January 22, 2014
A few years ago, I was speaking with a partner from an AmLaw 200 firm. He told me he goes to lunch daily with contacts who may never send him business. His rationale was the all-too-common refrain in law firm business development: “You never know where your next case will come from.”
My response: You are wasting your time, and you can figure out where your next case will come from.
The amount of data and availability of quality competitive intelligence tools make it fairly easy to identify high-quality prospects. There is no excuse for targeting a prospect before knowing whether he or she even has the type of work that is worth pursuing.
I suggested to the partner that he spend a few of those lunch hours researching his firm’s best clients, identifying the key traits that make a good client and finding similar prospects to target.
It seems so simple, but so few lawyers take the time to figure out who can actually send them business and instead drift from one worthless business lunch to the next.
And yes, there are the very rare occasions when a lawyer has lunch with a contact who happens to have a friend whose brother’s cousin needs a lawyer. However, chasing those opportunities will only lead to a tremendous amount of wasted time and money. Work smarter – not harder.