Friday, October 17, 2008

Good Work is Not Enough to be a Law Firm Rainmaker

I read an article today titled, Do Good Work, and Business Will Bring Itself In, Rainmaker Says. ABA legal affairs writer, Martha Neil, shared Larry Bodine’s sentiment that “if your work is good enough, it will speak for itself.” Larry Bodine is the editor of Originate!, the business development newsletter located at

The original article, A Portrait of a Rainmaker Peter Klee, is chock full of useful information about how Klee does his own law firm marketing and PR which sets him apart from the competition.

--Showing clients that he likes them. … This approach has a way of cementing the relationship with the company that turns into new business," he said.

--Not charging for travel time.

--Devoting 500 hours a year to business development. "I take trips to visit clients for nonbusiness purposes, to maintain the relationship. …I also speak at seminars, which is an effective way to have nonclients learn about who you are and what you do. I do meet existing and potential clients for lunch and dinner from time to time," he said.

--Not charging for giving quick advice. Sure, it takes up time, but it's a form of marketing. It goes a long way to establishing a relationship, and I don't just limit it to the person I work with.

--Treating every minute with a client as a marketing opportunity.

--Joining key organizations of referral sources. Klee is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. … They're a very good source of business."

--Being an expert in his field. "The truly big business generators are known for being an expert in their field.

--Turning down business when it would degrade the quality of his work.

However, law practice managers and legal marketing directors should never tell their attorneys that all they need is to do “good” work. Klee doesn’t only do good work – he’s out there meeting with clients and prospects, developing relationships with referral sources, presenting seminars, and more.

There are tons of lawyers who do good work but have no idea how to network, market themselves, promote themselves or capitalize on their "good work." Good work is no where near enough in today's competitive environment to be a rainmaker. First - you need to do GREAT work and then you need to capitalize on that great work by letting your clients, prospects and referral sources know about it. Good work might have been enough when all we had were front doors and shingles - now, the competition has multiplied exponentially and the front doors are many. Strategic planning, legal marketing and public relations (PR) are essential.

We do not live in a world where "if you build it, they will come." They have to know about it first and then they need to be invited to come to the best party in town.

1 comment:

Primary Wave Media said...

I think one of the hardest things for people to do is market and promote themselves. Maybe it falls under the puritanical holdover from the sins of vanity or something? I know it sure doesa make a heck of a lot of folks feel very uncomfortable.
Advertising and marketing for personal injury law firms, however, needs to have that balance between one's personal self promotional comfort zone and then, how it effects your bottom line.
Build it, advertise it, say it again and make it easy to remember!