It was pure coincidence that I started my career in the legal industry. I am not a lawyer, didn’t study law and had no desire to work for a law firm. But somehow I got involved and, more importantly, became hooked.
I am obsessed with the profession but, funnily enough, have no desire to become a lawyer. Let me explain: I have worked with lawyers for nearly 10 years, and every day I get better at understanding how their minds operate, what they do and what they prefer not to work on. The latter is the subject matter of this book, and I proudly admit that I am fascinated by it. There are always exceptions to the rule, but, generally speaking, lawyers don’t prefer the commercial side of the job. The fact that they tend to neglect this important element of doing business makes complete sense to me but not to most of the partners within professional services. Their expectations are that associates have to get the business in, even though at some point they were in exactly the same position: an associate.
I have worked with a wide variety of lawyers in local and mid-sized to magic circle firms. Among them, I see big common thread: dreading business development and marketing (BD&M). Frankly, I don’t blame them. Law school didn’t teach them how to write a business plan, network or sell the business. Historically, there was no need for lawyers to possess these commercial skills. But nowadays, as clients become stingier (or as they like to say, ‘cost-conscious’!), they will go for the firm offering the best value for money. The one lawyer that can present their services in the best, most efficient and appealing way is the winner. Is that you?
The goal of this book is neither to convert lawyers into sales gurus nor to be a marketing ‘dos and don’ts’ bible. Its aim is to guide and help you to think about the things that matter from a commercial viewpoint if you want to make it to partnership. It should help you to stand out from the crowd, because that is what counts (not only to clients but also to your stakeholders).
I have worked with many just like you, from career starters to the more senior heading for partnership within a couple of years. It doesn’t matter whether partnership still seems far away or is right around the corner; you may find this book useful to understand that there are others in the same position, fighting the same battles and conquering the same struggles. I hope to help you to overcome some of these, so we will look at what can help you the most to do that.
I’m not only obsessed with the legal profession but also crazy about marketing and everything that relates to BD&M for law firms. And not just the law but any professional services firm where the same principles apply.
I hope you will enjoy reading this book, and wish you good luck on your journey. Never lose faith and remember: Even if you do just a little of what is outlined here, I promise it will make a huge difference.