As a new associate, you likely rely on partners and other colleagues to send clients and matters to you. Focus on how you can generate more business from within your firm. Find ways to make your mark and extend your reach internally. Make an effort to develop personal and mutually rewarding relationships with supervising lawyers, peers, support staff and mentors.
- Know your firm. To help serve others' clients and provide added value, increase your knowledge of the firm. What specific clients does the firm serve, and for what service needs? When and how did these clients retain the firm, and what types of industries or individuals do clients themselves represent? Also find out what areas of expertise the firm's lawyers have and want to promote. Stay informed about solutions the lawyers have created for clients. Help promote them to others inside and outside of the firm.
- Treat everyone like a referral source. Each person in your firm can help or hinder your ability to generate business. From support staff to partners, show an interest in others' skills, priorities and needs. Let them know what type of work and clients you seek. Reciprocate by thinking about opportunities to benefit others in their endeavors.
- Treat partners like clients. Build a reputation for being prompt, reliable and responsive. Meet deadlines. Organize work into priorities and time frames by thinking ahead and mapping out support needs. Seek feedback on your work product and find out how the external client felt about the service you delivered.
- Show interest in marketing initiatives. Talk to partners and others about the firm's strategic goals and marketing priorities and initiatives. Find ways to get involved and offer to help others do research on prospective clients, draft articles or prepare for seminars.
- Build your visibility. Once you know what others are trying to promote through their marketing efforts, you are better able to look for opportunities for them. Communicate about key developments and opportunities through e-mails or memos, concisely summarizing the legal issue and the benefit to the client. Identify important committees in the firm or special task forces, and learn how you can get involved.
By showing partners that you're interested in firm matters and client development, you demonstrate appreciation for the firm's business health, and that you're invested in its long-term success. n
Checklist: How to Market Internally
- Nurture relationships when working with or for other lawyers. Don't just drop your work on their desks and run. Stick around and make a personal connection.
- Be a resource for others in the firm. Put them in touch with contacts you have that might help them personally or professionally.
- Show your interest in the firm's business development efforts. Learn who is pitching to prospective clients and try to invite yourself on the team, or at least find out how things went.
- Hone your marketing skills by taking advantage of resources in the areas of client communication, sales and presentation skills training. Identify successful rainmakers in the firm and ask them what strategies and approaches they've used.
- Look for networking and development opportunities for others in the firm and relay information on trends or events that might be of interest to them.
- Evaluate how others became successful and map out a path of activities that will help you develop your skills, earn respect and recognition, and gradually acquire a leadership role.
Susan Saltonstall Duncan ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is President of RainMaking Oasis, Inc., a marketing and management firm that provides planning, consulting and training tools to lawyers and law firms. She can be reached at (203) 318-0083.