The need:

Two international law firms have called on The BD Consultancy to provide one-on-one business development coaching for partners and senior associates in offices based all across Europe, including the United Kingdom. Both firms had identified the need to provide focused, personalised support for specific lawyers. These were usually junior partners needing to build up a book of business and sometimes dealing with succession issues, or senior associates on partnership track needing help developing their business development skills.

What we did:

Working one-on-one, The BD Consultancy works with each lawyer to develop a concrete, personalised business development action plan, with specific objectives and actions to achieve each objective within an agreed timeframe. The topics covered vary with the needs of each lawyer, but generally include matters such as: key clients and contacts to pursue and develop; legal interest areas or “hot topics” that can be used for profile-raising; networks, both external such as associations and alumni, and internal; external profile-raising opportunities, including publications, articles, press/media, conferences, seminars, LinkedIn and other social media; and, where relevant, discussion around developing profile in specific industry sectors and/or regions.

Once the lawyer’s plan is drafted, The BD Consultancy works with the lawyer to obtain input and guidance from relevant firm management and then to implement the actions set out in their plan. This typically involves meeting or speaking with the lawyer at least once a month, and sometimes more regularly. The objective of each catch-up is to review progress to date and think of further actions, and talk through blockages and other issues. The BD Consultancy regularly updates each action plan to reflect current status, and reports back to firm management on overall progress on an agreed basis. They are also able to provide concrete support to lawyers in areas such as sector and client research, conference opportunities coming up and pitch publishers for articles, where this support is not able to be provided by the firm’s in-house BD and marketing team.

The outcome:

Lawyers involved in the coaching have said that they feel more confident about their business development skills, and appreciate having a clear fixed plan to follow. Probably most importantly, they say it is helpful having someone neutral who understands their business following-up regularly to ensure progress, and giving them undivided time to talk through opportunities and issues. The number of lawyers involved has grown steadily since we began in Sept 2013, from 10 to now around 25 lawyers in total receiving coaching. At least five senior associates involved in the coaching have now become partners at their firms, a sign of success!

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