Sometimes lawyers can be a bit smug about THEIR way of doing things… do you know what I mean? You know the type…

"I have been practicing law for over 30 years and the only way to get good clients is to be a damn good lawyer."

"It’s a new world today and the only way to develop new business is social media… if you are not on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or publishing a blog you will be left out in the cold."

"I have been practicing for years and the only way that I have developed business is through relationships I have with other lawyers and my classmates from college who went into business."

"I think we have gone too far in the electronic world… I think it is impossible to develop new business without a well done brochure that outlines the firms capabilities."

"I think the only way to get new business is to get involved in organizations… and focus on industries where there a fewer lawyers."

In my opinion every one of these statements are true… with the exception of the use of words like… ONLY! Because I believe that business development power lies in the weaving of OLD world and NEW world techniques. Quite frankly… it’s all about engaging people and using EVERY means possible to do that. The more options you give yourself the greater the opportunities.

1. Be a damn good lawyer. This is the heartbeat… and I would like to point out that your client service is an important component of being a damn good lawyer. Don’t underestimate the power of "word of mouth referrals" because you made a client feel that he or she was in good hands.

2. Have an internet presence. In today’s world this is a must. The thing to think about is… to what extent. Potential clients will Google you… what will they find? At the very least they must find your bio and information that enhances your credibility… on your website and on LinkedIn. At the other end of the spectrum would be lots of articles, a blog, books, quotes from the news media and so on. It’s up to you… make it easy for people to find you. For those who say "I don’t need it"… maybe not. But, you will never know what you miss because you don’t have an internet presence. Are you really willing to take that chance?

3. Build relationships. It is the human condition… we prefer doing business with people we know and trust. Relationships can begin in hundreds of places. Where do you hang out? Sporting events? Your kids’ school? Bar associations? Family functions? Business circles? Online or in person… wherever it is… get into relationships with people. Be interested and interesting.

4. Create powerful brochures. When you are making a presentation and can hand a potential client your well-executed, powerful brochure that speaks to your potential client… YOU are in control. Will they read it cover to cover? Probably not. The prospect will, at the very least glance at it, absorb a message or two and maybe pass it on. If you say "go to my website"… they may or may not take action… you have no control.  Do you want to risk it? Most often… you only get one opportunity.

5. Get involved in organizations. This is related to building relationships… in addition this can be a way to show your expertise, knowledge and commitment. Just being a member does not count. You MUST get involved. So don’t join too many organizations, if your time is limited. If it is a bar association look for referrals by getting involved with lawyers in different practice areas then your own… it will be the most fertile ground.

It is important that lawyers do ALL of these. They work in concert with one another. Remember that there is no substitute for building a good old fashioned relationship… no matter where or how it takes place.

Black Pearl: Here are a few resources to help you out… I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???: by Jason Alba; Relationships Are Everything! Growing your business one relationship at a time: by Mark M. Maraia; Raving Fans: by Ken Blanchard.