Today, knowing the law and becoming a great attorney aren’t the only things beginners need to do. It takes lots of time, money and resources to turn young associates from being revenue drains to becoming income earners as well. But for this transformation to happen, some input will be required on the rookie’s part. If you’re just beginning to practice law, you need to create a robust business development plan to ensure a long, fruitful career.
Hit the Ground Running
In most firms, there are many valuable resources one could use to grow their skills and knowledge. So take some initiative; become familiar with your firm’s intranet and website. Here, you will find crucial information about the firm’s practice areas, senior management structure, and offices. Pay attention to upcoming legal developments, and the news in general.
If there’s an in-house marketing team, introduce yourself to the key players. Knowing who to call (and when to do it) will not only help you in routine tasks but also provides a good opportunity to make an impression. So schedule regular meetings with these individuals, and find creative ways to actively participate in your firm’s seminars and presentations.
Grow Your Platform
Getting comfortable with how you present your brand to people will be very important as your career grows. And your pitch can take many forms; creating different versions for a variety of audiences is the way to go. Start by crafting a simple elevator speech — you should be able to describe yourself, your practice, where you operate from, and what drives you professionally, in less than 30 seconds. This will be one of the best tools to have with you throughout your career.
Biographies are some of the most-read sections of a law firm’s website. So always update yours regularly; prospective clients won’t know what you’ve already achieved in your career unless you inform them. Always ensure your bio includes recent articles you’ve authored, presentations you have written, and a section related to your role in the local community as well.
Your social media profiles can also project your professional image. But success on these platforms entirely hinges on the right approach. Go through your accounts carefully, and remove all items that would negatively affect your professional image. Privacy settings can also help you control what can be seen, and by whom as well.
Build Personal Relationships
While modern technology will allow you stay in touch with a large a number of contacts, the good, old personal touch is still important. With one-on-one meetings, you’ll establish a personal touch you couldn’t otherwise create through the internet. Scheduling meetings, even in informal settings, will not only deepen your professional relationships but also make them more meaningful. Some good ways to catch up with clients and other lawyers include having lunch with them, inviting them to your office and taking part in local events. The latter will also help you stay in touch with members of community organizations you may be involved with.
Don’t Hide Behind Your Desk
Although billable hours will take up most of your schedule, getting out of the office to grow your professional network is still important. Perhaps the easiest way to foster new relationships is to interact with attendees of seminars you present. Since they’re already interested in what you have to offer, following up with them will help you grow the contacts in your network in future.
Other effective ways to network include: joining a local nonprofit organization and becoming part of your bar association’s committee. Whatever you do, don’t forget to stay in touch with people in your network from time to time. After all, you’ll still need clients to bill in future.
Set Yourself Apart
Because modern clients are free to choose from a large pool of lawyers, business development from an attorney’s perspective has become rather difficult. As such, you’ll need to ensure you always present the best version of your brand if you’re going to enhance your visibility to your target market. Start with a good plan, and find effective ways to become an invaluable resource to those prospects. Your brand message should always be up-to-date; always remember to add new areas of expertise, and interesting cases you’ve recently worked on as well.