Monday, July 12, 2010

Young Lawyer Has A Business Development Plan -- Now What?

I completing a consulting project with an attorney, but worry she will not take any action after our time together concludes.

She is an associate in a mid-sided law firm who sought me out because she wants to increase her visibility in the community, begin developing her own business, and cultivate a positive brand inside and outside her firm.

We have had several great conversations and developed a customized business development plan. She identified several areas of strengths and weaknesses in regards to her attitudes about networking, marketing and sales. She is excited to make an impact. But in the end, I wonder if she will really do the things necessary to create results.

I have seen it before in many people (including myself). The enthusiasm of a new plan gets the juices flowing, but the monotony of execution brings all motion to a halt.

There is not a sales culture inside her law firm. The partners are older and are content with their lifestyles. They have enough work to keep themselves busy, and do not show much interest in making new partners for several years. Her goals were to raise her visibility and grow a book of business so that she would be an attractive lateral hire for another firm. But her day to day work load will soon take priority and I assume she will tire of the after-hour efforts when there is no reward for her at the office.

We have one more official "coaching" session. What advice do you suggest I share with her?

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Malcolm Sleath said...

You (and perhaps she) seem to be focused on the extrinsic rewards which would be missing from her immediate working environment - but the issue is about her marketability.

Perhaps you could focus on her need for autonomy: She has indicated that she does not want to be dependent on her current firm for her future.

Achieving mastery in networking might be worth doing for its own sake: "I wonder how far I could take this?"

Finally, perhaps she needs to revisit her purpose in hiring you in the first place - back to autonomy again.

Of course, networking is a good way to build a business, but it can also be a satisfying activity in itself. I would be tempted to ask her about the enhanced sense of personal identity she might get from activities outside the firm. The 'lateral hire' might then just be a validating side effect. By that time she might have taken over the firm!