Wednesday, December 9, 2015

3 Questions As You Rewrite Your BD Plan for 2016

The end of the year is always a good time to take a hard look at your business development efforts of the last 12 months: what worked and what didn't, where you want to spend your time and effort next year, etc. If you're going through that exercise – and you should be – here are three questions you should ask yourself:
  1. What do I like to do? No, I'm not talking about horseshoes or hang-gliding (though there are no doubt many lawyers who have turned these and similar interests into BD tactics). Instead, you need to figure out what you enjoy, what you're most comfortable doing, and what you don't like, so that you can shape your BD efforts accordingly. Put another way: if you're more at home in front of the keyboard than in front of a crowd, you probably should put public speaking lower on your list than starting a blog. Because you're not going to actively engage in BD activities you don't like to do.
  2. What makes me special? Obviously, you wouldn't be a successful lawyer if you didn't bring something special to the table. Something tangible for your clients. Something that makes you stand out, that makes them continue to give you work. Once you figure out what that is – you might even consider asking one or two of them – you can start figuring out a way to exploit that strength, to determine who will be most interested, to articulate that which sets you apart from the competition.
  3. What is the market telling me? Staying on top of trends in the market – what regulators are doing in your key clients' industries, what's going on in China, how the presidential election is likely to change the way your clients do business – is essential at all times. But as you're trying to figure out where your biggest opportunities will lie in the coming year, you should be paying closer attention. A good place to start is BTI's recent Mad Clientist blog post reporting on a survey of more than 300 General Counsel on the areas in which they plan to spend their legal services dollars in 2016.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

While you were sleeping, redux. The world keeps getting smaller.

The rapid march of BigLaw globalization continues. Most of the activity is, understandably, focused on China, the "fastest growing legal market in the world."
What are you waiting for?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Go West, young man. And East. And North. And South.

What's BigLaw doing in this "down" economy? Getting bigger. Looking for opportunities to add greater value. Opening offices, merging, forming alliances. Gobalizing:
What do these firms (and others) know that you don't? They read the same news, see the same signs, talk to the same clients and bankers and accountants. Are they getting secret information? Playing insider baseball? Or are they just taking a longer-term view of the crisis, the evolution of the global practice of law, the opportunities to survive and succeed in what promises to be a radically different future?

Maybe it's time you started looking beyond your borders. Go west, east, north and south. It's a big world, full of big opportunities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are you talking the talk? Walking the walk?

Hong KongOr just sitting at home, watching the world go by from the comfort of your office? When was the last time you traveled outside the country? What languages do you speak? Can you carry on a conversation in a foreign tongue? Have you ever tried? Can you find your way through a crowded Japanese city, negotiate a contract in Columbia, interview a client in Paris? In Japanese, Spanish or French?

On a flight to Asia a few years ago, I struck up a conversation with my seat-mate. Like me, he spent a lot of time on planes and as often happens, our conversation turned to the mileage elite threshold of our favorite airline. I told him that I'd made the 100,000-mile mark over the past two years, but I didn't think I'd reach it for a third year in a row. He told me he already had. It was February.

The world keeps getting smaller. Clients, from corporate executives circling the globe to retirees on vacation to entrepreneurs looking for ideas, are spending more and more time outside the United States. They're seeing the world through different eyes, discovering unknown cultures and traditions, meeting new people and eating new foods and getting new ideas about the way things are done. Shouldn't you be doing the same?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Have you made your resolutions for the New Year?

I was interviewed Friday by Chelsey Lambert at Total Attorneys for their Total Expert Radio broadcasts. I'm not used to sitting on the interviewee side of the table, and it was a lot of fun. Chelsey did a great job keeping me on topic. Thanks too to Kevin Chern and Kate Battle, who made the interview possible.

Chelsey and I talk about new year's resolutions for lawyers in three areas: growing their business, communicating their message, and managing their practice. We cover a lot of ground, especially with respect to business development, communications and practice management trends in 2010 and how those trends will translate into 2011. You can listen to the interview below, but if you don't have time right now, here's the summary of my new year's resolutions for lawyers and law firms:

Growing your business
  1. Make a plan, a road map, that contemplates what you want to achieve in your practice, the people that will help you get there, and they ways in which you are going to connect with those people.
  2. Set priorities. Time is not unlimited. Decide what's most important, and focus your efforts on that. And don’t make grandiose projects that will never come to fruition. Baby steps are fine.
  3. Talk to your clients more. Go through the list of your clients, not just the ones easy to talk to, and start connecting with them. Talk about service, about value, about their problems, about solutions.
Communicating your message
  1. Revamp your marketing materials. Practice descriptions, biographies, boilerplates, etc. They get stale quickly. Try to tell more -- and more meaningful -- stories.
  2. Write where your clients read. If they read blogs, write a blog. If they read trade publications, do what you can to publish in the trades. How do you find out what they read? Ask them.
  3. Draft a communications plan but don't get hung up on the process. Write down what you want to say, who you want to say it to, what you want to achieve from saying it, and where you should say it.
Managing your practice
  1. Set objectives for your practice beyond just practicing law. If you don’t plan your route you may end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
  2. Embrace alternative billing. Develop some meaningful alternatives to the billable hour that you can offer clients without hesitation.
  3. Explore new technology. Cloud computing, client extranets, mobile technologies, etc. Figure out how you can use technology to provide better service, and start doing it. 

Listen to internet radio with Total Attorneys on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!


Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy 2011!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100

The nominees for the 2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100 have been released, and for the second year in a row, my lawyer interview blog 22 Tweets was included on the list of the best legal blogs as selected by the editors of the ABA Journal. It's a great honor for me to have 22 Tweets listed alongside so many law blogs that inspire, educate, inform and amuse me every day, but the real credit goes to each and every one of the nearly 90 lawyers who have allowed me to interview them over the past year and a half.

22 Tweets was nominated in the category of "Legal Biz," up against such powerhouses as Adam Smith, Esq, What About Clients?, The Client Revolution, Law21.ca and several other blogs that I read just about every day. I never imagined competing against them in a popularity contest, and don't imagine I'll end up at the top of the heap come December 30, but that won't stop me from seeking your vote for 22 Tweets. You can do it here (you'll need to go through a relatively painless registration process to register before voting). You get 12 votes, one for each category--though you don't have to use them that way--but I'll warn you in advance: you will have a hard time narrowing your list down to 12 blawgs. Really.

So get out there and rock the vote. We're all counting on you.
 
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