Challenges of Business Development in the Legal Landscape

Most law firms know that business development is necessary for a strong bottom line. However, many lack the tools or plan to set it in motion. Many in-house legal marketers have to balance a fine line of stressing the importance of business development while not infringing on the amount of billable hours attorneys must account for. Due to a increasingly competitive market, law firms are placing a growing emphasis on business development. However, the accountability placed on attorneys to engage in these activities is conservatively low.

Most business development challenges revolve around attorneys’ unwillingness or inability to bring in new business as opposed to lack of opportunities or competing firms. This internal struggle is often due to a lack of consistent follow-up and follow-through. Consistency is key in business development. It’s not the first or second follow-up with the prospect; it’s the 10th, 15th, or even 20th contact that changes the tide. Prospective clients need to see your face, they need to hear your name.

A lack of structured plan or strategy often inhibits effective business development. Far too often leads are being taken into the firm only to end up in an abyss of spreadsheets with no accountability from anyone on next steps. An adequately structured business development plan is vital to the success of a firm. Whether it means having a practice group manager who implements the plan or an outside marketing firm that offers support, every firm should have a set of business goals with objectives that follow.

Lastly, many lawyers don’t see the monetary value of business development. This frequently plagues associate-level attorneys. Young attorneys are often not encouraged to bring in business and when they do, they fail to see any financial gain. It is vital that attorneys understand and see actual benefits that make business development efforts worth their time. This entices them to attend more networking events, mention their practice groups, and essentially build their book of business.

As one grows professionally, he or she will meet people along the way that will help further their business goals. Developing a business is not a sporadic endeavor. It requires a plan of action, motivated team members and, most importantly, accountability for all involved.

Are You of the Same Opinion as Managing Partners on the Permanency of Important Trends?

The 3 Geeks and a Law Blog article, “Managing Partners on Change: Clients Don’t Ask, Partners Resist,” shared data from the 2016 Altman Weil MP Survey.  Managing Partners provided their opinions on the permanency of important market trends; more price competition, technology replacing human resources, more non-hourly billing, erosion of demand for law firms, decreased realization rates…and more!

Prior surveys have addressed many of these questions. The article shows how MPs have responded over the past 8 years on whether they think certain trends are permanent.

5 Reasons to Say No and 4 Strategies to Help You Learn How

What one word with only two letters and one syllable is probably the most difficult word to say?  Give up?  It’s “NO.”  As Robin Bull points out in her article on learning how to say no, “Practical Strategies to Help You Say No,” even those of us with the strongest resolve to decline can break down.  And as busy professionals, even if it’s not just that we don’t want to do something, we often just don’t have the time to do what’s being requested of us.

Bottom line: it’s not easy to learn how to say no!  But that’s not to say you shouldn’t say no.  Why?  Because saying no:

  • Is about valuing your time
  • Creates boundaries
  • Can make you more successful
  • Is good for your health

And when we say “yes,” it encourages people to continue to ask us for favors.

Five Essential Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Online Profiles

If you’ve ever Googled your firm, you’ve probably seen it listed on a number of directories and review websites like Yelp, Super Lawyers, AVVO and others. Perhaps some of your information is incomplete or incorrect. Or, maybe you expected to see your name, only to discover that your firm wasn’t listed at all. These issues aren’t something to be ignored; online profiles on directory websites make up a huge part of your web presence. Most of all, they can be the first introduction to your firm for many potential clients.

According to Above the Law, online profiles are like business cards. You would never hand out a card that didn’t include your email address or phone number, so why would you allow potential clients to view online profiles that include inaccurate or missing information? It’s critical that you control those profiles and use them as a tool to share the information that you choose. Your firm is going to show up online no matter what, so make sure that you claim your online profiles and get the most out of them with these five tips.

1. Check results on different search engines

Online profiles make it easier to be found, but not every client will use the same keywords or search engine. Check where your profiles rank on the results page of every search engine, and play around with keywords to see which profiles pop up for different search terms.

2. Use consistent language and photos

Don’t pass up the opportunity to brand your firm. Include your tagline or the “about us” language that your firm typically uses, and, if you have the option, edit your profile to include design elements and photos that represent your firm (not just the stock photos provided!).

3. Check that all information is up to date

After going through the trouble of claiming your online profiles, it would be a shame to go back to square one by letting them go out of date. Check your profiles periodically to make sure that contact information and URLs are correct and to refresh any language or photos if needed. This could be a quarterly reminder, or every six months.

4. Take advantage of space for a description

Sure, you can just update your contact information on every profile and call it a day. But if the space is available to you, why not expand more on your firm? It could be the very first impression of you that some clients get, so make it count.

5. Ask clients to complete reviews

Once you have all of your online profiles set up, reviews from satisfied clients are the icing on the cake. Positive reviews boost your credibility and make your profiles look more complete, and, most importantly, they can be the deciding factor when new clients are determining which law firm to call.

Pokémon Go and the Gamification of Real Life

Now that the furor surrounding the popular augmented-reality game Pokémon Go has somewhat died down since its July release, we have a chance to step back and examine exactly why the app got so popular so fast. It’s true that nostalgia plays a part; the game caters to the many millennials who have fond childhood memories of playing Pokémon Red on Game Boys. However, I believe that a far bigger aspect of it’s appeal has to do with its gamification of everyday activities.

Pokémon Go’s interface consists of a highly detailed location-specific map based on each user’s real-life surroundings. “Pokéstops” and “gyms” are located at specific buildings, street art, statues, and other landmarks. Players collect items and experience by going to these locations, and encounter Pokémon by exploring the areas around them; for every 5 or 10 kilometers walked, they can hatch Pokémon eggs and use the newly-introduced “Buddy” feature to power up their Pokémon. Fundamentally, Pokémon Go doesn’t allow users to disengage from reality the way many other mobile games do; instead, it enhances it, incentivizing users to get out of their houses and wander.

This kind of gamification is appealing on an instinctual level. After all, who wouldn’t like to be rewarded just for doing things we were going to do anyway? Take walking to Starbucks. With Pokémon Go, you could catch a few Pokémon on the way there, collect several items while in line, and hatch an egg on the way home. Your short trip could turn into something more than just a coffee run. Pokémon Go can make routine tasks and commutes feel more like a game; a mindset that we should be applying when thinking about how we market ourselves and our products. Some companies are already jumping in on the trend. For example, users with the Domino’s Pizza ordering app can shake their phone if they don’t know what they want, and the app will randomly select the toppings.

It’s easy to brush off Pokémon Go as a nerdy flash in the pan. But given its massive worldwide popularity, it’s likely that many more augmented-reality apps will come. Introducing gamification into your marketing can make it more compelling and engaging—not to mention fun.

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