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  • March 15, 2022 5:25 PM | Eva Booth

    By Steve Bell

    Law firms, operating virtually and remotely for nearly two years, have been asking “What’s new in law firm sales in these challenging times?” 

    “Challenging times” is a phrase that emerged in March 2020 and had grown stale by April.  Yes, things are different, more difficult and exhausting.  But then again, these are not the first “challenging times” to put a strain on professional services sales teams.     

    On Black Monday in October 1987, the stock market crashed because of programmatic trading. In September 2001, the US homeland was attacked, stranding road warriors across the planet.  In 2002, the dotcom bubble burst.  In 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed and launched the Great Recession. Each of these incidents created sales difficulties that required new solutions.  And each roughly coincided with an important leap forward in sales techniques and technology. 

    By 1987 and Black Monday, electronic mail was emerging and soon became a critical sales tool.  In 1995, WebEx was launched so that in 2001 when sales travel came to a screeching halt, virtual meetings could take place.  The Great Recession resulted in the sharp contraction of law firm sales forces, but by then, Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation facilitated the nurturing of clients in a way that did not necessarily require human intervention.  It’s not too surprising, then, to expect creative sales minds to quickly adjust to the lockdown of a global pandemic. 

    To find out more about sales solutions in the COVID moment, approximately 25 sales professionals from accounting and law firms – the Brain Trust -- were surveyed about how they are adapting to today’s reality.  Many of them have moved on to other professional-services businesses, but all are still selling, still succeeding, and always innovating.

    Subsequently, about 50 lawyers from Lex Mundi member firms attending a conference in Washington, D.C. were asked many of the same questions to see what else could be gleaned. 

    The survey of the Brain Trust began with the money question, asking about their personal revenue production in 2021.  All of those who responded reported revenue gains of 20% to 100% over the preceding year.   

    Later, the Lex Mundi lawyers were asked how their firms were doing with revenue.  Also very well.  None reported a decline, and only a handful reported flat revenue.  The substantial majority reported that their firms’ top lines were up, many of them substantially so. 

    They are not alone among law firms in 2021.  All the major organizations that examine law firm revenue reported it was up substantially across the board.  According to American Lawyer, there were “significant gains in key financial metrics as clients leaned on their lawyers for counsel.” And, American Lawyer added, “Firms grew revenue by an average of 5.9%, a remarkable result in an unprecedented year.”  Wells Fargo reported that more than 90% of the 120 law firms surveyed reported an increase in revenue.  The bank added that law-firm revenue was up 14%, even more among Top 50 firms.

    Parenthetically, it’s hard to imagine why law firms should be thinking about sales right now.  With starting associate salaries topping $200,000 even at midsized firms, and associate spot bonuses of up to $150,000, the phrase “Value for the dollar” is in cold storage.  Things are great for law firms.  Why think about sales?  Why change?  Well, here’s one reason:  Whatever is causing today’s law firm revenue growth and profit is not permanent.  When the field of play changes again, as it will, firms that have institutionalized sales will stay on top, and those who are passively riding the wave will recede with the ebb tide. 

    The survey revealed that while some of the historic key tools in the sales arsenal – conferences, events, client CLE, sales meetings in client offices, and so on – have disappeared, not surprisingly, substitutions were quickly and effectively put into play.   

    Let’s go through the list, starting with the obvious collaborative platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, RingCentral, WebEx, and others.  All respondents use them, and, it would seem, hate them during the times that they are not loving them.  In any event, no one can do without them. It is true that collaborative platforms have caused the loss of some of the intimacies of live meetings, but they have dramatically increased efficiency and expanded geographic sales territories.  They allowed sales professionals and buyers alike, unintentionally most of the time, to be more vulnerable and human and to introduce clients to home offices, dogs and cats, kids, significant others, and personal foibles. 

    Here are some of the creative ways the sales professionals have used collaborative platforms during the pandemic:

    • Client and prospective-client meetings
    • User-group summits with clients as the “stars”
    • At-home virtual dinners
    • Virtual cooking courses
    • Virtual cocktail mixing events
    • Virtual happy hours

    The Brain Trust also reported other technologies that they deployed more aggressively: 

    • E-mail
    • Social media (including more-obscure ones)
    • Social media direct messaging
    • Mobile phone
    • Facetime
    • WhatsApp
    • Text
    • Phone calls

    And they dusted off some techniques from the analog era – you know, the 1990s:

    • USPS Mail (which allowed collection of client home addresses)
    • Special-Day Cards
    • Delivery Services 
      • Swag
      • Large white-paper or promotional documents
      • Food and beverage
    • Handwritten Notes
    • And, even though traditional person-to-person contact was put on hold, the surveyed sales professionals still found responsible ways to get together in person: 

      • Golf
      • Socially distant lunches and dinners
      • Dog walks
      • Bag lunches in art museum outdoor spaces
      • Outdoor walks over lunch with clients or prospective clients

      Although all these techniques are useful and represent some new twists, none are truly extraordinary and epoch-making.  Without doubt, all law firms undertook similar tactics. 

      The Lex Mundi crowd was asked to add to the Brain Trust’s list of COVID-necessitated sales techniques.  Here’s what they reported: 

      • AI
      • Videoconference Quizzes
      • Virtual road shows
      • Virtual CLE for clients
      • Virtual client feedback Interviews
      • Curated care packages for televised events such as sports championships or the Academy Awards
      • Twitter Spaces
      • Online Follow-Me Ads
      • Home-schooling resources for clients

      Again, these are creative but not groundbreaking techniques.  So, what are we to make of this?  If no truly revolutionary sales techniques and technologies have emerged in the age of COVID, and if all competitors have access to and are deploying the same bag of tricks, how does any one of them get ahead?  We’ll cover this in our next installment.

  • February 02, 2022 7:33 PM | Eva Booth

    By Silvia L. Coulter

    Steffan, a second-year equity partner in a global law firm, was working with us to up his business development game. When we began working with him, we were told the following:

    • He is working for two to three years in one of the firm’s overseas offices and has moved there with his family.
    • His practice leader is not very involved in day-to-day management and has to focus on his own business and clients.
    • Partners are required to hit a minimum of $3 million in new business annually
    • He is focused on building out the firm’s successful high-end hospitality practice globally
    • He has a solid $2 million dollar book of business
    • His goal was to increase his book, and to also at some point to lead his practice group
    • Like everyone else, the COVID lockdown prevented him from in-person networking with his new target prospects and clients
    • His network was amazing and he was great at keeping in touch; but doing so while in Europe for two years will be a challenge

    One of our sales coach consultants began to work with Steffan. Here is the sales strategy:

    • Organize his contacts and select those individuals to focus on for the next twelve to twenty-four months. These were individuals who could help his reach his goal of $3+ million, and those whose relationships he could leverage for introductions to others. Overall it was important for him to stay in touch with his existing U.S. and global clients while developing other contacts.
    • Take credit where credit is deserved. Have open discussions with other global partners he will have the opportunity to introduce new contacts to when mandates come in. Having discussions about how to divvy up origination credit before work is received is important.
    • Get off committees that are not furthering his career at the firm. If committee work does not translate to recognized billable time and path to continued success as an equity partner, think twice about the time it takes away from more productive hours that could be spent building a book of business and billing client work. The exception is committees that are of interest for potential future leaders: EC, or Comp specifically.
    • Prepare a sales forecast to stay focused on top pursuits. During busy times, it’s easy to forget about, or move to the side, business development priorities. But those opportunities ready to provide new revenue may only need a few more discussions to kick them over the goal post.

    Our coach initially worked with Stefan on a sales strategy to leverage his existing relationships and contacts for introductions to their contacts in Europe. At first, he was a bit apprehensive and pushed back a bit. With some encouragement, he gave it a go and was delighted and surprised at how well this strategy worked. His exact words, “I’m so over being apprehensive about this approach. I’ve met some great contacts!”

    By staying focused on leveraging existing contacts for introductions to others, Steffan continues to build new and strong relationships in his new jurisdiction. Like all sales strategies, staying connected to existing contacts is key.

  • January 04, 2022 2:30 PM | Eva Booth

    By Silvia L. Coulter

    Renita, a non-equity partner in a global firm, was working with us to up her business development game. When we began working with her, we were told the following:

    • She is working 80% and is taking care of her an elderly parent and two high schoolers
    • Her practice leader is not very flexible when it comes to making equity partners in the group. Partners are required to hit $X million in revenue prior to him recommending them for equity partner (no exceptions)
    • She is a diverse female partner
    • She has a solid $1 million dollar book of business
    • Her goal was to increase her book, and to also make equity partner
    • COVID lockdown prevented her from in-person networking with her target prospects and clients
    • Her network was amazing and she was great at keeping in touch

    We teamed up with Renita and got to work.

    One of our sales coach consultants began to work with Renita to help her:

    • Organize her contacts and select 50 individuals to focus on for the next twelve months. These were individuals who could help her reach her goal of $2 million
    • Take credit where credit is deserved. Have open discussions with other partners she is bringing in to meet with contacts for new business opportunities. She would receive at least 50% or more of the credit for any new business brought in through her efforts, regardless of who works on the matters
    • Check in with her practice leader regularly. Restate the goal of expecting to become an equity partner, and ask for feedback about progress in that direction—one needs to know where one is at in this process all year long
    • Get off committees that are not furthering her career at the firm. If committee work does not translate to recognized billable time and path to equity partnership, think twice about the time it takes away from more productive hours that could be spent building a book of business and billing client work
    • Prepare a sales forecast to stay focused on top pursuits. During busy times, it’s easy to forget about, or move to the side, business development priorities. But those opportunities ready to provide new revenue may only need a few more discussions to kick them over the goal post.

    Our coach worked with Renita to show her that her confidence as a lawyer needs to show through during the sales process. Clients want to work with confident and talented lawyers who they like. We pushed her a bit out of her “comfort zone” to connect with her contacts and to stay focused on how she could help them with their business goals. This is a stronger approach to take versus “pitching” one’s services.

    By staying focused on those specific steps it will take to close new business, dealing with the political side of the practice so there are no surprises internally, and bridging firm services to client goals Renita has taken her career to a whole new level and is heading into a blockbuster 2022.

  • January 04, 2022 2:06 PM | Eva Booth

    Happy New Year! By now, you’ve considered resolutions. You may have been brave enough to write them down. You may even have broken a few already. Whatever personal goals you might have in the new year, this article will help you enhance your professional development as a business advisor by focusing on Pricing tactics.

    Why Pricing? First, it is the final step in the sales process. Second, for all the hard work Business Development professionals invest in the sales funnel, no engagement letter is signed without an agreement on the price. Third, Pricing has been a hot topic, but the focus has been on determining price tags (i.e., Finance Dept.) rather than on winning the price (i.e., Business Development). So, how can Business Development professionals play a role when it comes to Pricing? Below are ten tips that will help you be a better advisor to your attorneys.

    10. Discount Wisely.
    You have heard this before, but it bears repeating: first, never discount; second, if you do, do not let your attorney fall into increments of five (e.g., 5%, 10%). The higher the discount, the lower the profit. You can help minimize the discount by helping focus the discussion on all the integers: for example, 3% is better than 5%, 7% is better than 10%. Also, the more granular the discount (e.g., 6.71%), the more buyers perceive thoughtfulness and honesty, greatly reducing a buyer’s desire to challenge the price.

    9. Make a Trade.
    Even the wisest of discounts is still a financial loss. The better tactic is to offer a discount only with a trade: if a buyer wants to get something (aka a discount), then you must get something in return. For the trade to be successful, an attorney must be forearmed with options. You can help assemble a menu of options to share with your attorney, such as a (higher) retainer, an automatic rate increase, or a shorter payment cycle. This is a great place to think outside the box.

    8. Build Fences.
    Law firms get into (financial) trouble when they do not properly communicate the amount of service for the proposed price. Before an engagement letter is even drafted, you should ensure your attorney has an accurate understanding of the requested/needed services (aka scope) which will ensure an accurate price. This business conversation should include staffing, availability, resources, timing, outcomes. It helps to keep in mind the adage: measure twice, cut once.

    7. Offer Options.
    Put simply: buyers need options. Studies show buyers have an aversion to a single option. That is one reason GCs consider several firms. When advising attorneys on pitches and proposals, you should help attorneys understand the need for your firm to offer at least two options; three is ideal (see next tip). For example, a firm can offer full rates and discount rates, or hourly rates and an AFA. As a bonus: if you do provide options, buyers are less likely to need a competitor’s offer.

    6. Offer More Options.
    The best tactic for options is the familiar framework, Good-Better-Best. It’s all around us: S-M-L meals, GM’s Chevy-Buick-Cadillac, ring’s Basic-Plus-Pro. You should work with your attorneys to understand the firm’s services and work toward developing three buckets of offerings. As a bonus: if your firm can create three versions of its services, it will minimize—if not solve—the issues in Tips 7-10.

    5. Prepare to Negotiate.
    Does your law firm put equal resources into holding its price as it does into determining its price? Sadly, no. Therefore, it falls to the Business Development professionals to prepare attorneys to negotiate the price. For starters, negotiation is both science and art. Scientifically, you must collaborate with the Finance team to understand how the firm sets its billable rates and creates any non-hourly fee arrangements. Artistically, you should work with attorneys on the basic strategy and tactics of negotiations. These internal efforts will prepare you for price negotiations (see next tip).

    4. Negotiate Wisely.
    Price negotiation in a nutshell: sellers want to sell at the highest price; buyers want to buy at the lowest price. In your preparation (#5), you have learned how low your firm can go*. The secret to success is knowing how high your buyer will go; this is known as Willingness-to-Pay (WTP). WTP helps you maximize your sale price—if you make the time to understand your buyer and her/his motivation—by challenging what the buyer wants to pay. (* Partners often reduce price to win work; knowing the "floor" helps preserve profitability.)

    3. Avoid Being a Commodity.
    The most dangerous label to have in a price negotiation is “commodity.” You lose all price control, and the buyer dictates your price. This happens when firms fail to connect their Pricing to their Business Development to their Marketing. You can help correct this many ways: some firms appear visually distinct; some firms emphasize individual talent; some firms highlight high-caliber client list; some firms tout public recognitions. As a bonus: firms that can rise above “commodity” enjoy less collections issues.

    2. Be Different.
    The best way to avoid negotiations (#4) or being a commodity (#3) is to be different. If water can be differentiated, your law firm can be. In fact, every day, your clients believe you are different: they choose to send work to your firm, not to your competitors. So, you should ask your clients why your firm is different. Then, discuss internally if you can add a difference, such as a new technology or new resource (e.g., LPM team). Once you understand your differences, work with your Marketing colleagues to create strong, differentiated messages across all marcom channels: it will help you improve your Pricing.

    1. Articulate Your Value.
    The single, most important tip to embrace in the new year: focus on value. Specifically, you need to focus on three areas: the attorney’s value, the firm’s value, and the buyer’s values. The internal values will help you create Value Propositions; the buyer’s values will help you understand motivation. When you can match Value Propositions with motivation, the price always goes up.

    By now, you understand there is much more to Pricing than numbers (i.e., determining price tags). Business Development professionals play a vital role in the success of a law firm’s Pricing (and Profitability) efforts. By embracing these Ten Pricing Tips, you can help your attorneys originate more profitable clients. Good luck with your professional (and personal) development in the new year!


    Patrick Johansen CPP is the Business Development Director at Lerner David IP, New Jersey’s largest intellectual property law firm. He can be reached at

  • December 01, 2021 9:19 AM | Eva Booth

    I’m not sure I know how to set up our sponsor exhibit booth anymore.  And don’t get me started about diminished skills at carrying on a fluid “small talk” conversation.  It’s so bad that yesterday, as I rehearsed my 30-second “elevator pitch” and stumbled over phrases that previously rolled off my tongue with hard-earned muscle memory, I timed myself at 56 seconds – umm, Houston, we definitely have a problem. 

    Heck, I’m so starved to get back to normalcy that I got a little tendinitis just from dragging my carryon luggage from my car up the driveway and into my parents’ house in Florida, where I just spent Thanksgiving. I’ve got all the signs and symptoms of a business developer who is woefully out-of-practice at personal engagement.  Zoom and GoToMeeting and the virtual conference platforms were cute for quick minute, but have you ever stuck around at the end of a virtual program?  You can practically hear every attendee click their mouses at the same time to “Leave the meeting.”  Engagement at any meaningful personal level was not happening.

    And I’ll admit it, I kind of gave up on it. I’m the guy who will sooner show off the best professional headshot I’ve ever taken in my life than turn on my live webcam.  I just don’t like the virtual meeting environment.  There is a certain energy that happens in a live room where people are talking to one another, and that energy just doesn’t exist (at least not in the same way) in a virtual meeting.  In interpersonal communications, that energy is more commonly referred to as “communications signals” – and without them, I’ve been like a fish out of water.

    But even as the Delta (and now Omicron variants of COVID) are rearing their ugly heads and threatening another winter surge, something remarkable has happened to snap me out of my doldrums.  The world has started to slowly open back up.  Not every corner, but a lot of them. Professional trade groups, industry groups, product and service expos – all the places guys like me congregate and scoop up new business leads – are starting to show signs of life again.

    Emboldened by this turn of fate, I decided maybe I could shake off even more rust and actually land speaker slot or a seat on a panel at one of my usual conference stops that just announced it was coming back…LIVE!  And wonder of wonders, I got picked.

    And panic set in. I’m about as far removed from polished at any of the business development skills I would need to exercise to pull this off.  After a few deep breaths, I reassured my subconscious that I’ve got this.  Yes, I’ve been a little rusty, but funny thing about time…you can use it to practice and rehearse and get better.  And the speaking gig itself?  Come on!  I was a teacher for 7 years and I’ve got an undergraduate degree in musical theatre performance.  I may not be signing at this conference, but as an actor/performer, the showmanship needed to dazzle an audience at a trade conference is in my blood.  And this conference will be the perfect opportunity for me to re-brand yourself as a subject matter expert, engage with some industry cohorts, and draw some attention to me and my firm, highlighting both as go-to resources for the topic of my program.

    Of course, none of that will matter if I don’t have  a plan to capitalize on this opportunity.  The Pre-COVID days of my firm barely batting an eyelash at conference and tradeshow expenses are long gone.  These days, there’s not only an expectation that I’m going to derive some credible, measurable ROI from this event, but I’m going to execute this event with a plan to do exactly that. In the old days, maybe the exposure for branding and profile awareness was enough, but in this economy, every penny spent needs to derive value -- and in today's results-driven environment, every dollar spent on that trade association conference is going to be measured against every dollar generated by new business cultivated from that conference. So, unless I plan to take some additional steps aimed at squeezing every ounce of return on my investment of time and my firm's financial investment in sending me (and probably sponsoring or advertising in the program), then I might as well not even bother speaking at all.

    Over the course of my 25+ year career, I’ve picked up a few tricks and tactics that I regularly rely on to help lay the groundwork for business development in advance of a speaking engagement – whether it’s at a big tradeshow or conference, or a seminar for the local Bar Association’s CLE Committee. And now, I’m sharing them with you.

    NOTE: It’s important to understand and stay cognizant of the fact that we are still VERY  MUCH in the throes of a pandemic.  Some experts may think we’re nearing the endemic stage, but at the sluggish pace we’re getting our herds immunized with vaccines, getting TOTALLY back to normal is nowhere near the horizon.  For that reason, I urge you to consider these large public gatherings carefully. If you know the crowds, the usual suspects at each one, make a value determination and do what’s best for your health and your family’s health.  No amount of business development success is worth potentially losing your life over. End. Of. Story.

    *shooting star* “The More You Know!”

    OK, enough of the “Very Special Blossom” PSA about COVID and back to the tactics and strategies I use to help set myself up for stronger lead generation and more qualified leads via my speaking engagements.

    1. Get the Attendee List In Advance

    If you're speaking, you may be able to request this from your conference contact. If you're also a sponsor, this should be a given benefit in your sponsorship contract, and if it's not, tell your marketing and BD team to renegotiate the sponsorship. I have haggled with sponsorship managers at trade associations to barter less significant "sponsor benefits" like swag in the conference bag or an advertisement in the program to get the attendee list in advance. In fact, I believe you can do without just about any other "sponsor benefit" if you can trade them all away to get the list.

    Why is this list so important? Besides being a goldmine of potential leads, it's also the first step of qualifying new business opportunities. You know everyone on that list is planning to be at the conference, so they should be on your radar as target clients for this conference.

    Great, so that means I should send a mass email to the list alerting them about my program at the conference? Yes and No. Certainly a blind message wouldn't hurt, but you really need to spend a few minutes segmenting the attendee list first and further qualify this list of leads:

    Take out anyone who's a competitor. No sense giving them any potential competitive advantage by telling them you're speaking.

    Segregate any non-competitor "service providers" on the list. I wouldn't necessarily blast to them either, but I would spend a little time investigating who they are. Some of them could be valuable referral sources.

    From the remaining list, identify those contacts who are the most likely to be decision makers. These are the people you MOST want in the room for your presentation. It's not that everyone else is negligible, but you should be aware of the demographics of the conference and who your real target clients are.  Time is money, and you don’t want to waste it pitching to the Office Assistant, rather than the Manager of Director.

    Your message to the list needs to be compelling. Give them a reason to come to your presentation. A REAL reason. Be creative, but don't oversell.

    Which message would you be more likely to respond to?

    EXAMPLE A: Hi Jim - just wanted to reach out and let you know that I'm presenting next Tuesday at the Conference. My topic will be "X, Y, and Z." I really think you'd get something out of it and hope to see you there!


    EXAMPLE B: Hi Jim - What would you say if I told you I have found a way for your company to save as much as $100,000 per year in compliance costs. I'll explain how and I'll share some other secrets to avoiding enforcement actions when I present "X, Y, and Z" at the Conference next Tuesday. If you're free, perhaps we can do a deeper diver over coffee, lunch, or dinner after the presentation. Here's my contact information...


    The first example offers nothing of compelling value, but the second example not only grabs my attention (who wouldn't want to save $100K per year), but it also describes some other learning outcomes -- what is your audience getting out of the presentation. Don't give away the farm, but a few details to whet the appetite can be a difference maker.

    The point, after all, is to help encourage attendees to come to your presentation so that you have an opportunity to brand yourself and your firm as subject matter experts worthy of their consideration.

    The second example also opens the door to follow-up, and demonstrates to your target audience that you're interested in helping them and you're willing to put in the time to get to know them and their business. This is how relationships that turn into lucrative business are born.

    2. Craft Your Materials Smartly and Carefully

    If there is one part of speaking engagement marketing that I've seen repeatedly abused or wasted, it's in the presentation materials. The professionals I've worked with either put too much into the materials, or not enough. Worse yet, some don't even care about leveraging the branding opportunity by effectively utilizing their firm's own presentation templates.

    How much content is enough? I once worked with an attorney who was presenting for 45 minutes and insisted on a presentation with 130 slides. That allows for roughly 20 seconds for every slide -- and you know every slide was packed from header to footer with legalese, citations, and paragraphs of excerpts from the statute. And of course, he didn't get through it all.

    I've always coached that a comfortable presentation pace is about 1-2 minutes per slide. This keeps the slides changing frequently enough that people don't glaze over, and it will help you streamline how much content you're prepared to share.

    But pace isn't the only tip to consider when building your materials...

    First of all, attorneys need to STOP quoting the statute verbatim (this is a problem ALL attorneys have who give presentations). Unless the audience is full of ABA members, it's not only unnecessary, it may actually damage the clarity of your message.

    Instead, give the audience the name and maybe the statute number, and if you must include an excerpt, only include specific phrases. The audience can look up the substance of the statute on their own, and if they can't, they'll pick up the phone and call you for help. But they'll have no reason to do either if you put the entire statute on a slide in your presentation.

    Second, limit your slide content to concepts and ideas. The substance should come from what you say about these concepts and ideas during the presentation. As the late, great composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim (may he rest in peace) once wrote, "let it come from you, then it will be true." You don't need to say everything on the slide, and if you do, people are going to be compelled to read it while you're speaking.  Why is that a problem, you ask? Because your audience should be paying attention to you when you're speaking, not reading along. Give yourself a chance to shine as a subject matter expert and hold a little back. Yes, there are times when an issue is important enough that you'll want to get specific in your materials, but the vast majority of the time, less is more.

    Lastly - and this one is important, because it lays the foundation for my last tip about maximizing business development leads - if you're going to build a handout based on your presentation, you don't need to include the kitchen sink. Save it for your follow-up.

    As an example, I used to work with a Construction Litigator in Chicago who is famous for his 50-State Survey of the Occurrence Issue, which is a substantive area of insurance law related to whether a construction defect effectively constitutes an "occurrence" under the commercial general liability (CGL) policies that typically govern construction projects. In his handout materials, he would include his presentation, his bio, some marketing materials about the practice, and a full copy of his 50-state survey - all told, it's at least an inch thick spiral bound booklet. Do you have room for something that bulky in your carryon? Yeah, me neither.

    One year, I asked him how often he hears from people who saw his presentation, and he admitted only a handful of people who had questions had reached out that year. So, I suggested a radical idea that required some serious back-and-forth before he would agree

    “DO NOT include the 50-state survey in the materials,” I told him.  Reference it in the presentation and talk about how awesome the survey is, but don't give it away. Instead, I encouraged him to offer to send the survey to anyone who was interested - free of charge. Sure enough, he brought back about 20 business cards the next time he did the presentation, and we used the delivery of the survey as the perfect business development follow-up to a prospect who essentially self-selected as a qualified lead. By the way, this litigator never argued with me again.

    And After the Presentation Is Over...

    Tell me if this sounds like you: You just finished your big presentation at the conference. Without missing a beat, you drop the slide remote from one hand while grabbing your shoulder bag with the other. You immediately head for the door because your stuff is waiting at the front desk and you booked that flight that's only an hour and a half after the end of your presentation. No time for long goodbyes. Or any, really.

    The problem with that scenario - and yes, it does happen - is that it completely ignores a valuable opportunity to network with your attendees after the presentation.

    I've presented at large conferences about a dozen or so times, and every single time, at least 2-3 people came up to me afterward to either express their gratitude for the presentation and the materials, or to ask follow-up questions.

    These are people who are seeking you out and you've completely ignored them. I don't care if you were the second coming of Ronald Reagan at the podium that day, if you don't make time for folks after the presentation, you're sending the signal that their individual reactions, feedback, and questions are meaningless to you.

    But let's assume, instead, you made the time to mingle and network. In fact, you referenced a white paper related to your topic, which you wrote and have offered to send to anyone who brings you a business card. Instead of 2-3 people, you're surrounded by a throng of 10-15 or 20. You collect the business cards, greet your fans, answer a few questions and head out. Back at the office, you've got your 20 business cards. What do you do next?

    [ side note: I feel like Sam McKenna right now…asking these rhetorical questions about business development strategy ]

    If you said "send them the white paper," you're only half right. The white paper was the excuse you needed to collect the cards. The real purpose for the outreach is to keep the conversation going and start developing the kind of business relationship that’s built on mutual trust and respect for subject matter expertise, and more importantly, that eventually leads to new business.

    So what goes into this follow-up communication? You can open with a cordial hello, thank them for coming to your presentation, talk about the white paper, reinforce why the white paper is useful, and maybe mention your next speaking engagement or include a link to your latest blog post on a similar or related topic. All of that is good marketing, and you probably already knew that. But here are a few suggestions, and one caution, that you may not have considered:

    Keep the conversation going by asking open ended questions in your communication. Try to learn more about the attendee, and their role in addressing the issue in question. These tidbits of information may come in a trickle, but they are all important points to know in order to begin building a relationship.

    If there was anything about your original interaction with the attendee that stands out - whether it was something they said, did, wore, etc., try to make reference to it in a meaningful way. This is another piece of the relationship building, because it helps demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in them.

    Never - and I mean NEVER - close by saying "if you have any questions, let me know." Instead, offer to schedule a follow-up phone call or meeting to specifically answer any questions they may have. They may not have any questions, but between the time you book the meeting and the meeting itself, you may have developed some additional content worth sharing, or there may be a breaking development in case law. Again, you're trying to keep the conversation going. If you leave it to them to reach out if they have any questions, more often than not, they're never going to reach out to you.

    There are times when a speaking engagement leads immediately to work, and that's money in the bank. I worked with an attorney in South Bend, Indiana - another Construction Litigator - who did a program for development projects. It was a soup-to-nuts half-day that included some content around labor & employment law, some construction litigation, and a financing piece. We were careful to fill the room with a good mix of existing clients and high-value new business targets. By the end of the afternoon, we signed up four new engagements, including two brand new clients.  Sometimes, lightning will strike.  And sometimes, you just get thunder.

    Don't kid yourself, though. In this instance, signing up four new matters was probably the result of more fluke than strategy. But with diligence, grit, and some technical know-how, anyone can turn a simple speaking engagement at your favorite trade association conference into an effective and (hopefully) lucrative pipeline for generating qualified business development leads.

      Jim Jarrell is the Director of Marketing & Business Development for the law firm of McCarthy Lebit Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA in Cleveland, OH and has enjoyed a career spanning more than two decades helping professional services firms, nearly half of it spent leading the strategic marketing and business development programs for several law firms. In all his work, Jim focuses on achieving goals and never assumes that “the way we’ve always done it” is necessarily the best way. Stints in leadership roles with two AmLaw 100 firms and managerial experience with a handful of smaller regional firms and boutiques have helped shape Jim’s national reputation as a leader in the field. As a LSSO-Certified Business Development Coach, Jim has developed the kind of tenacity and gravitas required to effectively steer attorneys at all levels and tenures in their careers, from junior associates to the senior-most rainmakers. In addition to his coaching skillset, Jim has developed and conducted formal training programs on a variety of other marketing, communications, and business development topics - many that have been accepted and approved for continuing legal education (CLE) credits – with topics that range from business development planning to cross-selling strategies, personal branding, social media best practices, and delivering the perfect elevator pitch.

  • November 22, 2021 1:38 PM | Deleted user

    Ballard Spahr LLP seeks a dynamic and successful marketing and business development professional to join the Ballard Spahr team as a Proposal Specialist supporting the firm’s efforts to respond to request for proposals within the guidelines of firm strategy, business development, and client relationship management goals. 


  • November 22, 2021 1:30 PM | Deleted user

    The Client Development Manager is a leader who possesses a client-focused mentality, is highly service oriented, and has the ability to guide, direct and advise lawyers in a sophisticated marketing and business development environment.   READ MORE

  • November 17, 2021 3:40 PM | Deleted user

    As part of a small, hands-on collaborative team, this position is responsible for project management and delivery of events and programs that highlight and reinforce the Ballard brand.  This position offers a hybrid work schedule and can be located in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New York, New Jersey or Delaware.  


  • November 12, 2021 11:05 AM | Deleted user

    Boston, MA, November 10, 2021 - The Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) and Hellerman Communications today announce the winners of the 2021 Sales & Service Awards, which recognizes sales, business development, and marketing professionals who spearheaded initiatives contributing to law firm revenue growth in 2020. This year’s winners include:

    Sales Team of the Year: Kean Miller LLP

    The team at Kean Miller creates a business development culture by using a multidisciplinary approach of business operations, a unique approach in our industry.  The Marketing and Business Development Team at Kean Miller LLP consists of Brian Klaslo (Director of Business Development), Nathan Smith (Texas Marketing and BD Manager), Shannon Barilleau (Marketing Manager), Kodi Wilson (Marketing Manager), and Zoe Venezia (Marketing Coordinator). 

    Steve Boutwell, Chief Operating Officer, is one of a handful of CMOs to cross over into operational leadership roles in a large law firm. Steve took on the COO role at 170-attorney Kean Miller four years ago after serving as CM&BDO for almost 15 years. Because of his background and experience in the legal industry, and in his firm, Kean Miller relies on Steve for a wide variety of forward-thinking initiatives, including the firm’s newly adopted strategic plan. He “rides shotgun” with his Managing Partner, providing tactical support for the Management Committee, Compensation Committee, Practice Group Leaders, and the firm’s Management Team, which includes a CFO, CIO, CHRO, GC, and Chief Facilities and Information Governance Officer. 

    Honorable Mention: Litchfield Cavo LLP

    An Honorable Mention is being awarded to Litchfield Cavo LLP. Under the direction of Donna Baker, Business Development, Marketing & Communications, marketing protocols were set in place, table nominations were completed, editorial style guides were developed, new hire biographies and photography were streamlined to match the new branding, language and tone were aligned and business grew. By partnering with one other attorney in a the newest of Litchfield Cavo's 22 offices, Donna pitched a new specialty practice area that began to take off--and then Covid-19 stopped us in our tracks, but only temporarily. From this one new practice line, multiple cross selling opportunities arise and will take shape once the pandemic eases and face-to-face interaction resumes. Our law firm's Marketing team is highly skilled and very responsive, making the process of business development easier for us as partners, and their work product, including RFP responses, is elegant in appearance and creative in content.

    Rising Star: Michael Helmicki, Client Development Executive, DLA Piper

    In addition to driving significant revenue and new multi-million-dollar client relationships to the Firm, Michael Helmicki (“Mick”) led the Firm’s strategy and execution for supporting clients and prospects with matters related to Federal Stimulus programs that were a central consideration for many businesses during COVID. Following a surge in requests for information and guidance on these programs, Mick quickly organized a cross-functional team of DLA attorneys to dissect an ever-changing landscape of rules and guidance to inform clients and prospects on federal stimulus programs. In several instances, these programs were a critical lifeline in supporting ongoing operations. In addition to driving effective communications, including client alerts, Mick organized and participated in a series of webinars to educate clients and prospects on key rules and regulations, including a webinar that registered 2,333 attendees, a Firm record. In addition to successfully driving 200%+ YoY growth in fee billed revenue in key accounts, Mick became the first billable Client Development Executive and actively worked with DLA attorneys on matters relating to Federal Stimulus Programs; drafted multiple client presentations and alerts, built an internal knowledge repository and supported partners/clients across multiple offices in the Firm. Mick stepped up and played a critical role in getting many clients through the COVID-19 pandemic. People remember how you treat them in a time of need and Mick played a critical role in solidifying the long-term relationships with many of the firms’ clients.

    Sales Executive of the Year: Brook Radford, Director of Marketing, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

    While all others in the legal industry shifted to doing low-quality video with Zoom during the pandemic, Brook Radford, Director of Marketing at Katten, decided to take a different approach. Using a smartphone app (Remote Video Capture), Brook was able to shoot 4k quality video of her partners, remotely, while retaining the professional video production services of producer and director so the partners looked and sounded as good as they do on camera as they do in person. The first starter project was for a virtual trade show that had the firm’s Dallas managing partner giving an overview of their expanding capabilities of the Dallas office and firmwide presence in an industry sector. From that point forward, Brook and Katten’s partners leveraged remote video capture to produce high-quality video that properly reflected the stature of her law firm and the partners. With the pandemic keeping everyone working at home and International Women’s Day approaching, Brooke leveraged Remote Video Capture to the Women’s Leadership Forum to create a promotional video that featured a half-dozen women at her firm. The end result enabled Katten to produce a high-quality video montage that is reflective of Katten‘s leadership position in supporting women and their Firm’s professional brand. The video was highly successful and got review reviews from both internal and external stake holders. Here is a link to the video -

    Two Honorable Mentions are being awarded to Ashley Tenney, Practice Director, Dentons and Mark Levin, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Marshall Gerstein & Borun.

    Honorable Mention (Large Firm): Ashley Tenney, Practice Director, Dentons

    As a Practice Director at Dentons, Ashley collaborates closely with firm leadership and business services peers to ensure success in practice operations and strategic initiatives, including staffing, budgeting, recruiting, lateral and client onboarding and integration, training and legal project management. Ashley partners with legal operations teams and utilize technology to promote efficiency in the day-to-day operations as well as leverage process improvement initiatives to the benefit of the Firm. She is responsible for the Corporate, Real Estate, Restructuring and Venture Technology practice groups. She is also the director of our COVID-19 Pandemic Client Special Situations Team, working with three co-chairs and more than two dozen partners to help guide clients through the evolving legal and business challenges. A motivated and innovative self-starter, she proactively works with lawyers and legal services professionals to develop and maintain relationships


    Honorable Mention (Small Firm): Mark Levin, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer,  Marshall Gerstein & Borun

    Mark has established himself as a marketing leader in the legal industry in both the legal and corporate arenas.  In the past three years at Marshall Gerstein — half of which has been during the pandemic — Mark has grown by 125% the number of requests for proposals from innovators seeking intellectual property advice. He also introduced enhanced client service technologies and helped the firm nurture existing client relationships. Under Mark’s guidance, the firm has extended its internal social justice commitments to a broader audience. Mark also serves as an LSSO Editorial Board Member.

    The following professionals served on the judge’s panel to select these award winners:

    David Bowerman, Deloitte
    Ron Gendron, Workday
    John Hellerman, Hellerman Communications
    Samantha McKenna, #samsales Consulting

    About Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO):

    LSSO delivers the education and resources that lawyers and those who work with them need to improve their sales and client service skills with exclusive research, and tools and information for members only. LSSO supplies the legal marketplace with innovative, groundbreaking events and resources, including the annual LSSO RainDance Global Sales Summit and LSSO's Coaching Certification Programs. Follow LSSO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    About Hellerman Communications:

    Hellerman Communications is an award-winning corporate communications agency that specializes in positioning professionals to win business and navigate crises. With expertise in strategic marketing & content development, crisis & litigation communications, and social influencer & stakeholder relations, we help the world’s most elite professionals, and their firms build and protect their most lucrative relationships. Connect with Hellerman Communications by email or on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.


  • November 10, 2021 4:31 PM | Deleted user

    Fenwick is seeking a Communications Assistant that will be responsible for supporting numerous strategic projects and initiatives furthering our external and internal communication goals.  This position can be based in any of our U.S. offices.  READ MORE

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