Sign up for our free newsletter.
Recently, one of my clients attended a public utilities association meeting. It’s an industry in which he has both a client and an interest. When I asked how things went, he marveled that there were no other lawyers in attendance (although there was a law firm sponsor that had no representatives at the meeting — a topic for a future post).
Everyone emphasizes the need for lawyers to get out of the office and meet people, often through outside activities. Unfortunately, many lawyers expend their time and energy in associations that offer little business development potential. Don’t get me wrong; if your goal is to make a contribution to a cause in which you are interested, more power to you. But if you are getting active with an eye toward business development or marketing, the thought process is different.
How can you use your time outside the firm most effectively for business development? Here are some thoughts.
First, if you are planning to invest time in an organization, you want to be sure it is comprised of the right people and offers you good opportunities. You should consider these things:
If you are unfamiliar with the organizations in your area of interest, ask a client for recommendations and perhaps even a chance to tag along to a future meeting. In addition, you may have a colleague who has experience with the group and can offer advice or an introduction. Finally, a simple Google search can reveal many possible opportunities.
Once you join a group, it is essential that you make a contribution. If you are not planning to be active, don’t bother joining. Lots of organizations offer many good opportunities for involvement, depending on your interests. Here are examples:
As you think about what your contribution might be, don’t be afraid to express your interests to the powers that be. And remember: The more active you are, the easier it will be to network and meet people.
I recall a law firm that was targeting the technology industry and had identified a local association that presented the perfect opportunity to meet the market. Yet whenever it came time for a meeting, the lawyers would draw straws to determine who would have to go spend time with “all those engineers.” When I say you need a sincere interest, I mean it. Your time is valuable, and it should be spent supporting something you enjoy.
As you explore your opportunities, a few additional dos and don’ts:
Sally J. Schmidt is President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., which offers marketing services to law firms. Sally was a founder and the first President of the Legal Marketing Association. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and was one of the first inductees into the LMA’s Hall of Fame. She is the author of “Marketing the Law Firm: Business Development Techniques” and “Business Development for Lawyers: Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients.” Sally writes Attorney at Work’s “Play to Win” column. Follow her on Twitter @SallySchmidt.
Sign up for our free newsletter.
The written word is only one way to express thought leadership. A better approach is a divisible content strategy that incorporates visual storytelling.February 13, 2019 0 0 0