teaching seminars, and so on. All true, all potentially effective (especially if strategically selected with proper follow-up in place), but it all starts to sound a little wah-wah-wah, like the teacher’s voice in Charlie Brown TV specials and the NON-MOBILE version. Continue Reading