I recently coached several senior associates and junior partners. They were eager to learn and anxious to become more valuable to clients. But,…

But, they thought they were too young and too inexperienced to attract clients their firm would accept. They asked:  

How can I market in a large firm that will only charge premium rates when most my contacts generate referrals that won’t pay premium rates?

My initial thought:

Wow, this is really a great question and a difficult one for me to answer. To be honest there is no really good answer I can give. I think it is the big firm young lawyer’s dilemma.

I purposely started my career in a smaller firm because I wanted to build my own client base rather than simply work for clients someone else had brought to the firm. Obviously it is easier to bring in clients as a young lawyer if you are in a smaller firm that is less rate sensitive.


I was never concerned about my age or experience. My first client contacts were all my father’s age. How did I get in the door?

There were two ways. First, I was friends with the next generation of those clients. But, I discovered that wasn’t enough. My friends weren’t selecting lawyers.

More importantly, I became an expert on what the clients needed at that time. I was insatiable researching the issues my potential clients were facing now and the issues they would face in the future.

A few years ago I ran into a second year associate IP lawyer. He loved music and was insatiable in his research of IP issues in the music industry. He wrote a blog post on a timely music IP issue and the blog post went viral. He reaped the benefits from his hard work shortly thereafter.