Have you and your colleagues ever brainstormed how to handle a particular client development situation?

When I am coaching lawyers, we frequently create scenarios and then discuss how best to handle a situation. Here’s a sample of case studies we have discussed.


A major manufacturer is planning to build an industrial plant in your area. You foresee there is a great opportunity for legal work in your practice.

  1. What would you do to go after that work?
  2. How would you learn more about the company?
  3. How would you use this information?


You have identified potential target clients. You have identified the potential client contact in each company. You would really like the opportunity to get in front of the client contacts and persuade them you and the firm can provide them what they need.

  1. What would you do?


The general counsel of potential client has called you. He has heard of you by a referral and read articles you have written. He wants to meet you at his office two days from now.

  1. Describe what you plan to do before the meeting? After the meeting?
  2. What do you think caused him to call you, rather than your competitors?
  3. What do you believe will be the most important factors in his decision of which lawyer to hire?
  4. Suppose at the end of the meeting he says: “Let me think about it” or “Let me talk to the President” How would you respond?


You learn that a classmate, with whom you have not spoken in over two years has just gone in-house with ABC company.

  1. How would you reconnect with the classmate?
  2. How can you reconnect in a way that doesn’t cause him/her to believe you only connected because of his/her new position?


You are invited to lunch by a college classmate. You learn she and three others have started their own business. You are not a corporate lawyer and the business is not in your field either. She reports her colleagues have an idea of who they want to hire to do the legal work. You would like for the firm to get the business.

  1. Describe what you would ask during the lunch.
  2. How would you end the lunch meeting?
  3. How would you follow up after the lunch


You have gotten your first assignment from a new client.

  1. What do you plan to do to make this a successful assignment and to build your relationship with the general counsel?
  2. How can you build trust with the new client?
  3. How can you build rapport with the new client representative?
  4. How would you make sure there are no surprises in your monthly billing?



The former chairman of a large company once said: “Some of the outside professionals I have used focus on adding value the whole time they are working with us; the others are in there aggressively trying to sell the next project, which is just irritating.”

  1. What is the difference?
  2. Describe some ways you can add value without appearing to be selling the next project?


You have completed your first assignment. The client has promptly paid the bill. It’s been a couple of months and you haven’t heard anything.

  1. What would you do now?


Your have completed your first assignment and sent out the last bill. It’s been over 90 days and the bill has not been paid.

  1. What would you do now?
  2. If the client complained about the amount of the last bill, what would you do?