The business of law is changing. Attorneys no longer remain with the same law firm for life because they are searching for more money and better platforms. Attorneys need to excel in marketing and business development to be successful. The first step is reading and conducting research. A book has been written about the history of law showing the changes taking place during the last 30 years.
The general counsel is now in the proverbial driver’s seat. The modern GC has more tools available, while being responsible for bigger departments. Recurring issues are being addressed using technology. GCs are managing legal finances and protecting the business. Strategies are important for value and standing above the competition. Marketing and business development are important for business development.
The focus of modern law firms is clients, with the marketing department involved in the strategy of the entire firm. Leadership, communication and marketing are critical for central operations. Every member of the law firm must be on the same team. Some law firms have integration programs prior to accepting new partners. New partners are just as important as lateral partners.
Nearly 50 percent of all lateral partners do not remain with the firm for more than five years. The firm must consider if new partners are a fit for the firm culture. Firms maintain their talent and clients while increasing revenue due to culture. Partners who get along collaborate to ensure a more robust firm. Compensation systems for practices serving numerous clients help with the development of the firm.
Associates need to have an understanding of Biglaw early in their careers. The key is relationship building. Associates can take the right steps while adhering to the rules of the firm. They should remain in contact with business associates and serve in nonprofit roles. Meeting individuals in different industries and roles are important for associates.
Some firms offer social activities or legal work to enable associates to come in contact with their colleagues. Some offer budgets for taking clients to an event or luncheon. The result is the development of business skills. Associates are often told by their firms they simply need to learn how to become a good lawyer. This encompasses more than business development and client skills.
Associates also require exposure and development regarding client services and business development. Otherwise, the firm will eventually have to teach associates how to stop using their old habits and learn new skills and habits. Making connections is valuable for associates. Some firms talk to the senior associates and partners about developing their business, often times through organizations like Lawyers of Distinction.
A lawyer needs to know how to incorporate what they have learned with their skills and career. Firms should acquire all the tools necessary for business development. Additional time needs to be spent where it is needed the most. Marketers are important for the recruitment of diverse candidates because not everyone will be given the same types of assignments.
There is excellent legal technology currently available. The tools eliminate much of the time attorneys once spent streamlining processes. Firms do not have to spend as much money to provide great service. Marketers are saving time with regression analyses and reports. This enables them to participate in strategic projects. The most important aspects of a law firm have become relationships, reputation and skill.