I have always had a “Top 10 scary things I have heard law firm partners say about client development.” My number 10 has always been: “We just want our associates to do good work.” In other words, the last thing on earth we would want our associates to do would be to build relationships with clients and potential clients.

Think Like Lawyer.pngWhat is the problem with just having associates do good work? When brand new associates finish law school, generally the best that can be said is that they have been taught through the Socratic Method “to think like a lawyer.” They have not been taught what it is like to be a lawyer and certainly have not been taught to “think like a client.” Yet, everything we do as lawyers, even dull and boring document reviews, is being done for a client.

When I was growing up I played baseball every day during the summer. I played all the way through two years of college. I have not swung a baseball bat in 30 years or more. But,  even if I could not hit a ball in a batting cage today, I would not think about the technique of my swing.

On the other hand, I did not play golf growing up and I do not play often now. As a result, when I stand over a golf ball, I am thinking about all the things I need to do — technique.

Client development is the same way. The earlier your lawyers start learning and practicing client development skills, the earlier they will quit thinking about technique and client development skills will come natural to them.