Targeted Networking, Immediate Follow-up with New contacts and Patience are Keys to Building Business
Washington, DC-June 7, 2007- LAWFUEL – The Legal Business Newswire –Traditionally law firms have built business by word of mouth or referral. But competition and the realities of strong marketing across the industry have caused firms to re-think their business development strategies. The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia along with its Tax and Business
Forum and the Solo and Small Firms Forum presented a panel discussion Client Development for Women Lawyers: How to Get the Clients You Want and Build Your Book of Business on May 24. The event was hosted by Pepper Hamilton LLP. Attorney Kerri Castellini, an attorney with Feeney & Kuwamura, P.A., moderated the panel, which also included Jessica Adler, a sole practitioner, Annette Ahlers, a Tax Partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, Eldora Ellison, Ph.D., an attorney with Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein, Fox, PLLC, and Homeira Ghorbani, Director of Business Development at Pepper Hamilton LLP. Panelists presented the strategies they use to develop clients.
Jessica Adler, who practices Family Law, spoke about networking with other attorneys to encourage referrals and maintaining a professional demeanor at all times. She advised public speaking, getting published, on line listings and “lots of interactions with existing contacts”.
“The genders seem to be doing business development in similar ways now, and women are good at it, because we are relationship focused, “said Annette Ahlers, of Pepper Hamilton. She suggested going to clients offices and taking client counterparts to lunch. “Be patient, I had a lunch with someone four years before he became a client,” she advised. “Be able to communicate in a short “elevator speech” what you do. And when you meet with the client, be able to say, with conviction, what you can do in the context of what the client needs and why you would like to work with them—in three sentences. Always offer to be secondary counsel if they say they are already represented.”
“Don’t engage in random acts of marketing,” said Eldora Ellison, Ph.D., an IP lawyer, “and don’t look for immediate return on the investment of your time and money,” she added. “Join a few key organizations which you think will help you build relationships. Offer to work or join a committee to build benefits for yourself and the group. Write papers or do presentations with firm colleagues or with clients. When you present, do something memorable, don’t just lecture.” “Do good work for your current clients, she added, “while clients may not always know good law, they will know good service. Do you return calls, do what you promised to do and are you available to them?”
Homeira Ghorbani, a business development expert at Pepper Hamilton, keeps in touch. She expands new relationships with an e-mail, call or a handwritten note and adds new contacts to the Pepper Tax newsletter. Ms. Ghorbani attends many business functions. She encourages sponsoring and hosting events, helping to get clients and attorneys speaking opportunities and researching companies with the Firm librarian. She suggests actively listening to (potential) clients and being patient. “Send clients and potential clients information which can help them in their business, such as new regulations and other helpful news.”
A lively Question and Answer period brought about other suggestions for business development. Some of those were:
· Spend 20% of your time doing business development.
· Track and measure the things that work best for you.
· Try multiple methods—they may all work!
· Do internal marketing in your Firm and cross sell with Firm colleagues.
Jessica Adler, of the Law Office of Jessica Adler said, “Love what you do — let it show!
About the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia
The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia was founded in 1917 to maintain the honor and integrity of the profession; to promote the administration of justice; to advance and protect the interests of women lawyers; to promote their mutual improvement; and to encourage a spirit of friendship among its members.