I have shared things by my friend Grover Cleveland — the lawyer, silly, not the former POTUS! — with you before, and here is another opportunity. This article addresses the daunting task of developing business as a critical element of advancing in a law firm and gaining independence in your practice. Nothing is more important for a young lawyer, as you have heard me say so many times before.
Networking and developing business for your law firm is something that most lawyers do not relish. Not even the most successful among them. But, you have to get over that and recognize the importance and value of developing business. If you do it right, it will change your life and your future at a law firm. If you ignore it, you are likely to find yourself moving on from the law firm in an involuntary way. It is as simple as that.
The days of having work handed down to you from a senior attorney — the days of the “finders” and the “minders” — is over. These days, the same lawyer who “finds” the work also “minds” the work. Those billable hours are invaluable at all levels of practice today, and there is a whole lot less sharing going on. It is a sign of the times as the practice of law has gotten so much more competitive during the recent economic downturn. And most law profession observers agree that this new model is a permanent change.
So, what to do? How do you, a newbie lawyer, even approach the awesome task of developing new work for your law firm? That is where Grover Cleveland comes in. Here is some useful advice of his to help you develop business while, at the same time, stay on top of your other work — a super juggling act, to be sure:
- Clarify the firm’s expectations;
- Define your goals;
- Manage your own expectations;
- Develop your expertise;
- Learn about your clients;
- Provide excellent client services;
- Raise your visibility;
- Be mindful of internal clients;
- Make business development a habit; and
- Shift your mindset.
Excellent advice. Now read the entire article and make it work for you!