As appeared on LinkedIn, August 15
Once a law firm names you a partner, a difficult question is bound to arise: How do I move into the new role and grow a practice?
While each lawyer is different in the skill sets they possess, their practice area, and the firm in which they practice, there are a few basics that apply to most. Here is a mini-coaching lesson.
Focus on your existing clients.
The reason for this is two-fold.
First, if a client already uses and likes your firm, that client has an incentive to continue to work with the organization, particularly if the service or attention your client has been receiving has been meeting or exceeding its expectations.
The client has already concluded that this is a firm that is able to fulfill a legal need. Therefore, there is an implied opportunity (a foot in the door!) to further solidify and grow the relationship between partner and client. This may provide an opportunity for you to explore other practice areas in which your firm might be able to help the client, or it could mean finding new ways for process improvement to use new technologies to help streamline workflow.
The second reason to concentrate on existing clients is the potential for obtain- ing referral business.
Like Cinderella at the ball, this can only occur when there is a genuine transformation. Turning a happy client into a delighted client is the only way to grow an apostle for the firm—someone who is extraordinarily pleased and proud of the relationship with the firm and who is likely to share that expe- rience with business colleagues.
Delight your clients.
Producing great work and providing good service are the baseline of any good legal relationship, and without them, nothing will grow the business; but in trying to create an apostle relationship, it is necessary to dig in deep and get to know your clients, their concerns, and their industry.
There are lots of other steps to take to develop your practice, including becoming an expert in a marketable area, and establishing and promoting your brand, but focusing on those clients that are currently in your sphere, is the best place to start.
If you would like a copy of an older piece that I wrote for Practising Law Institute (PLI), How to Grow a Partner, upon which this post is based, contact me through my website and I will gladly send you a PDF.