Too many lawyers spend too little. But, if you think this post is about loading up your non-billable hours with marketing, you’d be wrong. Time is a lawyer’s most valuable asset, and although we know, unfortunately, that there is too much of a focus on the billable hour (Hell, it’s the basis of compensation in almost all law firms), there are family and other commitments to fit in as well. 

So, what’s the point? Let’s be realistic, the hourly rate is not going away very soon (although all indications are that it is dying a slow death). But the point is that one does not have to spend every waking hour (not spent on billing) developing business. Okay, but how much should I spend, you ask? Well, as little as one to two hours per week, if you have SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) goals and your activities are focused on existing clients (which of course are the best sources of new business).

That’s what we learn from my colleague Jim Hassett at LegalBizDev. In his excellent book Legal Business Development: A Step by Step Guide he also suggests as a minimum as little as:

  • 1 hour per week – “build(ing) stronger relationships with (your) best clients and referral sources.”
  • 3 hours per week – working on trying to land new clients, and
  • 1 hour per week – increasing your visibility with prospects and new referral sources.

We both would suggest you spend more, as much as you can afford in fact; but it doesn’t have to be overly burdensome. Nor do you have to do all of the above, but rather pick what is “smart” for you and commit to it.

It won’t be long before you will start seeing improvement in your business development.