Just Pick Up the Phone

There are many paths to building your own practice. Some lawyers like public speaking or professional writing. Some like to get involved in bar association activities or become active in trade associations. Others enjoy leisure activities that put them in frequent contact with potential clients and referral sources (e.g. golf, spectator sports, wine tasting, etc.)

But when you get right down to it, these activities mainly fall into the category of marketing. And marketing alone is unlikely to generate legal work (at least in the short run.) I was reminded of this by an article I read yesterday about cold calling.

As an individual who does a lot of marketing, I am taking this to heart as we enter the New Year. Maybe a lot of lawyers realize that I am in the search business because of all the writing I do. Maybe a lot of potential candidates have seen my blog, read my column in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly or received one of my broadcast e-mail messages. These activities have helped to build my visibility and presumably, my reputation. But they are no substitute for calling firms to find out who is hiring. If I rely on marketing alone to find candidates, I will not have a big enough pool of talent to serve my clients.

So who have you called lately? Do you check in with your clients to find out how they are doing? Do you call old law school classmates to learn what they are up to? Do you schedule breakfasts and lunches with your referral sources?

Cold calling is probably an ineffective strategy for most lawyers (though as law firm marketing becomes more sophisticated, I imagine that a greater number of firms will employ business development specialists to generate leads.) But nurturing new and existing relationships is absolutely a good strategy and one that anyone should be able to follow.

Now if I could only stop procrastinating and get on the phone! Maybe 2008 will be the best year ever!

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