It does seem like a
herculean task for many lawyers to attract the big clients and cash the fat
cheques. Apart from the Rules of professional conduct in Nigeria, which forbids
advertisement (of course the world has moved beyond those rigid rules), many
lawyers are unwilling to “market” or perhaps have not realized that marketing
and business development are part of being successful lawyers and are essential
to operating a successful law firm. We need to realize that the competition in
the legal industry is fierce – many large firms (within and outside Nigeria)
are now developing robust and sophisticated marketing and client management

Notably also is that
competition comes from other places aside the law firms – many financial
consultants and advisors now offer services that were previously exclusive to
lawyers, thus, reducing the pie available for lawyers. The foregoing portends
the need for us to up the ante and develop new strategies to sustain the law
business without necessarily breaching the old wagon advisement rules.

The pertinent questions
are – what are the key strategies to getting the deal? How do we make the
winning pitch? How do we attract the big clients? Do we necessarily need to
think outside the box to get new clients or do we just maintain and deepen
existing relationships? Here are some of the few tips I learnt from one of my
ILFA Seminars in London –

Think about your contacts: this adopts a 4
prong approach – (x) think of new contacts you have just met
or about to meet, (y) develop contactsthat you have not worked with
extensively but if developed could bring strong revenue flows, (z) explore
 you have met a number of times but have not yet worked with –
firm clients that we could cross-sell to, (xx)protect long standing
 and revenue generating contacts;

Develop high appetite for networking:
Attendance of conferences, seminars, social/drinks party, and relationship
firms’ events is key to a productive networking. This adopts a 5 prong approach
– (x) research people attending the conference, seminar or drinks and
identifies your prospective clients (ask yourself, who is interested in my
service offerings? who do I need to talk to? (y) prepare your point of view on
discussions and share your with your prospective clients, (z) focus on helping
or connecting with the problems or engage in discussion and not selling, (xx)
ask relevant questions and listen, (yy) follow up within 24 hours and develop
the relationship;

Set up informal and formal meetings with
your contact or prospective clients: (x) organize general catch up meetings
with existing clients or new contacts, (y) set up meetings to discuss specific
issues, (z) organize meetings to establish credentials with a new contact, and
(xx) organize formal client presentation and

4. Identify and develop new service offerings
with cutting edge opportunities and sell to new and existing clients.

In sum, what brings the
work/client is not always the name of the firm butfamiliarity with
clients and relationship firms, knowledge of industry needs,understanding of
the clients’ problem and trust.

The best place to catch
fishes is their natural environment, so seek out prospective clients in
their natural environment and advance the relationship at each opportunity. It
does take time, commitment and perseverance but the rewards could be well worth

Abayomi wrote it!

Ed’s Note – This article was originally published here