I just spent the day at John Remsen's Managing Partner Forum with a room full of law firm Managing Partners discussing business issues and challenges, and one of the recurring topics was business development. From the level of frustration during the discussion, it appeared that, when it comes to business development, many firms seem to be fighting a losing battle.
In a law firm, getting attorneys to take any kind of marching orders is never easy - especially when it involves non-billable time. This is compounded when it comes to business development because even the thought of having to 'sell' makes quite a few attorneys rebellious. Hence the frustration among the managing partners. It's bad enough to be at war with your competitors, but it's even more challenging when you are also having dissension among your troops.
There are many additional reasons why business development has been challenging for some firms including: a failure to make business development a priority, inability of current compensation systems to adequately reward and encourage business development efforts and alack of attorney business development training and coaching. The discussion also surfaced some fundamental misconceptions about business development.
So for the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing some of the fundamental concepts – and weapons – for winning the war on business development…