Client Development for Young Lawyers

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Currently there are almost 1.2 million lawyers licensed in the United States of America with more law students graduating every year. As the industry becomes more competitive and aggressive, building client development skills early on can protect your career and make you a more valuable resource.
This presentation reviews the importance of client development and the skills you will need to develop as you enter the legal market.

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Client Development for Young Lawyers

  1. 1. Client Development For Young Lawyers By Michael Blachly Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C.© 2013 Looper Reed & McGraw P.C.The information contained herein is subject to change without notice
  2. 2. Today’s Speakers Michael Blachly Director of Client Development Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C.
  3. 3. Attorneys & Sales
  4. 4. Law Firms Today … Lawyers in U.S.1,250,0001,200,0001,150,0001,100,0001,050,0001,000,000 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  5. 5. Law Firms Today … Lawyers in Texas100,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 2003 2005 2008 2010 2011 2012
  6. 6. Law Firms Today Old Times vs Modern Times
  7. 7. Lawyers Need To Understand … You are the Lawyer doing the Work You are the Sales Representative You are the Account Manager
  8. 8. So What is Client Development? Building Your Relationships Building Your Expertise Building Your Name
  9. 9. Where to Start? What Separates You From The Pack?
  10. 10. Define Your Target Market
  11. 11. Where Do You Start?
  12. 12. Niche Industries… Accounting / CPA Firms Hospitality Industry Advertising Industry Insurance Industry Aerospace Industry Legal Industry Agriculture Industry Manufacturing Industry Airline Industry Media / Broadcasting Industry Automotive Industry Mining, Forestry & Resources IndustryBanking & Financial Services Industry Motion Picture & Television Industry Biotechnology Industry Music Industry Call Centers Industry Online Services Industry Cargo Handling Industry Pharmaceuticals Industry Chemicals Industry Publishing Industry Computer / Software / IT Industry Real Estate Industry - Commercial Construction Industry Real Estate Industry - Industrial Consulting Industry Real Estate Industry - Residential Consumer Products Industry Retail & Wholesale Industry Cosmetics Industry Securities & Commodity Exchanges Defense Industry Service Industry Education Industry Sports Industry Electronic Games Industry Staffing Firms / Outsourcing Industry Electronics Industry Technology Industry Energy / Oil & Gas Industry Telecommunications Industry Entertainment & Leisure Industry Tourism Industry Fashion & Apparel Industry Toy / Children Focused Industry Food, Beverage & Tobacco Industry Transportation / Railroad Industry Health Care Industry Utilities / Waste Management Industry Home Furnishings Industry
  13. 13. Define Your Target Market
  14. 14. Where Does Business Come From? • You’re The Best at • Other Lawyers What You Do! • Existing Clients • Industries (health • CPAs care, construction, • Doctors oil and gas) Niche Market External & Reputation Referrals Close Internal Firm Relationships Referrals Referrals • Friends • The Firm Brand • Family • Your Partners
  15. 15. Social Organizations Lunches & Functions & Committees Dinners How can one person do all of this! Networking & Referrals Speaking atSponsorships Events Public Branding Attorney RelationsAdvertising Publish Articles Direct Mail Phone Calls & Web Personal Emails Development Letters Blogs Bio on Firm Educational Website Developing Materials New Social Relationships Announcements Networks/ Maintaining LinkedIn Relationships
  16. 16. So What is Client Development A Speech Your You Gave Networking Efforts Article You Published The Right Mix Can Result In Clients Coming In The Door
  17. 17. The Tools to Make it Happen Make a Plan!
  18. 18. A Down & Dirty Business Plan •Identify & Learn Practice – You need to be good at what you do first. •Identify & Learn Niche Market – Identifying a market niche is KEY to making the rest of this process easier Niche & •Get Involved in Niche Market – Join organizations, attend events, build relationships with industry media, speak at events, get involved in the leadership, write a blog. Practice •Identify Referral Sources – Clients, past clients, LRM, CPAs, doctors, friends, family, personal activities, classmates, etc. •Build Relationships – Take to lunch or ballgame, help them out, keep in touch. •Make Sure to Communicate What You Do – Give them literature, explain your practice.Referrals •Learn About Their Company and Industry – Read 10k filings, OneSource reports, Google alerts, industry publications, visit their office, use third party contacts who may know more details, learn what keeps them up at night. •Learn About Their Personal Life – Family names, birthdays, vacations, hobbies (record it all so you can take advantage ofProspect it), make them a friend. Clients •Listen to Their Problems and Close the Deal •Keep in Constant Communication With Them – Keep them updated on the process and the budget. Even after the legal matter is over, keep the relationship active through lunches and mailings. •Cross Sell Other Areas of the Firm – It is proven that cross-selling solidifies the client relationship even more. Clients •Recognize Top Tier Clients – Give them a gift, consider alternative fees or discounts.
  19. 19. The Tools to Make it Happen Become a Networking Guru
  20. 20. The Tools to Make it Happen Utilize the Internet
  21. 21. The Tools to Make it Happen Speak & Publish
  22. 22. The Tools to Make it Happen Create A System
  23. 23. The Tools to Make it Happen Priority Contact Sheet Overall Rating Relationship Frequency Position Last ContactStatus Contact Name Company Date / Kind Recent Action Legal Needs Took to lunch. Discussed partnership Client Diane Smith ABC Company 8 8 6 22 5/20/08 Phone agreement. Following up in two weeks. Went to lunch. No business discussed but plan to follow up in two weeks to take to aProspect Michael Jones XYZ Company 2 1 3 6 basketball game.Referral Andy Jones 124 CPA Firm 7 4 8 19 0 0 0 0
  24. 24. What Stage Are You In?
  25. 25. What Stage Are You In? Associates:  Learning to be a Great Lawyer  Your Main Client is Your Boss and the Firm  Create a mailing list of future potential clients/referrals  Join the local Bar Association (and get involved)  Develop A Business Plan  Stay on Top of Current Events  Engage in at least one face-to-face marketing effort per week
  26. 26. What Stage Are You In? Senior Associates:  Still Learning to be a Great Lawyer  Define and Promote your “niche”  Add to database of potential clients/referrals  Visit client’s facilities, factories, stores  Get involved in trade associations related to your niche  Write at least two articles per year  Present a speech to legal or industry group  Engage in at least two face-to-face marketing effort per week
  27. 27. What The Client Wants The Client Wants An Exceptional Experience
  28. 28. What The Client Wants “Don’t take client calls or use your blackberry while you are in meetings with me unless it’s a true emergency. Make me ‘feel’ as if I am your only and most important client even if I’m not.” “Return calls promptly or have someone else return it in your absence to let me know when you’ll return the call.”Source: WickerPark Group
  29. 29. What The Client Wants “Clients are good at taking bad news - when they aren’t surprised.” “In-house counsel hate to be surprised. Surprises are the worst.” “Communicate with me directly as soon as you think things will be different than expected with fees, outcomes, results.”Source: WickerPark Group
  30. 30. What The Client Wants “Think ahead. Look to the future and tell me what you think are upcoming issues and trends that will impact my business and how. Then, tell me what I should do about it.” “Demonstrate you understand my business. Spend time on site with my legal department and business people, take a facility tour, attend industry meetings with me and read my trade publications.”Source: WickerPark Group
  31. 31. What The Client Wants “Show me that you’re thinking about me. When you send me an article or legal update tell me why and how it might affect my business.” “[partner] was amazing. He is our go-to and we wouldn’t think of calling anybody else at this point. We especially appreciated the off the clock strategy session with our CEO last December.”Source: WickerPark Group
  32. 32. To Tools to Make it Happen Questions
  33. 33. In Summary Find Your Passion
  34. 34. The End … Thank You! Michael Blachly 214-237-6370 mblachly@lrmlaw.com

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