I learned to practice law and develop business by watching and listening to more senior lawyers and figuring out what parts of each person’s approach would fit me best. I have been part of panels of senior partners talking to associates about client development. I have also been the moderator of those panels. I am always fascinated by the stories.

Some partners claim to have never done client development. Having listened to them, they were always doing client development. It was just part of who they are.

If you are in a medium or larger law firm, consider getting a group of partners in your firm to share their experiences and successes with your young lawyers.

  • First have them list their Top Five client development actions, and/or list the organizations they belong to that they have found most beneficial in building their careers.
  • Second ask for a short synopsis of their basic philosophy of client development and some practical ways they apply that philosophy on a daily basis.
  • Finally, have them tell their story. How did they get to where they are in their career now? What was it like when they first started? What do they know now they wish they had known when they were associates? What would they do different if they had it to do all over again?

When your partners share their experiences, remind them of this quote about teachers:

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. William Arthur Ward

I hope you will invite me to this gathering. I know I will enjoy hearing your senior partners’ ideas and stories.