Since each individual is different, lawyers think and approach business development differently. Over the years, I have seen law firms attempt to impose legal marketing activities upon their attorneys. It doesn’t work.
Some like to speak, others write. Many are uncomfortable networking, and abhor attending an event where the firm is a sponsor and has purchased a table for 10. Although I always tried to encourage the attorneys to bring clients to such an event, many times key clients are sponsors also, so it falls to the firm (read marketing department) to fill the table from within. It is almost comical, if it weren’t so sad, the number of times the firm’s table would end up only half full (think about the message that sends about how serious the firm really is in supporting a particular organization).
In the end, since lawyers are pretty much an independent bunch, they are not going to be forced to do what they don’t want to do. Better to uncover the things they ARE willing to do in terms of developing business and encourage that behavior on an individual basis.
Of course, in the alternative, law firms need to recognize that some attorneys are never going to be rainmakers. Accordingly, it may be better to accept their playing a different role. Which brings me to John Remsen’s “Marketing Tip of the Month” which discusses the “finder/minder/grinder” model used to describe the various roles lawyers can play within law firms. Take a look.