One involves a short story: when I was an in-house marketer, one of the top lawyers in the litigation department – other lawyers would agree he is a trial lawyer’s trial lawyer. He loved to try cases, and didn’t use scorch earth tactics. Just a really nice guy who was good at what he did. He came to me in January one year and said two of the cases he had set for trial that month were settled at the insistence of the client. He then asked me what he should do. I said to him “you know what you have to do…” and he finished the sentence “… make a trip to California, I know.” He represented a number of Japanese companies handling products liability cases. So, out he went for a few days of schmoozing a number of clients, and returned with four new cases. Lesson learned: visit your clients off the clock and, more often than not, you will gain immediate new work.
Okay, okay, I know that all litigators do not have the luxury of clients confronted with a steady stream of lawsuits, and may only handle one case for a client. But there is still value in visiting that client to see how things are going, and with “staying top of mind” a worthwhile goal. The client, because of their own lawsuit, may be particular attuned to hearing about others they could refer.
Other business development actions that can help include:
- Being active in organizations where your types of clients hang out. This would include speaking, writing and networking opportunities of course; but may also, by being really active as a volunteer or holding a position of influence within the organization, offer opportunities for a greater profile than your competitors; and
- Being an available legal source for reporters on the local and national stage. Take a reporter to lunch is a good way to start a relationship that can produce results in time.