Teach your lawyers to fish

Teach your lawyers to fish

There seems to be some debate at the moment as to the best model for business development in a corporate law firm. The two different models can be neatly summed up by the ancient quote from the philosopher Maimonides: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In those law firms which feed their lawyers fish, the business development (BD) team (usually made up of non-lawyers) acts as a sales function, ringing up targets and trying to set up meetings for their lawyers. If successful, the BD staff will often attend these meetings to facilitate the dialogue between their lawyers and the prospective client’s decision-makers. Although not terribly common in the legal sector, this model (or variants of it) does exist in a few firms and has usually been implemented by someone who has moved across from a Big 4 accountancy or consulting firm where they have operated or seen this model in action.

But just because something has worked in another professional services sector, there is no guarantee that it is right for the legal sector and, personally, I have grave reservations about this model. All the

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About the author:

Kevin Wheeler has been advising professional services firms on all aspects of marketing and business development for nearly 30 years. As a consultant he helps firms to manage and grow their key clients as well as to win new ones. As a certified coach with WABC he works with partners and those approaching partnership to improve their BD skills.