In my new role as a legal recruiter, the first question law firms ask when considering partner candidates is:
Does he/she have clients? (Code for what is the amount of his/her portable business?)
In my role as a recruiter, more often than not I am not placing the lawyers who have $1 million or more in portable business. More often I am placing lawyers who have the potential to have $1 million in business.
So this post is aimed at those lawyers and at the firms that might consider them.
Once you’ve earned someone’s custom, trust or attention, it’s just the beginning. If you want to retain their custom, trust and attention, you then need to keep on re-earning it. The moment you begin to think otherwise, you risk becoming complacent.
To put it in lawyer-client terms, Connelly is suggesting that you not focus on obtaining the client, but instead focus on developing the relationship.
I suspect that a natural question may be how do you develop relationships with potential clients and referral sources.
I have always suggested that it was about building trust and rapport. I believe that building trust means demonstrating you are the right lawyer for the legal matter. I believe building rapport means you demonstrate you genuinely care about the person and become interested in him or her beyond the work.
With my own ideas in mind, I went searching for a how-to article/blog post. I found a 2017 Forbes article titled: How To Build Strong Business Relationships. The first thing that struck me was the results of a study:
An essential part of business success is having a strong network. In fact, a Harvard study found that 85% of professional success comes from people skills.
I’m just curious:
- What is your firm doing to improve the people skills of your lawyers?
- If your firm is doing nothing, what are you doing?