Lawyers: Why You Should be “Opportunistic” Business Developers

Lawyers seeking to maximize return on their business development efforts should include “opportunistic” business development as a component of their collected efforts.

Opportunistic business development opportunities can be found in what Kevin Wheeler, writing in LexisNexis, describes as: “[Opportunistic] triggers [which include] – a change of decision-maker, a change in client ownership, an acquisition or merger, a company crisis like a product recall, etc. – all represent[ing] opportunities to approach the potential client with a view to displacing the incumbent lawyers to advise on that issue.”

The value of opportunistic business development:

  1. You distinguish yourself from your competitor firms, who will be relying primarily on competitive tenders and referrals to build their practice. Here, you leave a crowded, competitive market behind, and seek to engage the general counsel one-on-one far away from your competitor firms.
  2. You are meeting clients where they wish to be met.  Law firm general counsel and other consumers of legal work have repeatedly explained how they want the private practice lawyers they retain to understand their business and provide unique insight about the business which is of value to them – to secure their interest in a discussion.

How to adopt opportunistic business development:

  1. You must begin to be a regular observer of the commercial and regulatory market(s) your clients are operating in – and actively identify commercial or other opportunities (or dangers) they may face – appraising them of how you might help – securing a conversation should they deem it something they’ll like to hear more about.
  2. This discipline can be conducted by lawyers themselves, or by legal marketing and business development professionals (internal or external to the firm)
  3. This discipline must be conducted consistently – as commercial and other realities impacting businesses can change rapidly.

I’ve conducted thousands of business development initiatives on behalf of law firms utilizing opportunistic business development.  If you would like to learn more about how I can help you establish a discipline like this, or improve the one you are already conducting, please complete the form below for a discussion.

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