Welcome to the Section of Litigation’s Business Development page—your source for invaluable and practical information about the most important legal business development tips and trends from well-respected and successful litigators. The Section is dedicated to helping litigators effectively manage the business side of their legal practice with information that will support efforts to attract and retain clients and grow your business. New resources will be added monthly and are culled from all our publications and brought to you in one place, so be sure to check this page on a regular basis.
It is our goal to help lawyers be better lawyers, inside and outside the courtroom!
Apply the “80/20 Rule” with New Clients
A Video with Clark Cooper
When you have a prospective client, it’s very important to meet in-person with that client. At the meeting, apply the 80/20 rule where you do 80 percent of the listening and 20 percent of the talking. This is key to building a new relationship with a client
Handwrite Notes to Clients for a Personal Touch
A Video with Pierce Campbell
Personally respond to clients and referral sources as often as possible. Handwritten notes and newspaper clippings that would be of interest to the person are key.
Hold Yourself Accountable for Following Up
A Video with Laura Hanson
Holding yourself accountable for things you say you want to do in business development is just as important as having a plan in the first place. Following an interaction with a potential new client, be sure to remind yourself to follow up. Learn the many ways to be accountable and follow up
A Video with Stephanie McCoy Loquvam
You can build expertise over the course of your career, but you can be credible every day. You can be credible by doing what you say you’re going to do and to doing it well. Being credible everyday will help you generate business.
Improve Communication Skills through Networking
A Video with Dennis Drasco
Learning to be a rainmaker requires fundamental skills. Target groups and be yourself. If you build relationships that turn to friendships through in-person meetings, you can create new business.
Ask for the Business
A Video with Paula Hinton
Before you leave an in-person meeting, don’t forget to ask for the business. It’s the one essential thing you should not forget to do
Maintain Business Development with Three Goals per Week
A Video with Nan Joesten
Think about the three things you want to do on a weekly basis to improve your business development plan. At the beginning of the week, swap these three things with a trusted colleague who is also interested in improving her business development. Then, touch base with that colleague at the end of the week to see how you both did. Specific, concrete, action items in a short amount of time as well as holding yourself accountable for them by telling someone else helps you meet your weekly goal.
Business Development Begins Inside Your Firm
A Video with Hon. Tiffany M. Williams
Business development has an internal and external factor. First, get to know the partners that you are working with including partners in your practice group as well as other practice groups for opportunities to cross market inside your firm. After your partners get to know you, you can begin to build external relationships keeping in mind that contacts who do not require legal services at the time may look to you for their legal services needs down the road.
Raise the Bar in Business Through Bar Associations
A Video Tip with Tommy Wells
In this business development video tip, learn to establish new business and referrals through getting involved in bar association work–local bar, state bar, and the ABA. The people you get to know through networking at these bar associations may later be in a position to refer your business.
Developing New Business in Two Steps
A Video with Chauntis Jenkins
Section of Litigation leader Chauntis Jenkins provides a two-step method for creating new contacts. First, think of business development as building a professional relationship. Get to know a potential client. Second, finesse your follow-up—follow-up is extremely important. Provide value to a potential client in your follow-up to prove you are a reliable contact.
Give Back, Get More
A Video with Nancy Scott Degan
Litigators get more than they give when they volunteer. Expand your network of contacts by volunteering.
A Resume Investment
A Video with Ron Marmer
Take a look at how you can develop your resume in four years’ time. Take advantage of publishing and subcommittee leadership opportunities through associations. The ABA Section of Litigation has many just for you.
Tips for Effective Marketing and Networking
By Emily J. Kirk
Learn how to effectively market yourself as an attorney without a large marketing budget.
Blogging and Social Media - Increasing Visibility and Enhancing Practice Expertise
Roundtable by Jim Beck, Courtney Ward-Reichard, and Eric Hudson
They will provide suggestions and guidance related to the time necessary for the successful use of blogging and social media, the need for subject matter focus, technical considerations for supporting your blogging and social media, the ethical considerations associated with blogs and social media and how to handle them, as well as general practices for managing this aspect of your practice.
To Succeed at Business Development and Client Relationships, Female and Minority Attorneys Face Challenges and Opportunities
By Concepcion Montoya and Rick McNeil
Despite the increased efforts in diversity and retention of diverse attorneys, real challenges remain in the development and retention of female and minority attorneys.
The Power of Partnering
By Stephanie A. Scharf, N. Nate Saint Victor, and Antonio C. Castro
Learn guidelines for diverse collaborations among NAMWOLF law firms and majority law firms.
Social Media Marketing: A Woman Advocate's Perspective
By Courtney Ward-Reichard
Creating digital connections on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook is a great way to market your practice anytime, anywhere.
Marketing Tips for Young Women Attorneys: Your Partners and Colleagues Are Clients, Too
By Tiffany deGruy and Anna M. Manasco
Want those premium assignments, more responsibility, and coveted marketing opportunities? Establish yourself as a "go-to" associate by forming mentoring relationships, fostering peer relationships, volunteering, developing a support system, and maintaining confidence in yourself.
Tips for Generating Business in Untapped Markets
By Jane I. Milas
To obtain business from an industry traditionally dominated by male litigators, understand your value, get to know the decision makers who hire legal counsel by joining and participating in industry groups, and market yourself to existing clients and other lawyers.
Interview: Business Development Advice for Lawyers
By Steve Fretzin
The best fishers know where to fish.
Success and Business Development Tips for Young Attorneys
By Christina Liu
A recent panel offers insight into how young lawyers can strategically enhance their profiles, both internally and externally.
How Responding to RFPs Fits Within Your Business Development Plan
By Carmelite M. Bertaut and Cheryl A. LeeVan
The receipt of a Request for Proposal (RFP) adds a level of stress and anxiety to our already busy workdays. But it doesn’t have to trigger that reaction.
Ask a Mentor: How Can a Young Associate Become Involved in a Firm's Business-Development Initiatives?
By Theodore Baum
It is vital for a young associate to have a real mentor in the law firm.
Legal Business Development for a Changing Profession
By Paula Black
Don't get left behind.
Expanding Your Network
Sound Advice by Mitzi Shannon
Kemp Smith LLP
This Sound Advice provides a list of tips and ways that can be used to expand your network (8:11 min)
Providing Superior Representation as Local Counsel
Sound Advice by Neville H. Boschert
A discussion of how local counsel's relationship with national counsel and the client can affect local counsel's ability to provide superior representation.
Marketing Tips to Using Social Media to Develop Business and Promote Practice Areas
Sound Advice by Courtney Ward-Reichard
How to create an effective and ethical profile and how to connect to potential clients and referral sources.
Sound Advice by Josh Jones
Securities Litigation Committee co-chair Josh Jones discusses the idea of the Eternal Recurrence and how it can help young lawyers appreciate and take control of their career.