Why teach, mentor and coach law firm associates on client development?

On January 2, I received a really nice email from a managing partner of a firm where I coached and taught lawyers. His email may give a clue to the answer.

He wrote:

As I have frequently written, the earlier in their career lawyers learn and practice client development efforts, the greater the chances client development will become natural to them as they become law firm partners.

In 2017, client development has never been more complicated. Developing new business and expanding business with existing clients now is signifcantly more challenging than it was 25-30 years ago, and arguably just 10 years ago.

In those days, you could develop business by simply “doing good work,” getting a Martindale AV rating and being active in the Bar or community. There were significantly fewer lawyers and clients were local and loyal.

In 2017, the competition is greater than ever before. Many business clients are national or international. Clients no longer rely on just one firm. Clients’ expectations have increased, and because of the economy, clients expect more and expect to pay less for it. The time available for business development has decreased, while the choices on how to use that time has never been greater.

Clients say they have confidence in the senior partners with whom they work, but they either do not know or do not have confidence in the junior partners and associates.

Additionally, in most firms the senior partners have the lion’s share of the business for the firms. Those partners are generally between 55 and 65 and will be retiring in increasing numbers this year and over the next 10 years.


What is your firm doing to develop your next generation of rainmakers?