Entries by Julie Fleming

On Strategic Planning

When I begin working with a new client, someone who wants to build a book of business (or a bigger book), the first thing we do is to build a strategy. I’ve written extensively in the past on the process of developing a strategy for business development. (See, for example, Chapter 3 of The Reluctant Rainmaker […]

Don’t Surprise Your Client With Your Invoice.

Let’s talk about billing and the effect it can have on your client relationships. Billing is, of course, one of the fundamental business and ethical aspects of practicing law. But it isn’t just that: it’s also a form of relationship development, practice management, and even business development. How you manage billing shows something about your […]

“I’m too busy for business development!”

  There’s one objection I hear more than any other from lawyers who want to grow their practices but find themselves stuck: “I’m too busy for business development!” That objection is often factual (sometimes there’s more billable work to do than any reasonable human can accomplish in a day) as well as an unassailable excuse […]

How Do YOU Define Client Service?

A few years ago, I ran across an article that’s stuck with me titled, “How to Deliver Exceptional Client Service.” Written from the perspective of a web agency, the article starts with the bold-but-obvious thesis that just doing what the client hired you to do isn’t exceptional, nor will it set you apart from your […]

Three Obstacles to Business Development Success

Having spoken with thousands of lawyers in the almost 20 years I’ve been consulting, I’ve identified three universal challenges to business development success.  Do any of these sound uncomfortably familiar to you?1. “I don’t know what to do.”  There’s so much information out there about how to bring in new cases and clients and, even more importantly, how to […]

Let’s Talk Professional Development

Every lawyer—associates and partners alike—should have a professional development plan.  Professional development and business development go hand-in-hand for several reasons: Professional development includes identification of strengths (and how to maximize them) and weaknesses (and how to compensate for them). Doing this will help you to work more effectively, work with clients more effectively, and grow […]

Build Your Peer Network

Quick check: how’s the health of your professional peer network? Lawyers are accustomed to building a network within their firm as a resource for questions about how certain partners work, business development expense reimbursement, and more. And that’s important, particularly for new associates and lawyers who’ve recently made a lateral move or were part of […]

Beyond Strengths and Weaknesses

When you’re working on your BD plan, it’s important to have an objective and accurate sense of your strengths. I’ve met lawyers—my client Nate, for example— who enjoy making presentations to large groups of people (at a conference, for example) but rarely get follow-up conversations that lead to business when, in contrast, small-group or one-on-one […]