Everyday, lawyers prioritize their time to effectively balance busy schedules and provide excellent client service. Amongst the many decisions lawyers make on a daily basis, business development activities can easily fall to the side—it can be difficult to find the time to build a profitable law practice that attracts desirable a clients.
So, what business development actions can a lawyer focus on to maximize their time? Lawyers can take charge of their practice by assessing their practice development strengths and weaknesses and completing an accurate assessment of where they are today.
Know where your practice currently stands
Read the following questions and record your responses:
- Purpose/Vision: Have you internalized “what” you want your practice to be and “why” this is important to you?
- Competence: Do you schedule time for attending conferences, workshops and advanced education?
- Best Clients: Do you know who your target client is and how to attract them to your practice?
- Core Message: Is your message distinctive? Does it differentiate you? Is it relevant to your target client?
- Consistent Brand: Does your brand communicate what you do, who you serve and the value you provide clients. Is it memorable?
- Client Communication: Do your clients feel heard after they meet with you? Do you provide accessible and relevant education resources for your clients? How promptly do you return calls?
- On-line visibility: Does your website clearly communicate what you do and who you do it for? Does it reinforce your brand with high value educational resources and an informative blog? Do you have an updated bio on your web site and other social media sites including LinkedIn, twitter and Facebook?
- Building a referral network: Have you educated your referral sources on what distinguishes you and who your best clients are? Do you know the same information about your referral sources? How are you bringing value to your top referral sources?
- Exceptional Client Experience: Do you send out client evaluations and debrief with colleagues about improving your client’s experience?
- Measure your results: Do you consistently evaluate how you get cases and assess your targeted goals with actual goals on a monthly basis?
Create a Business Development Checklist
Review your answers and make a note of the areas you think you can improve. Once you have narrowed down the areas you need to improve on most, list your top three priority actions for the next 90 days. With a clear direction for your business development, create a checklist which reflects your strengths and weaknesses. Below is a sample checklist which will help focus and maximize the time you dedicate to business development.
With a realistic awareness of where you are today and a clear direction for where you want to go, you can create a profitable practice by focusing your time on what you need to do to achieve your goals.