News & Publications
December 01, 2009
"No one man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one."
Business development is all about connecting, maintaining, and nurturing authentic relationships. A key theme throughout the 2009 Attorney Marketing Training Program (AMTP) was being authentic in relationships and watching out for the "uneasiness" that can surface when trying to market legal services.
Thirty mid-level associates gathered at the Delafield Hotel to learn about business development, marketing, and relationships. Rick Bliss, Managing Partner, kicked off the program by setting expectations for a lawyer's role in business development and marketing over their career at the firm. The focus is on developing legal skills and practice expertise early on. Later, however, the goal is to build a sustainable practice while meeting the firm's needs and exceeding clients' expectations. According to Bliss, it's not an either/or proposition. An attorney who does not consistently deliver quality in the practice of law has nothing to sell. One who cannot develop and nurture authentic client relationships has no one to sell to.
One panel discussion covered the foundations of an effective law practice and gave suggestions for external marketing, including tips on community involvement and networking. For those seeking to become more involved in the community, Rochelle Klaskin, Managing Partner in the Madison office, recommended finding an interesting cause. Klaskin suggested starting small and rising through the ranks of the organization over time. In networking situations or when meeting new people, James Friedman, Practice Group Leader for the Litigation Services team, recommended starting a conversation by asking the other person what they do so the discussion can relate to something relevant. The conversation will naturally flow if a connection with the other person is found.
The panelists also talked about the importance of "messaging." Identifying and communicating an effective "who am I" message is key to being authentic in internal and external marketing communications. Susan Costley, Director of Marketing, recommended being able to describe your work in terms, "your mother could understand."
Another panel discussion focused on nurturing new and existing client relationships, and the authenticity theme continued. It often takes years before the relationship blossoms into work for the firm. Remember the proverb: "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Panelists recalled their first experiences with clients and described how the relationships evolved over time. Ellen Drought, a Shareholder on the Securities Team, recommended meeting the client face-to-face early in the engagement. Visit their offices; become one of them. Drought also recommended showing support for the client by attending their networking events as well.
A Marketing Plan template was distributed and explained during the final segment of the program, and participants gathered into small groups to discuss challenges to effective business development and marketing. Each table discussion was facilitated by a senior attorney, who was able to describe best practices, answer questions, and share personal experiences.
The Attorney Marketing Training Program is just one of the professional development opportunities offered to attorneys at Godfrey & Kahn. Many senior level associates and junior shareholders build on this program and refine their skills with the Akina Sales Training program later in their careers.