LAWYER’S LIFE CYCLE—JUNIOR PARTNER STAGE
(Remain a junior partner, change firms, start a new firm, or become an aide-de-camp)
35-40+ years old
|Proficient in the craft.
Team building helps you get the work done.
Where does your work come from? Time to decide whether to focus on your own business development or whether to become a permanent second on your mentor’s team.
Goal is to become a journeyman lawyer.
“My client base is my power base.” vs. “The firm will take care of me.”
“If you’re out there, you’ll get your share.” – Bill Fenwick.
|Learn how to:
• Attract law business (position yourself so that business comes to you)
• Manage other lawyers
• Build your team (with excellent lawyers who need the work)
• Alternative: How to get along with your mentor
TIPS FOR THE JUNIOR PARTNER
1. Now is the time for a critical decision that will control the rest of your career (until you decide to change it): do I work only on business given to me by other lawyers in my organization or do I work on business from clients that I generate? Many lawyers spend their entire career working on matters generated by others in their organization.
2. No one will tell you that it’s in your best interest to develop an empire, and no one will pay your mortgage if the firm folds or a job change becomes necessary.
3. If you plan to become your own star, you must see yourself as a lead attorney before others see you that way. And that means attracting your own clients. All professionals balk at generating business, but how can your ideal clients find you if they don’t know you exist? Starting business development when you’re still being supported by firm business is easier than starting when you don’t have any business.
4. If you’re too busy at work to spend time on business development, are you working too hard to make any money?
5. Begin your business development by concentrating on the client missionaries you already have. Who are your client missionaries? They are clients who have returned to you with repeat business. Those clients are getting what they came to you for and will tell their friends, thus doing your marketing for you. Do their work first.
6. Would you like business referrals from your lawyer friends? Try asking them this question: “How can I know if someone I’m speaking with would be a good prospect for you?”
7. Read a book, take a class, talk to someone in your specialties who’s done it, get an advisor, set goals, but learn how to develop business. Identify your “ideal client.” There are many different ways to attract work; some will exactly fit your unique personality. Use your intuition to find those ways.
8. All developers of professional business work with a list. Develop your own list of 300 contacts with the potential to send business and keep in touch with your list. Look into whether current social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+) will assist here. When intuition strikes to contact someone, do it, even if you don’t know why. Jump on the opportunities that come your way.
9. Do you want to add thought leaders in your specialties to your list? Develop three key words that epitomize your specialty; sign up for daily Google Alerts for those key words; when an interesting comment appears in Google Alerts, send the commenter an email with a pertinent question or comment; start your connection and add that leader to your list.
10. Look for the opportunity to hire an outside lawyer responsible to you to handle a portion of one of your matters—you will learn things about client concerns (like how it feels when that lawyer arrives at a meeting with a junior associate in tow).