Business Development for Lawyers book review


Here’s my review of Business Development for Lawyers which was just published in the November/December 2006 issue of The Houston Lawyer.


Business Development for Lawyers:  Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients


By Sally J. Schmidt
ALM Properties, Inc., ALM Publishing, a division of ALM Media, Inc., 2006
306 pages, r
eviewed by Janet H. Moore




Although many lawyers think of marketing and business development as interchangeable, author Sally Schmidt explains how they differ but also how they can compliment each other. Her new book, Business Development for Lawyers: Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients, suggests many techniques that lawyers can use to cultivate more clients. For example, the book details how attorneys can best position themselves and their practice by showcasing their expertise and reinforcing their value.


The book also explains how to identify referral sources, make client pitches more successful, and ask clients for their business and close the sale. Even the most awkward networker will find some useful suggestions for turning social gatherings into business development opportunities.

Attorneys will appreciate her tips for building client loyalty and handling difficult clients including freeloading prospective clients who call for complimentary advice but never actually retain a lawyer. Although some of the book’s concepts parallel those presented in other rainmaking books, Ms. Schmidt’s clear explanations and bullet-point suggestions make the book a user-friendly and informative guide.

The book also reinforces many crucial points that lawyer coaches and legal marketers regularly emphasize, like the importance of communicating with clients regularly, and tailoring how legal services are rendered to individual client’s needs. Lawyers often fail to understand that, in many cases, how the service is provided is as important to the clients as the service itself, explains Schmidt. (p. 118)

In places the author references interesting studies like one Harvard Business School study about the characteristics of talented salespeopl without footnoting the source; it would have been nice to have this reference for future follow up. However, this does not seriously detract from the book and its positive, proactive business development advice.

Janet H. Moore, JD, provides executive coaching and consulting for lawyers through International Lawyer Coach, Inc. She is a member of the editorial board of The Houston Lawyer.




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