December 17, 2013 Articles

Building a Practice Through Volunteering

By McClain E. Bryant

Business development is not something that is taught well, if it is taught at all. There were no courses on business development at my law school. Sometimes it seems as if senior attorneys do not really want you to know how to bring in clients, or their attitude is that either you have it or you do not. What I have been told or read is that you should network, self-study, seek opportunities to write and speak, seek leadership positions on boards, cross-market, work relationships with mentors so you will inherit their clients, and not be afraid to make the hard ask. Sounds easy enough, right?

Every lawyer is doing some combination of these, yet the power of a book of business remains in the hands of the few. What is the trick, really? How do these seemingly easy and formulaic tasks lead to true job security at a law firm? I have not gotten there, but I finally feel, six years into my career, as if I am on the right path.

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